It is with sadness that we report then passing of Bill Brockhurst. Bill’s association with Fleet 5 dates back to the 2000 era, when he frequently sailed with old friend Steve Caswell in Pastiche, which Steve sold to Chris Hutchinson. A consummate sailor, Bill started in Widgeons off Children’s Island in the 60s, sailing against people like Jud Smith. He also sailed 110s and other one-designs, and was a veteran of numerous Newport-Bermuda and Halifax races. A natural driver, Bill excelled in his ability to make a boat go fast. More importantly, his special gift was to elevate the game of those around him while keeping them loose and in good-humor. We will miss him. Speaking of Steve Caswell, Steve recently underwent quadruple bypass surgery, and we’re pleased to report that he came through with flying colors. Before relocating to Bethel Maine, Steve was a force on our course, sailing with longtime crew Shannon Lane, and still occasionally joins us sailing his old boat. Steve hopes to sail Pastiche a few times this season.
Also on the medical front, we’re pleased to report that team Pandapas member Ken Cormier is resting comfortably after a bit of surgery last week. His recuperation will likely keep him sidelined for East Coasts in Padanaram, but he’ll be ready to go in July.
Rick Smyers and Jeff Sachs are getting serious. They recently closed a deal to buy Jumbly – 892 – from Paul Zymba and Andy Savage (so by the way will be selling their old boat 1939). 892 has a great pedigree. Jeremy Bloxham restored it in the late 1990s, and went on to win Race Week, East Coasts and the 2000 Nationals in it. He sold it to the Savage-Zymba team, who respectably campaigned it for several years. They also chartered it to Jon Cressy for Race Week, who then went on to win that. Great boat! Just hope the RC’s don’t confuse 982 and 892.
Rumor has it that Class Association President Tom Despres is thinking about stepping down at the annual meeting in August. If he does, it will be the class’s loss, though we shouldn’t be surprised as he’s been at it for almost three years. Running the class is a thankless job, so next time you see him, you might consider thanking him and perhaps even buying him drink or two. Speaking of thankless jobs, class measurer (and 3-time winner of the what-aguy award) Jerry Blouin has been working overtime to insure we all get to sail nationals with as little hassle as possible. In addition to giving up his weekends to measurer Fleet 5, he’s also traveling to Hingham, Hull, Winthrop and who-knows-where-else to help them too. What a guy? So a tip of the hat to Jerry. Also in the what-a-guy category, Jerry Blouin lent Rick Saunders his boat so Rick could sail this weekend. It seems that a rigger, whose name we won’t mention (in large cap bold this time), promised him his new mast for April 1st and failed to deliver even a month late. Shameful!