From humble beginnings to Bahamian Royalty, from sailing a dinghy on Montegue Bay to winning the Bahamas first Olympic Gold Medal, from a young tugboat navigator guiding a tug around the north side of Bimini on a dark, stormy night to being Chief Harbour pilot of Nassua and safely docking thousands of ships with millions of passengers onboard, Sir Durward climbed countless mountains in his 100 years. The common thread was that he always reached the peak.
With the unwavering support of his lovely Holly, Durward achieved much and inspired many. Those of us who were lucky enough to connect at some level with this man will never forget him. This site is a place for us all to collect and share our stories of a Gold medal life!
Durward took me under his wing in the early 80's. He was already a legend in the sport I was hoping to become good at. When competing in the Star class in Nassau, I stayed with he and Holly in their home on Winton Highway. I won my first Silver Star on his waters, from the upstairs bedroom of his home.
Apart from the best sailing on the planet, one of my fondest memories from my time in Nassau is of laying on my bed in the late afternoon, after a hard day of sailing on the waters east of Montague Bay, and listening to the piano coming from the lady next door, while the sea-breeze blew through that upstairs bedroom. That memory is permanently etched in my mind. I reminded Durward of that in my last visit with him on February 5th.
Through the years we always managed to stay in touch. I urged him to compete at the 1988 Olympics, at the age of 71. He visited me, in San Diego, during the 1992 America's Cup. Durward was sharp, sarcastic, and had the biggest heart on the planet. He loved reminiscing. He appreciated friends and family. Most of all, he appreciated Holly. Did I say he was smart?
Fortunately, he made 100 and the party we had was a great opportunity for so many to share their thoughts for the Captain, while he was present. So often we only get a chance to do that at a memorial.
I am also honored to be the care taker of 4789, his Gold Medal GEM IX. He got to know that in his final days.
Always the Captain, he is now sailing with eased sheets. "Slack the hand, Mon!"
Sir Durward or “Cap” as he allowed me to fondly address him was a hero and an icon to me, and to all of those that have crossed his life’s journey.
He taught me the true meaning of perseverance, and the value of generosity. His competitive drive and dedication was an inspiration, and his caring spirit will forever live on in my mind.
He was a loving husband, father and friend and will be missed by all and I know that he would want us all to appreciate the message contained in Alfred Lord Tennyson’ s
Crossing The Bar.
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have cross’d the bar.
Fair winds and happy sailing my dear friend, you will forever be a mentor to me!
I met Sir Durward 50 plus years ago in Miami. There he was Olympic Gold medalist, and Star World Champion. He was with his long time friend Basil Kelly. They were not quite sure who this kid was but by the end of the Bacardi Cup we were friends.
I sailed with Sir Durward in a North American Championship in 1987, and did I get a lesson on how to work in the front of a star. Of course there was the occasional gap in language but once I figured out what "boom the jib" ment all was good.
As the years went by Sir Durward would come to Miami with his son Randy and take a small group to dinner. He made it very clear of the importance of friendship and family.
He absolute devotion to the children of the Bahamas was maybe his finest moment.
Rest in peace my friend.
Thanks for sharing the passing of our hero.
Definitely a sad moment to many of us, but I firmly believe that the "man" lived his life to the fullest, with great success professionally and as an athlete.
How luck were we, for meeting him on personal basis and enjoy the many very special moments with him.
He will be definitely missed!
I have so many wonderful memories of Durward going back over so many years. The first contact of sorts was in the 1940's when there was a boat in trouble in the waters of the Bahamas and guess who was mentioned in a Seattle newspaper article as coming to their rescue? Yep, it was Durward. A few years later, 1947 to be exact, I was following Durward in the Worlds in Los Angeles, that he won of course, because the local yacht racing heroes of the Puget Sound Star Fleet, Charlie and Bob Ross were there as well.
Anyway, from there forward while I was busy establishing my friendship with Durward, he at the suggestion of the Race committee "threw" me out of a race in the 1959 World's, at the starting line of race 2 due to my foolish attempt to attempt to cross him while I was on port tack, he taught me a good lesson, for sure.
A few years later when I started building fiberglass Stars, Durward called me and ordered one of my boats. For several years after the delivery of that boat, I would crew for him in various New Orleans and Miami Regattas. The most memorable Regatta was the Worlds in Caracas, Venezuela in the 1973. We did pretty darn good, finishing 5th against a very strong fleet.
Over the next many years there were several major Regattas in Nassau, including, the Worlds of 1976 & 1985 which allowed Karen and me to become very close friends of Durward as well as his extended family, including Holly of course while we were staying with them. What wonderful hosts they were.
I would go on and on like this but I think I should stop here. Thanks to Sir Durward in so many ways from Karen and me and everyone else that has had the good fortune to call Durward their friend.
Big Mac calls me one day and asks me if I am available to crew at the upcoming Masters regatta at CRYC. I say yes I would like to sail but said don't you always sail with your son? He then explained that it was Durward who was in need of my services, that he should be thought of as Durward's agent. So I was excited to sail with this legendary man, and was eager to please him. We went out for a practice sail the day before the regatta started. Chris Rogers and Big Mac helped me get the boat in the water after Durward had treated all of us to lunch at CRYC. Durward was pleasant as left the dock and sailed out into Biscayne Bay. Of course I was talking with him, probably too much as I tend to do, asking about his life and past glory. After reaching out a while Durward suggested we hardened up, he throws me the mainsheet and say pull it in boy! I did but after dropping into the hiking position I asked him if he was unable to pull it in himself? He said "No Mon, if I were going to pull my own mainsheet it I wouldn't have bought your lunch!"
So I was put in my place and decided maybe I should just stick to my job and do as he asks. The next day we get out to the starting line, Durward makes a great start, winning the pin end, we are getting headed so I tell Durward we are looking good! Just hang here a little longer then we will tack to cross everyone. Durward bellows out "that fu#&%*@ Macausland!". I was aware the Cap is a seafaring man and I had heard him speak many times but never a bad word? I say "what's wrong Durward?". He then said it again, to which I respond "Macausland started at the other end of the line, he is no where near us!". Then Durward replies "No Mon, that fu#&%*@ Macausland told me you knew what you were doing!"
Rest in Peace Sir Durward and thanks for taking me sailing many more times after that. You inspire us all and will be remembered fondly by all those who's lives you touched! I was truely honored to know you!
BOOM DA JIB....HURRY UP MON!
Rick Peters the Starboatguy
My father sailed against Durward starting in the late 50’s and I was fortunate to sail against Durward and get to know him more toward the end of his international Star racing career. Durward sailed with Steven in the very windy and rough 1988 Olympics, my first Olympics and Durward’s last (of 8!). Quite a few years later when Durward was probably his 80’s we were racing in Miami with a tough fleet and as we approached the windward mark I saw a boat with a BAH on the main coming out of the right. I assumed it was Kelly, Lowe or Holowesko. Turned out it was Knowles, he crossed us and rounded in the lead. At that time he didn’t even bother to have a hiking strap in his boat! When I told Durward on shore that I had assumed it had been another Bahamian, he gave me a hard time that I had not assumed it was him!
There is only a small group of Star sailors that have won both the Olympics and the World Championships. A few years back I was talking to Durward and somehow it came up that he was born on November 2nd. When I told him that I was also born on Nov 2 he said “No wonder you are so good mon!”.
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