Sunday, October 6, 2013

Northumbria it is

My friend Ian McMurtry of Belfast died almost two years ago. He and I were great friends and sailing buddies. I met Ian in the fall of 1984 when he came to my home - which was  my 42' sailboat docked at Key Biscayne - along with a mutual friend to go sailing. I visited him the next February in Chicago at his new home and he sailed again with me in the Caribbean out of St Thomas before I was married in November 1986 in Chicago. His wife joined him at the wedding. Then Ian and I chartered 50s around the Caribbean a couple of times. He became ill a decade ago as did my sailing buddy Mike Cummins. So in 2005 a sick Ian and a sick Mike and I headed out on Mike's decrepit Coronado 45 from Ft Lauderdale  headed to Warderick Wells in the Exumas. The autopilot broke coming out of Ft Lauderdale, we could never get the diesel above idle, the waterline broke at Norman Spit and dumped our fresh water overboard, the headsail blew out at the Yellow Banks, Ian's berth - the V berth - had a hatch that leaked so badly we called it "the aquarium".  But we had 90 years' sailing experience among the 3 of us so we made it there and back.  I published the story: "There And Back With Mike and The Mac". 

I spoke with Ian twice in 2011 - both times he was in the hospital but said he was getting better. He died at the end of October 2011 but I did not find out until I called him Christmas 2011 and his wife - Hazel - told me.

While in England I wanted to go see Hazel even though she lives 300 miles north of Woolpit so off we went with a detour through the moors as written about yesterday. Hazel lives in a beautiful home and it was great to see her!  We talked about Ian and also about her plans.  She says she won't come to America again, but we may see her when Rollin and I come through northern England the 4th week of March.

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