Old mucker goes to the cockpit in the sky


This weekend I lost an old shipmate: Rob Livermore, 58, who died after many months of illness. He made a good many passages with me in my old engineless cutter Almita. We crossed the Channel to France, and sailed the East Coast in her and also aboard my 30ft Alan Buchanan sloop Powder Monkey.

He always brought his ‘council house terrier’ (Rob’s graphic description of the hound’s pedigree), Joe, with him and they once had to share a sleeping bag when the weather took a chilly turn.

In earlier days he once crossed the Thames Estuary with me in a small catamaran which was slowly sinking owing to her wooden deck lifting from her glass hulls. As we raced across the deeps in an increasing wind the boat started to settle. Rob said: ‘Does excrement float?’ – using another word – ‘I’m not sure Rob, Why?’ I replied.

‘Because if it does I’m going to use my trousers as a lifebelt,’ came his droll reply.

Fortunately we managed to beach the thing, just before she sank, and wade ashore in chest deep water.

So long Rob, I’ll miss your singular humour.