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post #1 of 3 Old 03-25-2011 Thread Starter
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Beyond the horizon...

As a fan, I'd periodically checked the website of a certain Bristol 32 named Kestrel. Her Captain was named John Atkisson. The site seemed strangely quiet for quite some time. Tonight I see an update to the site stating that John passed away over a year ago. I never met him, but exchanged a few emails. He was a salty character one couldn't help but like. Upon retiring, he set out to fulfill a dream and successfully sailed Kestrel to Europe and back. He lived his dream. The website stated Kestrel was to be listed in early March of this year. Sure enough, I checked and a sale is already pending, a testament to John's loving devotion and upgrades. I hope her new owner will be just as involved as she's one of the finest examples I've seen. The site is worth a read. I especially got a kick out of one account of "nearly" surfing before 22 knots of wind, stereo cranked up, ....performing for the dolphins.....
The guy lived a helluva life. I hope, when I'm done, I've lived half as much.
S/V Kestrel - The Boat
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post #2 of 3 Old 03-25-2011
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Nice. Thanks for posting this, it's a subtle reminder to us all that it's later than we think.

RIP John
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post #3 of 3 Old 03-28-2011
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Originally Posted by seabreeze_97 View Post
As a fan, I'd periodically checked the website of a certain Bristol 32 named Kestrel. Her Captain was named John Atkisson. The site seemed strangely quiet for quite some time. Tonight I see an update to the site stating that John passed away over a year ago. I never met him, but exchanged a few emails. He was a salty character one couldn't help but like. Upon retiring, he set out to fulfill a dream and successfully sailed Kestrel to Europe and back. He lived his dream. The website stated Kestrel was to be listed in early March of this year. Sure enough, I checked and a sale is already pending, a testament to John's loving devotion and upgrades. I hope her new owner will be just as involved as she's one of the finest examples I've seen. The site is worth a read. I especially got a kick out of one account of "nearly" surfing before 22 knots of wind, stereo cranked up, ....performing for the dolphins.....
The guy lived a helluva life. I hope, when I'm done, I've lived half as much.
S/V Kestrel - The Boat
I had the great pleasure of meeting John a few years ago, what a very fine gentleman he was…

Back when he was prepping for his Atlantic Circle, he was a regular on the old Cruising World BB, Jeff H probably remembers him from those days… A mutual friend of ours, Bill K, was the one who put John’s website together, and handled the updates, etc…

I met John in Beaufort, NC, as he was finishing up his trip back from Europe. It was in May, 2007, he’d just come in from Tortola, and I was delivering a motoryacht north from Florida…

Some may recall a big depression that caused a monster blow in the spring of ’07… a few boats were lost in that storm, most notably the 56’ Little Harbor FLYING COLOURS, which disappeared with the loss of 4 crew a few hundred miles SE of Hatteras… John sailed around the fringes of that weather, and he offered very high praise to the weather routing he’d received from Chris Parker – he reckoned he might have sailed straight into it without Chris’ recommendation to slow down a few days earlier…

KESTREL was a true beauty, he’d done a wonderful job of prepping her for offshore, and perfected the art of traveling light, avoiding the massive accumulation of clutter and crap on deck that so many cruisers today seem incapable of doing… A wonderful example of how little one really needs to wander far and wide under sail… And, he did love to sail, tried to avoid motoring at all costs… He grew a bit frustrated with Herb Hilgenberg on his way over to Europe, Herb would insist that he motor if necessary to get to a particular waypoint within 24 hours, and John just hated the thought of doing that for anything less than avoiding seriously bad weather…

He definitely lived life on his own terms, and will no doubt be greatly missed by all those who had the privilege of knowing him…
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