27 October 2018
By Göran R Buckhorn
The rowing world is paying tribute to boat builder Rainer Empacher, of Empacher Bootswerft, who unexpectedly passed away on 22 October, at the age of 58.
Empacher is a German family business and Rainer ran the company with his brother Helmut, the third generation Empacher. They inherited the company 30 years ago. The company was started by their grandfather, Willy, who was a master boat builder and started his first boatyard in Königsberg in December 1923.
Empacher, with their famous yellow racing shells, came to be synonymous with the highest excellence in the boat building business. The company worked closely with several of the national rowing federations and provided boats to many of the elite rowers around the world. The Empacher brothers travelled to the major international regattas to support and help the larger rowing community.
Condolences are coming in from all corners of the globe.
Jurgen Grobler, chief coach of Great Britain’s rowing team, said, according to British Rowing’s website: ‘Rainer and the wider Empacher family have served British Rowing very well over the past two decades. He was a good partner to us, refreshing in his approach to understanding new concepts and finding practical solutions. He will be missed around the boat park.’
Emma Twigg posted a Tweet with a picture of her in an Empacher single. She wrote: ‘Thank you Rainer Empacher for your unwavering support and encouragement from day one. We will miss you in the boat park and on the dance floor. RIP.’
‘It’s a sad day. A good friend left us. Thoughts goes to family, friends, Empacher workers. And everyone who rows yellow. RIP Rainer,’ Olof Tufte, the Norwegian rower, wrote in a Tweet.
Oarsman, rowing journalist and writer Martin Cross wrote a Tweet and posted a photo with Rainer. Cross wrote ‘Rainer was a good friend to many rowers and knew many of them personally. Here’s a happier occasion in 2009. Rainer is on the right.’