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It was Winter 2005...

Posted by Paul J Scannell 
It was Winter 2005...
14 November, 2017 21:26
He said that the front of a boat is called 'the bow'...and the back of a boat is called 'the stern'. I scrambled to write it down on my jotter. And then he mentioned 'port' and 'starboard' and I continued writing everything down with the feverishness of an absolute novice. My head was swimming with terms that were so alien to me.

It was sometime during Winter 2005. I was contemplating the acquisition of my first boat. I had posted on the IWAI Forum...'Newbie dips his toes in the water...' and he had responded, together with others who also offered assistance to the newbie. Maurice (M.G.) Kerr was particularly helpful in subsequent months when I eventually purchased 'Arthur'.

But, this was before I had even acquired a boat and he was giving me a sound introduction. And I was a complete novice. We met in the Pillo (now Maldron) Hotel in Galway and over a couple of coffees he introduced me to terminology which at the time was like a foreign language. His own boat, 'Amicus', was made of steel and although that was his preference he did not hesitate to highlight the pros of fibreglass.

More than that, he invited me to visit his boat in its home berth in Madden’s, Portumna. And there he pointed out the virtues of the marina ...'in good weather you can exit the marina, turn left and head down past Portumna Bridge and on to Lough Derg. And in poor weather you can exit the marina and turn right and go up river.' It turned out to be a perfect location, just as he said.

He even introduced me to the marina owner and through his introduction I acquired a berth in the popular and fully-booked marina. 'What size boat do you have, the marina owner enquired?' A 33 footer I quickly replied although in truth I didn't even have a boat in mind but was conscious of his advice in our earlier conversation. 'Well, I have a free berth beside the slipway' she said and I whipped out my cheque book to pay the deposit and thereby secured the berth for my 'new boat'.

After the marina owner departed 'he' cautioned me... 'You won't want to have a berth beside the slipway. Better if you can get a berth on a finger. Tell her that your boat is a bit longer.' And so I duly contacted the marina owner and advised her that 'my boat', yet to be purchased, had increased in size to 37ft and I was duly offered a finger in the middle of the main jetty.

He was so helpful and in such a gentle and non-patronising way. And when 'Arthur' duly arrived in the marina he was always on hand to offer advice but never in an overbearing way.

I didn't see him that often over the following years but I always made a point of calling down to his boat to say hello.

He was not a regular contributor to this forum preferring to lurk but he was always aware of what was happening.

After a couple of years from the time that 'Arthur' arrived in Portumna he decided to re-locate and he duly moved his beloved 'Amicus' to Athlone for a couple of seasons. And then, a couple of years ago he returned to Portumna. I was delighted to see him after the absence while he was in Athlone.

By this time I was less of a newbie than when I first met him and I had taken to posting reports of the annual 'Arthur's Coastal Cruise'. He followed the reports and I think that it gave him a sense of pride that he had helped me along the way and he was happy for Arthur and her crew in how they had literally 'taken to the water'!

This summer he regularly followed us on 'Arthur's Facebook page as we cruised to Kinsale and back. We exchanged messages on Facebook and when I called him in September he updated me as to how life had evolved for him in recent years. He was no longer boating...he was coping with another bout of cancer and he was quite weak. He and Maura had always loved boating, particularly I think, in their own company. Sadly, but with an assuredness that it was the right thing to do, he reluctantly sold the boat earlier this year.

I didn't realise how ill he had been and it was with much sadness that I heard today that he passed away a week ago. I very much regret that I was not aware of the funeral arrangements. It was certainly a funeral that I would have wanted to attend.

Billy Moran was an absolute gentleman. He was so kind and helpful in his tutoring of me all those years ago. Always there with a word of advice and encouraging with respect to my boating activities. A gentle soul who I am sure is enjoying the eternal peace that he has earned.

Billy, thank you for your kindness to a novice boater all of twelve years ago and your constant encouragement thereafter.

I spoke with Maura today and she was happy to remember all the great memories that she and Billy enjoyed on the water in their beloved 'Amicus'. I said that I would search my photo database and unearth some photos of Billy...I was sure that I had a few. Sadly I could only find a couple which I have attached to this post.

Billy Moran...Rest in Peace.

Paul ("Arthur")

Click on each image below, in turn, to view the respective photo.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 14/11/2017 22:18 by Paul J Scannell.
Re: It was Winter 2005...
15 November, 2017 09:40
As always Paul, you have a wonderful way with words. A terrific story and tribute to a fellow boater whom I dont believe I have ever met.
Re: It was Winter 2005...
15 November, 2017 15:18
What a lovely story, I enjoyed reading the post and you worded and wrote it so well.
If we all had an introduction to the water like this, we would all be the better for it.
Great to see positive proactive people posting experiences and helping each other
Re: It was Winter 2005...
15 November, 2017 20:58
Thanks for your kind words John.

Quote:
johnf_murphy1
As always Paul, you have a wonderful way with words. A terrific story and tribute to a fellow boater whom I dont believe I have ever met.
Re: It was Winter 2005...
15 November, 2017 21:07
Thanks for your nice comments Robbie. Yes, I was very lucky with those that counselled me at the early stages of my boating activities. And in my dealings with Billy I found him to be both a gentleman and a gentle man. And the advice sure was helpful to this novice who was setting out on a boating odyssey and a whole new world that was totally alien to me!

Paul

Quote:
Robbie
What a lovely story, I enjoyed reading the post and you worded and wrote it so well.
If we all had an introduction to the water like this, we would all be the better for it.
Great to see positive proactive people posting experiences and helping each other
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