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.