I first met Ali when she started volunteering on Balclutha, and was impressed by this fearless, eager-to-learn child, who would work anywhere, from painting bilges to securing a Christmas tree to the mast truck. A few years later a new set of sails appeared for one of the historic small boats, flawlessly hand sewn, and I asked where they had come from. Amazed when I learned that Ali had built them from a pile of canvas, rope and thread. Was incredibly glad last year when she appeared at one of our morning meetings, now a young woman, saying she had been hired to one of our permanent ship’s maintenence positions. Recently promoted to ships rigger, I last saw her a couple weeks ago in the Balclutha’s shop, putting the finishing touches onto an eye splice on an inch and a quarter wire backstay, with a great smile on her face.
I returned to the shop last week as a volunteer to find a new wire in the vise ready for another eye splice. The shop seemed so empty. I had to leave as soon as I could.
I’m offering a picture from a book I gave my Mother in the last days of her life. She loved that book, the mother of a sailor, who understood exactly why I’d given to her. Now I give it to the family and friends of a sailor who have lost a daughter and friend.
I asked, and received permission to make this tribute to a friend, fellow sailor, from the artist/author of the book, so I must add this caution:
Used with Kind Permission from the Artist, Mr. Buckley Smith. From his book, “Moonsailors”
Please respect Copyrighted material.