|Helmut Heine von SY. Tiama gestorben|
My best friend, my partner, SSCA lifetime commodore Helmut Heine died on 12 May 2010 after a brief struggle with a brain tumour.
It was my privilege to sail with him on Tiama for 20 years. He sailed as a youth on the lakes of East Berlin, spent holidays canoe-camping down European rivers. Later when he moved to Munich he would tow his tiny 18 ft boat behind his VW Beetle over the Alps to the Med , launch and set off to Southern Italy or Yugoslavia for his holidays. But in 1969 he gave up work to build Equinox, a 31 ft Buchanan design in steel, with a friend. Their Atlantic voyage was their first practical attempt at sextant plotting and there was joy and relief on sighting Barbados on the expected day. This memory he often talked of once the days of GPS arrived. Their journey through the Pacific saw them sharing anchorages with the Hiscocks, tying up in Papeete next to Bernard Moitessier's Joshua. In New Zealand Helmut decided a bigger boat was necessary, and went back to Europe to build a 42ft custom design, again in steel. And a year later he set off again across the Atlantic on more adventures. In 1980 he decided a smaller boat would be better and in 9 months built Tiama, a custom designed steel boat again and he set sail for Brazil.
It was at this point that I met him and my life changed. I realised work and being a wage slave was not the only option and if one could only cut those ties, freedom and adventure were waiting, although it was another 9 years before I finally joined Helmut permanently on board.
Helmut loved the quiet isolated anchorages. Diving was his great passion whether watching pilot whales or the tiniest reef coral. Everything fascinated him under the water. He was a natural sailor. He expected to be able to repair his boat himself and carried enough spares to equip a navy!
After the operation to remove his tumour we returned to Tiama in Guatemala at the end of January . But in mid March when it became very clear the tumour had regrown we sold Tiama and returned to UK. The sea was his home for almost 40 years. It was a great pleasure to share his life .
Pauline Chapman, email@example.com