Jimmy Buffet, who passed away on 1 September, sailing with his friend Dennis Conner and Stars&Stripes off Fremantle during the 1987 America’s Cup. His hit Take it Back was inevitably the theme song for Stars&Stripes that year as much as Men at Work did the job for John Bertrand’s crew four years earlier in Newport. Buffet held a particular place among racing and cruising sailors alike, felt most strongly in the southern and western US states and of course across the Caribbean. That imagery, a Caribbean sunset, a glass of Mount Gay and tonic, and a Jimmy Buffet ballad playing in the background, was a significant driver in the explosion in bareboat chartering that started during the 1980s. And, in passing, a last message for us… Buffet died after a four-year battle with skin cancer
Sail on, Jimmy
The recent passing of Jimmy Buffet has tugged the heart strings of many of us sailors here in the US. More than just a successful pop culture icon to his legions of followers (‘Parrotheads’), his musical allegories of life as a casual sailor resonate with many of us looking back at how the hell we got entangled in this sport, often in the warm palm-fronded embrace of environs like Florida, California, Mexico or the Caribbean. Jimmy’s tunes were perfect at expressing our desire to eschew the ‘real life’ career pathways expected of us to instead pursue our passions… and pleasures.
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