On behalf of past and present members of the Cairns Yacht Club we would like to offer our sincerest condolences to Robyn, Fred, George and their families.
What do you say on a sad occasion like this? I have tried to find the right words. I do know that Des would certainly have the words and you all know we couldn’t repeat them here.
Des was Commodore of the Cairns Yacht Club from 1997 until 2002, serving 5 terms. He was also honoured by being made a Life Member of the club. He was certainly one of the more colourful leaders we have had. Being commodore is an unenviable role but Des did it with a certain style that we probably won’t see again. I know all the years that I have been part of the club and on committees it’s not easy trying to be a influence on a bunch of misfits and trying to set a good example at the same time.
Des had a Sonata 8 yacht called Chimera. Although the boat was called Chimera when Des bought it Chimera means “ a thing which is hoped for or illusory or impossible to achieve” . I think this sums up Des’s struggles to try and extend the lease of the Club. He managed to get a couple of extra years.
In Greek mythology Chimera was a “fire breathing monster with a lion’s head ,a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. I will leave that for you to think about.
Des got involved with the one class Etchells with a boat called “Out of the Past”. The Etchell is a 9 meter keel boat with 3 crew. With his crew of Peter Macdonald and Graham Brown , Des competed in a Queensland title in Cairns. Peter and Brownie sailed 2 seasons with Des but gave it away the next year. According to Peter they couldn’t take another year of the same jokes.
We all know Des could be blunt and straight to the point. A spade is a spade, but to Des it was a certain type of shovel.
Once Des took a call from the Port Authority . Some one had called up to complain that someone was urinating from the back of a boat as they sailed past the waterfront. Des replied “Well that would have been me”.
Des and I had both been in the Navy, one ANZAC day we both came back to the Club after the march , having a beer with him I asked Des “when did you join up?” . He looked at me and said “You idiot we were in the same class. That was back in 1967.”
I know myself and the sailors from the Cairns Yacht Club have special memories of Des.