Vale - Bob Naftel
A little about his sailing life:
The early days - Bob was a member at Sutherland Shire Sailing Club (SSSC), initially, just a group of members who sailed from the beach at Kurnell. So Bob instigated and personally helped build, along with other members their first club house. He was a popular Commodore for many years and ran regattas, club events and socials, instigated training for junior and senior sailors, manned rescue boats, and conducted the starts and finishes for many races. Through his efforts the club grew. The whole family were involved, Sandra running catering and events along with the usual race day duties and all members and children were encouraged to take responsibility with race day duties and club activities. Bob lead by example.
Bob introduced a Victorian boat, The Impulse, to NSW. He personally hand built many of these and oversaw the construction of and repairs to many others. He mentored this class, which became very strong and active in NSW. He and many whom he mentored became state and national champions in this class. He is a life member of the Impulse association, in recognition of his contribution to the Class.
Mentoring played a huge role in Bob’s life, giving selflessly of his knowledge and skills to sailors all over the country. Bob derived great pleasure from being able to pass on a deeper understanding of the art and craft of sailing and boat construction. Most people in all the clubs he has been associated with, have benefitted from a little quiet interaction and knowledge transfer either in the form of instruction, repairs, simplification of rigging systems, tweaking a sail, a custom made piece of Bob equipment, or just a simple word of encouragement. He found joy in encouraging sailors to extend themselves and succeed. Many of the young men he mentored from 12years of age are now in their 40s+ and remain close friends of Bob’s. Bob’s passion for youth sailing saw him design, build and develop the ‘Impulse Junior’ to fulfil the need of teen sailors to transition them from junior into adult sailing. Many repairs to clubs and boats have been undertaken with great skill and care by Bob, all in the interest of the sailing community.
At PSSAC, many sailors have also benefitted from Bob’s unique good will. He mentored Ollie for many years, sourcing and repairing his first boat and transporting Ollie to regattas up and down the coast. In 2010 Bob befriended, Karen & David Nye when they stumbled upon PSSAC and he encouraged Jake Nye to sail. Jake participated in the first Learn to Sail Course in January 2011 and Karen took over as President in Sept 2011. This was the beginning of a new era at PSSAC as a junior sailing program had been close to Bob’s heart for many years and he had sought to see one start in Port Stephens. Bob was instrumental and rather persistent in getting Port Stephens Yacht Club to consider & eventually purchase 2 BICs for the PSSAC junior program. Bob was always one of the first to arrive and last to leave and always happy to help, even when not sailing himself. One of the BIC’s was named in his honour ‘Bob ‘n Around’, because he is always around to help.
Bob enjoyed his retirement years sailing regularly on Port Stephens in his beloved yacht, Rob N’s Hood and was an active and popular member at PSYC. Even in the final days of his courageous and dignified battle with cancer, Bob continued to sail as often as he could, and found the strength to pass on his knowledge and skills to one more sailor. A gracious man, small in stature but great in humility, Bob worked tirelessly to improve the status of sailing in our community, particularly for junior sailors, with the hope that all would enjoy it, as much as he has. He will be greatly missed and we cherish the opportunity we have had to call Bob our friend.
Thank you for everything Bob.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain
A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s.
- Bernard Moitessier
"Sailing takes me away
To where I've always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free..."
From "Sailing" by Christopher Cross