22/6/10, Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia
Mauro died suddenly of cardiac arrest in Subic Bay, on 13 January 2010 . Our departure date from Subic had been set, and we were sharing a final 'goodbye' meal in Subic with Father Michael Duffin, a long time friend we met on our first visit to the Philippines in 1991. Father Michael, together with our friends Fran & Tom from SV Dagon, helped me with the final arrangements in Olongapo, for which I will always be grateful. I am also extremely grateful to Terry Sargent of SV Valhalla and his lovely companion Rose, who immediately and without hesitation or conditions, offered to help me sail Shadow of Lorelei to Sutera Harbour, in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, where I am now and plan to stay for the time being.
So many of Mauro's friends from the sailing and business world contacted me since then to express their grief and shock; I may have overlooked answering some emails personally - if so, I apologise; I was overwhelmed. I appreciate all of the messages and cherish them. It has taken months to find the words to write this memorial, and even now I don't feel that these words are adequate.
Mauro was a poet and a philosopher, a born leader who impacted positively on many lives. Not an academic, but a practical, insightful, yet pragmatic and empathetic person, Mauro's philosophy in life was a simple and cheerful one; he believed that he was put here on earth for some good reason, he continued searching for that reason to the end; he believed in later years that as an 'elder' he owed a debt to the young to pass on all of the wisdom he had acquired, even though they may be unwilling to accept it.
His favorite saying, especially when stuck in overwhelmingly miserable conditions (eg when leaving Japan in sustained 50 knot winds and ugly seas) was 'there's an up side to everything'; he could divert us both from our terror for hours by exploring our current circumstances to find that evasive 'up side'. He always found it too!
Many people shared in our travels through Mauro's blog site entries, designed to help new cruisers with information and advice, acquired over 20+ years of travelling and living the cruising lifestyle. Our experiences sailing through Japan and South Korea were also recorded by him in a cruising guide, which is unfortunately, not quite complete. A lot of port information has, however, been provided to the Sail Japan website, and I will do my best to bring his 2 years of work to a stage where it can be published online.
His working career was amazingly diverse; he was gifted and creative in many areas, a wordsmith and a visual creator, as well as an entrepreneur; in his early career he managed rock groups, which led to management of famous overseas artists who travelled to Australia; he worked as an underwater welder/diver on oil rigs, and in the UK as an industrial relations manager. He worked as an editor of a business publication, followed by a time as a festival organiser; he spent a period working as a management consultant to small business, a partner in a printing company, and director of a performance management and training group. His professional design skills were put to use most recently in our Storagespace retail stores. He loved color and design, as a hobby recently designing name cards for his yachtie friends, and short films for his much loved grandkids. His greatest frustration was his writing, which he worked at all his life. I have left out at least half of his achievements, there were so many things he did well.
He was an amazing man who would never compromise or take the easy way out. The world will miss him.