Today with sadness I post this tribute from Dan Hardwicke in South Africa, the builder of Luckyfish, to his co-worker Akhona Bayana, who has sadly passed away. He fought a lifelong battle with illness finally succumbing to TB. Reading this, one can see Dan was surrogate family for Akhona and so to Dan I extend our sympathies for losing a loved one. Akhona’s spirit will live on in the travels of Luckyfish and we will happily carry out Dan’s wishes to commemorate Akhona with an inscription on the boat. Here are Dan’s words:
“They say owning a boat has two happy days. The day you buy the boat… and the day you sell it. If you are lucky the days in between will be ‘cold showers ripping up £50 notes’ or ‘pump repairs in exotic locations’.
But as an owner builder there is another very happy day. The day your hull sees sunlight for the first time. We eased Luckyfish out into the sun on a beautiful spring day and feeling accomplished posed for a photo. Myself, my brother John and Akhona Bayana. It was a happy day.
Akhona was there throughout the 5500hr build, and helped myself and friends over the years with many other projects.
Today is a sad day as we have lost our friend Akhona. His body no longer had the strength to fight.
Akhona has one meaning in Xhosa – ‘presence of a girl’, which might explain his lack of family support from his mother. Though he never finished school he ‘stole’ with his eyes on site, was analytical, thorough and gained skills in many areas.
Last time I saw him on site he excitedly greeted me and told me with immense pride, how his driving lessons were progressing. It was good to see that sparkle in his eyes. That same sparkle was around during the build of Luckyfish. He had his doubts about her fitting out of the factory door and even that she would float. It was good workshop banter… and he would then get stuck in. No task broke him, and boat building can break anyone.
He became an expert laminator and fairer. He could pull a better epoxy fillet than most of us drive, he had his eye, dedication and careful nature. Without him she would not be the boat she is.
A boat can be bigger than its builder, it’s owner, the storm. He left his mark on a Wharram called Luckyfish, for the world to enjoy.
He was one of her builders. He was very proud of her.”
Akhona Bayana 24/07/1984 – 19/10/2017