Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cheat the Nursing Home...Die on Your Sunfish

Tillerman has a sticker on his trailer that says, "Cheat the nursing home, die on your LASER!" Well, it seems that David Thompson of Bridgton, Maine has unfortunately achieved this dubious goal, albeit on a Sunfish at the ongoing Sunfish World Championships.

From the Charleston Post and Courier:

What was supposed to be a festive gathering for sailors at the end of the second day of racing at the Sunfish World Championships became a memorial of sorts, a race official said. One of their competitors had died.

The race started Tuesday about 2:35 p.m. near Castle Pinckney in the south channel of Charleston Harbor.

Within less than a minute, sailor David Thompson, 55, of Bridgton, Maine, collapsed and fell into the harbor, race spokesman Dan Dickison said.

Another sailor, Andres Cano-Alva of Peru, jumped into the water and tried to keep Thompson's head above water, Dickison said. A female judge for the competition also entered the water to assist.

A U.S. Coast Guard boat soon arrived and took Thompson to a nearby marina, where he was met by emergency medical workers and transported to East Cooper Hospital.

Thompson was pronounced dead at the hospital at 3:38 p.m., Charleston County Deputy Coroner Judy Koelpin said. She said the cause of death is under investigation.

"He had a series of medical issues that he had been dealing with in the last couple of years," Dickison said.

Dave also has a website that has some photos of him sailing and an interview where he discusses why he sails. His answer is particularly poignant:

That’s like asking, “Why do you breathe?” “Why do horses gallop across their paddocks?” “Why do dolphins surf bow waves?” Every answer I can think of is inadequate. I know that I can become a master sailor, but never master sailing. The challenges are endless and fascinating. Every sail is different and never what you expected. To sail well, you need a “seat of the pants” understanding of the physics involved that transcends mere numbers and formulas. It is not enough to know which course is probably best, or have a feel for what the wind will do next. It is not enough to out think your competitors and choose the right tactics. You must dance with wind and wave, hull and sail until the magical moment when everything is balanced just so and the boat starts to hum and then virtually leaps from the water and flies. Freedom. Undiluted joy. That’s the secret that sailors share and probably why we can never get enough of it.


Fred said...

What a tragic incident. A minute for the family and friends of Dave.

Thanks for bringing this one up. Those words by Dave I had to paste and copy. Nicely said. He must have been a great character. Welfare from Germany.

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