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Remembering: Don Fanjoy


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(1955 - 2003)

Scene: Toronto Island Marina, 1980 or thereabouts .
" #*@^*%~!!"
" Ah, I could suggest an easier way of doing that - save you a lot of time and fancy vocabulary."
" Thanks anyway, Don, but I think I've just about got it figured out."
Some time later:
"Still at it I see. You could be over at the club with a bunch of us getting ready to barbeque." But, if you like to punish yourself don't worry - we'll save you a couple of dogs and stale buns."
"OK, Don, you win. What did you have in mind?"

And that was the time I met the true Don Fanjoy.  I forget what the problem was exactly but, as I, and many others, have since found out, the only thing worse than getting a dose of advice, liberally sprinkled with irony, from Don was not getting any advice. If he suspected that you were too bull-headed, arrogant or just plain thick to deserve rescuing, he would sit happily by and watch you make a silly fool of yourself. And comments - ah, the comments.

A native of Nova Scotia, where he started sailing friends' boats at the family cottage, Don Fanjoy became a fixture at the Toronto Island Marina and on the racing circuit. He and Elspeth joined Harbour City Yacht Club, incorporated in 1974 by like-minded sailors, helped build and launch the club house cityside and rode the maiden (and only) voyage to C Basin, in the Marina. Don served as Safety Officer, Rear Commodore and PHRF maven for the club and, seldom racing his own boat, he crewed with boats from QCYC, RCYC, NYC and just about every other YC around town, not to mention LORC, LYRA  and CORK.

Mentor, teacher, consultant and, oh yes, advisor; if there were any questions about boats it was generally agreed that Don knew the answers.  One former crew member dubbed Don the Zena Cherry of sailboats because there did not appear to be a boat Don did not recognize or know all the data about. Of course, from her position on race committee boats, Elspeth may have helped more than a little but she let Don take the credit.

Joining QCYC in 1995, Don and Elspeth were welcomed by lots of other HCYC transplants and became dockmates of the Hamiltons and yours truly of The Shadow. Now the test: could Don take advice? Yes. Cradle building, stringing mooring and messenger lines, docking bow-on or pitching in, Don graciously accepted the wisdom of long time members and the nattering of others with a smile.

During a determined struggle against cancer, Don would still come to QCYC and its events whenever possible or just to sit on Crackers and enjoy being on the island.  The past year was most difficult when Don and Elspeth had to sell the boat and face Don's final leg of the race.  March 23, 2000 left Elspeth, friends, family and fellow club members with a lot of welcome advice unsaid. Bon voyage, Don. Rosalind Ross 

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