Tributes to tragic yachtsman

A FAMILY today paid tribute to a yachtsman who died in the Levington Marina accident as a "quiet man, who loved sailing".Charles Pennington, 73, who was known to everyone as Max, is believed to have drowned after falling into water near his yacht Genoa at the marina on the River Orwell.

A FAMILY today paid tribute to a yachtsman who died in the Levington Marina accident as a "quiet man, who loved sailing".

Charles Pennington, 73, who was known to everyone as Max, is believed to have drowned after falling into water near his yacht Genoa at the marina on the River Orwell.

His friend Capt Victor Sutton, 75, from Felixstowe, was also found dead after the pair were reported missing at 6.30am on Sunday by a fellow sailing enthusiast.

The two men had been staying aboard the Genoa after attending a dinner to mark the opening of Haven Ports Yacht Club's Season.

They were last seen at midnight on Saturday when the three friends enjoyed dinner in the lightship bar on the marina. It is thought one man may have fallen into the water and the other jumped in to help.

Mr Pennington's family was today still trying to come to terms with his sudden death.

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His wife Jan was on holiday with friends in Dubrovnik when she heard about the accident.

"Max was a very quiet man. He was on his boat with friends, which is something he did regularly," she said.

"He was a very experienced sailor. He had sailed to Finland and the Azores and we had sailed on holidays to Denmark.

"He always said he was better on the water, rather than in it. I don't think we will ever properly know what happened, but that's okay. We are only just fitting the pieces together."

Mr Pennington also remained close to his pervious wife Eileen, with whom he had two sons, Jeff and Mif, who both still live in Norfolk, and a daughter Amanda, who lives in Surrey. He was also much loved by stepsons Neil and Brett Almond.

He had five grandchildren, three through his stepfamily.

Neil said: "Max was a sailing enthusiast, it was a big part of his and my mum's life. Mum would go away with the girls and he would go away with the boys sailing.

"The friends were very responsible, with a good head on their shoulders. Whilst we don't know the details of what happened there was responsibility there.

"He was a very quiet man but so special to us."

Mr Pennington retired in the early 90s after working at the medical physics departments of both the Norfolk and Norwich and Ipswich hospitals.

He had owned several boats over the years but had bought Genoa to coincide with his retirement.

The couple moved to a new home near Trowse eight months ago after living for many years at Rockland St Mary, near Attleborough.

Mrs Pennington said: "He had thoroughly enjoyed his retirement. The last year had been deeply moving. Whenever I asked, he always said 'my cup runneth over'.

"He was always interested in doing things, like sorting out the garden. He also had a tremendous interest in music and had been a long time member of the University of East Anglia Choir."

An inquest will be held at a late date in the deaths of both men.

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