The whole Australian sailing community is in mourning today for a man universally known as Megga, though occasionally known by his real name of Geoff Bascombe. I didn’t really know him all that well, seeing him occasionally at major regattas when he had delivered race boats and joining him and others for the odd beer or six to listen to tales of his fascinating and very full life. Professionally, he was a delivery skipper of the highest order, always placing seamanship ahead of deadlines and it was not for nought that many of Australia’s leading yacht owners entrusted their valuable craft to him. He carried out some yacht deliveries for my brokerage over the years and I always insisted that the new owners go along for the ride if at all possible as there was no better teacher of the fading art of seamanship on the Australian coast. Stubbies (Aussie shorts), T-shirt and Thongs ( footwear, not underwear!) were his uniform and he enjoyed his life to the max.
Here’s a happy photo I took of the big fella in early January this year when he graciously and generously gave up his time to take some parents out to watch their kids sailing at the International Cadet Class nationals in his home town of Port Lincoln. That was typical of the man; generous to a fault and always of a cheery disposition. The parents on that boat became a captive audience as Megga recalled endless tales of his exploits at sea and as a navy diver earlier in his life. I later introduced my young son to him at the Port Lincoln Yacht Club and he spent ages talking to 9 year old Jack about his passion for ocean sailing. Jack is of fairly small stature and Megga had him in fits of giggles when he told him he always ate more than him for lunch! The young kids were all spellbound by his stories and I hope he may have inspired some of them towards an offshore life.
I am sure there are many who knew him much better than I did and I hope they chime in here with their recollections of the big bloke. He must have had a portent of things to come back in January for he told us at that time of having given away most of his possessions to his family and closest friends. I saw him in Geelong later in January and he told me then he hadn’t felt so crook for years.
He was a genuinely good bloke and there’s not much higher accolade you can receive here in Australia. He made a big impact on the sailing community and I won’t forget him. As you can see from the photo, Megga was a giant of a man. His heart, which probably eventually gave out under the load, was even bigger!
Now on his final, eternal, delivery voyage, may he sleep peacefully in a very big bunk.