Thursday, July 22, 2010

A beautiful boat in Guernsey

Received the very tragic news to-day of the death of a very fine fellow, the builder of this boat. We knew this was coming, with hints as far back as November, but in a life's perspective this is still sudden. I only knew him through a boat building forum, but shared many wonderful discussions with him as we all plodded our way through the challenges of making things, of trying to make a worthwhile life, really. How strange it is to feel some sort of kinship with someone on the other side of the world, and to feel understood and affirmed 'electronically', but genuinely. How can you weigh up the emotions of sadness and loss when there is no sort of precedent for a relationship that exists only on the World Wide Web?
Within hours of his catching his first fish from this boat we had pictures of him doing it and the very fish in all its shimmering salty freshness, and the excitement on his face after a couple of years of solid slog in his workshop transforming a pile of timber into a magical thing that floats and creates dreams of special moments. I was there on the other side of the world, up-side down to him, sharing the moment. A whole group of us were in his mind when he pushed her into the water for the first time, and he made sure there'd be pictures to post for us to oggle at and appreciate, and try in our own ways to be present in.
This man was forty when he was taken. I had a close shave myself at that age and I wrinkle and cringe at the unfairness of it all.
And yet, there it is. A very beautiful boat, and if I'm right his special fishing friend of over twenty years will have a significant relationship with that boat from now on, and I only hope he can keep using it.
Richard will be remembered by us all over the world for his warmth and humility and his exceptional craftsmanship, and the fact that he took the time to let us into his dreams and his projects, not to mention the help and support that he offered to those of us that mucked about in the same metaphorical pond.


  1. So sorry to hear of the passing of your friend Dad...

    Sounds like this man gave something very authentic and beautiful to you that you valued very much.

    Much love..x

  2. Chalk and cheese we were, probably, but with a very good connection. Maybe that should be wine and cheese?

  3. A beautyful boat indeed Rob .......much more than this...a touch of the author that will remain for many time....perhaps forever in the net. Watching any object for example a violin we can see the hands of Stradivari, or Guarnieri, or Testore 300 years later...their philosophy, their sensivity is still alive. They really sing through the instruments they made
    I think we don't need to share space or time with the others to feel fact I think there is a big family in the World.....the family of the good, not destroyers..and we put a big part of our soul in all we do.....we share much more than "hobbies"....

  4. I love how you expressed that La Mar..."the big family of good people and the builders not destroyers" encouraging and positive!!!

    It's a good reminder to me that we all possess the ability to contribute beauty in some seems that this man that has passed did exactly that...

  5. Thank you both for thoughtful and reflective comments.