sail on

duboisI am perhaps not the best qualified person to write a piece about Ed Dubois but I knew him a little, met him a few times and own one of his babies and as I write this I quite literally have tears in my eyes.
I opened the email from duboisyachts expecting to see renderings of the latest design or a brokerage listing and was quite literally left in shock, I had no idea Ed had been ill.
A long time ago in Scotland I sailed one of ‘his’. A Westerly Griffon which sailed far too well to be a cruiser and we did things with that boat ‘Shiron’ that most people wouldn’t dream of. I remember crossing a finish line on the Forth rolling from side to side in a high end of a 5 when many people left their spinnaker in the turtle. We crossed the line to the sound of a toot accompanied by a round of applause from those on the committee boat. She was a boat that looked after you. Ed had been responsible for quite a number of the Westerly line and they all had excellent sailing qualities.
Hong Kong played quite a part in Ed’s earlier career as after a China Sea Race where one of his boats was sold ‘as is’ the owner commissioned a new boat. That boat was Police Car which became a member of the Australian Team. In the Admiral’s Cup of that year, Hong Kong had their best ever result with two of the three boat team Ed Dubois designs and Police Car was herself, the star of the show.
My own relationship with Ed blossomed when I discovered Design 55 in a shed in Hong Kong. 95% built in 1982 but never launched – the hole hadn’t even been cut in the deck for the keel stepped mast. She had sat in the corner of a shed under a tarp for 25 years. Naturally I needed her plans to cut in the right place and it was obvious from Ed’s return mail the delight in one of his lost children re-surfacing.
I brought her to Shanghai, tricked her out and she became ‘Bird of Prey’ where she is virtually undefeated. She was due to race today in the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show Charity Regatta. Out of respect for her creator she will not be on the start line – my heart wouldn’t be in it.
I was due to call Ed in the next couple of days as he was nominated as “Best Yacht Designer” in the Asian Marine & Boating Awards. Sadly that is a call I, now, shan’t be making.
Sail on Sir! One of the truly nice people has left us – far too early. You will be sorely missed. – Shanghai Sailor.