On August 7, Tom Hutchinson, founder of Future Fibres, passed away after sustaining fatal injuries while kiteboarding at Compton, local media Isle of Wight County Press reports.
When he was 16, his love of the sea led him to leave school and become a deckhand on board a yacht in the Mediterranean. He then delivered several yachts across the Atlantic and became a delivery skipper at 18.
Hutchinson took an apprenticeship and moved to San Diego, California, to run a workshop servicing yachts competing in the America’s Cup. Doing so enabled him to develop international contacts that were invaluable when he established his rigging company, Future Fibres, based in London in 1997. The company was visited by Prince Charles, who was intrigued to see manufacturing within the Square Mile, under the arches at Shoreditch, the County Press reports.
The company transferred to Auckland when New Zealand won the America’s Cup, and then four years later, it moved to Valencia to continue to supply America’s Cup contestants and produce rigging for other campaigns.
His father Francis told the County Press, “Tom’s work took him all over the world, which suited his free-spirited, charismatic personality, and he made many life-long friends in the process. But the draw of the Island was always with him and he returned to his cliff-top cottage whenever he could to pursue his great love of kiteboarding in the Back of the Wight.”
Future Fibres posted their condolences and stated that: “Tom will be remembered for his energy and infectious enthusiasm, along with his extreme can-do attitude. Future Fibres was the perfect vehicle for Tom’s combined love for water sports and passion for innovation, taking the company from it’s very humble beginnings on the Isle of Wight to an internationally recognised company with a reputation for innovative products that helped our customers go faster and gain an edge on the race course, be it the field of yacht racing, motorsports, or indeed any arena in which Tom felt he could make a difference.”