Remembering Geoff Bundy
I was greatly saddened to learn of the death on August 12th of Geoff Bundy. Geoff did not visit the Club often (he and Jan retired to Scotland and did much of their recent sailing in Greece and Turkey), but he had been a member for over 50 years and was an Honorary Life member. He did the RYA Yachtmaster course in the l960’s, when the Club was based at Beaver Hall!
He worked for the International Labour Organisation,, a branch of the United Nations, and spent half of his professional life working on overseas technical training projects in developing countries: the Polynesian Island of Niue, the Solomon Islands, Nepal, Quetta( Pakistan), the Seychelles, Egypt, Kenya.
Geoff was a quiet unassuming gentleman, but his sailing exploits were spectacular. The story of his Fiji trip takes some beating. In 1975 he took up a post near Fiji. He sailed there with the family. It took a year and 11 days. You can read Geoff's account of their clandestine cruise round the Galapagos entitled “Forbidden Islands”, in the 1978 edition of the Club magazine.
His love for many years was for classic wooden boats having grown up on the Norfolk Broads where he learnt as a boy to sail the local lugsail dingies .He married Jan in 1972. Their honeymoon on board their newly purchased 31 ft cutter Coppelia, was spent trying to prevent it from being totally submerged after Jan put her aground on a falling tide at first light, and she fell to seaward!
Then came the two Nicolsons, Francis Helen followed by the classic 43 ft sloop Zircon., which they sailed for ten years in the Hebrides and west coast of Scotland..in the 1990’s. More recently they owned and sailed the French 44ft Amphitrite ketch Caractacus (which boasted the most comfortable cockpit ever) in Greece and in Turkey which is where I met and sailed with him.
Once asked where he had experienced the worst weather, he would always recall being in a very bad storm in the Bay of Biscay, with tumultuous seas, putting out an extensive warp to slow down the boat, battening down the hatches and portholes, running bare poles. In comparison, the strong winds with cloudless skies of the Pacific, were a mere zephyr! He remembered two tricky navigation experiences. The first was sailing in the dark without navigation lights into an anchorage in the Galapagos on a course line given by the skipper of Sails of Dawn who had radar. Equipment. (see Forbidden Islands article). The second was meeting the same yacht and being guided by radio communication into a remote atoll area of the Tuamotu archipelago in the same manner, with no detailed chart.
Geoff was a very practical man. He was skilled in wood and metal working and this stood him in good stead with the vagaries of boat ownership. He thrived on the challenges that cruising presented and, being such a warm and friendly personality he easily enabled crew to have a happy experience sailing with him.
Sadly no more, after resisting the underlying threat of chronic lymphocyctic leukaemia for 13 years, he died of pneumonia in hospital with Jan and the children at his bedside.