Two weeks ago, at the tender age of 96, my grandfather sailed off into the sunset and on to his next great adventure. One can only assume the sails were trimmed perfectly.
Daddy’s Daddy–as my sister and I, along with most of our friends and family, called him–was a consummate adventurer. He learned to sail as a young man in New York, and in the late 1940s took his family cruising in a 76-foot schooner called Constellation. Down through the St. Lawrence waterway, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, and north to California over the course of two years was a rare undertaking in those days. Press and curious locals followed the family’s travels, and the journey cemented my father’s calling at the age of 7.
(Above: My grandfather teaching my dad about navigation on board the Constellation)
My grandfather’s love of boats guided our family in countless ways: my parents met aboard his catamaran Hu Ka Makani; they gathered the courage to take us all cruising at a young age thanks to his example; one of my dad’s first designs (and the namesake for the following line of yachts) was the original Deerfoot, built for Daddy’s Daddy in New Zealand in 1978.
Once the 72-foot Deerfoot II came along in 1985, and my grandfather brought her across the Atlantic and back into Marina Del Rey, he had his perfect yacht. Right up until his 96th last September, he sailed her into her slip at California Yacht Club on every birthday–to make sure he still had the skill. Those of you who live and sail in Southern California no doubt will have memories of seeing Deerfoot II reaching proudly along on many a weekend over the last 25 years.
So we here at SetSail wanted to take a little time to honor “Captain Stan”, and thank him for his ocean gifts. But as his granddaughter, I can tell you this: that what really inspired me and made me adore him was not the boats, nor the calloused hands that were always trimming sheets to eke out a little more speed. Rather it was his eager embrace of the unknown, not just a willingness but a longing to seek out what lay over the horizon, that sent me flying into his arms at every reunion. That is the gift I remember, the gift I miss, and the gift I hope to inherit.
Fair winds and following seas, Daddy’s Daddy.