8 Bells for Butch Parker

Great Red Shark

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Just saw the story - got a call from the Chief about it while sailing the Wednesday nighter last night.

So long, my friend.   

When we last spoke he mentioned some serious ongoing health issues,  so perhaps not entirely a surprise,  but the world is a little less fun without that guy now.

And now is the time to tell the stories and remember our shipmate.

20200827_073738.jpg

 

Great Red Shark

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Pic above at the WYC bar with Ned, Butch, me, Mike C and Chris H in 2006 when Butch came back out to Oahu to help me put my Sonoma 30 back together.  He stayed out at my place in the sticks for the month or so he was here and we didn't drive each other completely crazy.

Later I sailed a 4th of July race on his family's K-33 Deserie' - and when I had a motorcycle shipped to National City for a cross country ride I stayed at their Coronado home - really couldn't have been much nicer to me.

The funny stories are many,  we put a lot of miles on The Shark together sailing to Maui at least 3 times together.

One time,  we had sailed a race up to Molokai and were Tahiti-tied up to the the long wharf at Kaunakakai with the crew,  unwinding after a brisk sail with some beverages.  At one point in a lull in the 27 conversations going on, Butch says - out of the blue -  (and apparently not knowing there is fuck-all ashore in there)  that we ought to get cleaned up and go find some fun,  whereupon he turns to Monica (my late wife) and says - in a completely earnest, and NOT condescending manner that we should "Get cleaned up,  go to town and get you a little outfit."   - which if you knew her WAS funny (not particularly a girly-girl when on vay-cay) but had the entire crew in tears for,  oh,  about an hour or so.

I don't think I've ever seen Art Musso laugh so hard,  - I mean near seizure -  we repeated that throw-away line for months.

 
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Great Red Shark

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We're sailing home from Lahaina on a Labor day race (75 mile downwinder in fresh summer trades)  and there's a highly modified Olson29 keeping pace with us but diverging to the North.  I comment that they are hanging tough and Ned replies "It's a LONG race"   About 15 minutes later they go over.  Hard.  And Stay down.

About this time someone pipes up that they had a kid aboard and while there are boats behind them on their track,  we are closest so we douse and go reaching up to them.

We pass the boat just as it comes up,  kite in streamers, with one person pointing astern of them,  where RIchard McDonald is having a late morning swim in the middle Molokai Channel.

Butch is driving at the time,  and we hadn't bothered changing out anybody,   we're on a good approach with mainsail only and Butch very calmly says:   "So.....We're picking him up,  right?"    ( I guess this was just a good example of making sure we were all on the same page,  but at the time it was funny as Hell in a stressful situation)

We snagged the Man overboard on the first try,     that guy could REALLY handle a boat.

 

Great Red Shark

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We called him the Toxic Avenger due to his profession working with paints, solvents and all the nasty stuff our boats have been made from - and his at-times gruff manner,  but he was a real softy if you knew him - hooker with the heart of gold kinda thing. 

Now,  I'm of no illusion that his lifetime of smoking and drinking or the tales he'd tell of driving a truck full of insecticide - as a teenager -  out to farm fields for his dad to crop-spray with 'copter that they'd LAND on the back of the truck to re-fill didn't have any impact on his health,  but I can't help but think that the hundreds of spray jobs he did hastened his demise - and that I played a part in that as well.   Boatyard work IS chemical work frequently, people - if you're going to do it,  please - do it carefully and if you're having it done,  don't bitch about the price because someone may be paying for it down the road.

I'm gonna miss that guy.  I think we got a photo of him in a suit at my wedding,  but those pictures are still hard to go through.

 
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Great Red Shark

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On the Kaunakakai pier (Molokai)  crew:

mystery, Butch, Me, Hinny, Mau-Mau, and the Chief.   

Kaunakakai Krew.jpg

 
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Great Red Shark

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What kind of guy was he?

Well:  In 2008 I visited him in San Diego and we sailed the LBRW on a Flying Tiger10 owned by friends of his.  The crew all stayed aboard a nice big Cheoy Lee motoryacht owned by the sailboat owner's parents - that they'd used to tow the FT10 up from Coronado.  It was a really nice family-centered program and the boat owner had his two young sons along as well - I'd put them around 10 or so at the time.

We have a quiet after-sail beverage before everyone goes to the big party  (which I had to skip,  family obligations) but while we hung out aboard the motoryacht the kids got out a radio-controlled Laser to play with and had some fun hanging out with the big boys.

We all re-convene several hours later and everyone is a bit drunk (well,  except for the kids,  of course) and while it's late, it's not THAT LATE and the toy boat comes out again.   After they play with it for a half-hour or so it comes back ashore and OF COURSE while the boys are taking it apart with the 'help' of the inebriated adults the keel-bulb gets fumbled overboard - and nothing sinks quite as fast as a lead slug!

The young master of the little yacht is REALLY bummed out by this development,  seriously upset.   Nothing,  and I  do mean nothing will calm him down until Butch says "Don't worry,  I'll get it in the morning"   Boom.  Done - the kid is now cool,  dries his eyes and heads off to his bunk.

Next morning comes really early to the hung-over crew and I pry myself out of the crew's quarters in the cold misty California dawn because Butch and I are driving back to San Diego for a CYC event in a couple hours,  but when I step off the boat, there on the dock in a muddy little puddle is the tiny bulb for a R/C Laser.

 

Great Red Shark

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Nobody else, eh?    I thought there'd be at least a couple good,  odd tales from you guys.

Still worried about the statute of limitations?

This looks like a Friday night race crew - I don't even know the name of the kid in the middle,  that the late,  great Lou Valenta at the top - another sailing buddy no doubt ready to swap tales with Butch.

20200828_072815.jpg

 

Ned

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Definitely Statutes, for at least the parts I recall.  

"They DON'T stop in NASCAR!"  another piece of the fishing the guy out of the channel tale above.  

There's really a mammoth list.  Will need a cocktail to boost the nostalgia from Long Ago, When We Was Fab.  And Fabricating.  

 

Snaggletooth

SA's Morrelle Compasse
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Respecte to you Butch, you haive frendes heare readilley speakeng oute foire you.

Sondes licke a sweete guye, wishe I niewe hime, niewe plentey licke hime.  Juste jewelles in the crowdes, made you feelle goode and crazey foire fun.  Miss them alle.

RIP BP                                    :)

 
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daffy

Super Anarchist
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NW
I remember racing against Butch back in 80's , he raced with Mike Rockoff  and John on GoGoGo Santana 20.had many late nights with that group! 

 

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