stalwart, Darrell Hicks,
has passed away at age 80
(February 5, 1933 – March 04, 2013)
The End of an Era
Going back before the days of Big Daddy Don Davis, Hughie Thomas, Alan & Joy Phillips, plus countless other Wayfarer characters, Darrell Hicks was the most colourful character in the Wayfarer Fleet at the Bronte Harbour YC in Oakville.
Darrell Hicks passed away peacefully in Hamilton on March 2013. His funeral was a packed house with family, friends, sailors, and many customers from his long time business in Hamilton Hicks Furs. Darrell was a founding member of Bronte Harbour Yacht Club when there was nothing but bulrushes on both sides of the creek. The only person with a longer history of sailing was George Blanchard, who actually started sailing a Lightning out of Oakville Creek in 1932.
This photo doesn't show it, but it brings to mind that Darrell had the most distinctive wooden mast
in Wayfarers - a barber pole pattern: alternating red and white stripes winding their way up the mast
(copied from the April 1967 CWOA newsletter)
Darrell's first boat was a Blue Jay - and here is another familiar name, going back into the late 1960's - his crew was Linda Sweet. In those early days, many Wayfarers were built from kits. With a growing Wayfarer fleet at Bronte, Darrell made the switch! Darrell's colourful nature was clearly evident as he painted his mast 'Barber Pole' style red & white! You really have to smile at that one!
Darrell was always helpful, and could be counted on to lend a hand, sharing his knowledge or his time, ready for any adventure and always a pleasure to be around. He was always fair in his dealings with people, both on and off the water. He had an incredible sense of humour - but then you needed that when sailing with Linda, who would tease him unmercifully about his sailing skills.
The last time I sailed with him was on his Tempest, which he called Grasshopper, on December 20th 1972. It was one of those unforgettable and magical days that most people only hear about. We were out for just over 2 hours in exceptionally warm weather on that late December day, and we enjoyed a memorable, exhilarating ride back to the club dock in 10 to 12 knots of air, flying the chute all way up the creek. He loved that boat, and regularly trailered it to the Pumpkin Regatta on Lake Fanshawe, which was also a favorite Wayfarer event.
John and Dolores fondly remember the 'post sailing' antics with Darrell, from grilling monster steaks at McNutts at Trout Lake, to joining Darrell, Sherrie and the two boys camping in their Westfalia at Higgins Lake in Michigan. Darrell often warmly welcomed visiting Wayfarer families to stay at their Hamilton home. After his Wayfarer days, Darrell bought a Shark, which he fleet- and club-raced out of Royal Hamilton Yacht Club for many years. Darrell will be greatly missed by all!
Written by Alf Easy, with input from - John DeBoer and Linda Sweet
in the glory days of the North Bay Wayfarer Weekend
1969: the Canadian Nationals on Trout Lake: Redwing at the bottom of the hill
Early 80s: Darrell was among the first to record our activities on video.
down at the water's edge
Always helpful was our Darrell.
Home away from home
Darrell in deep discussion with the late Brian McCleery (W828)
at the 1983 Wayfarer Worlds in England
the Solent: a rare light-air moment at the very warm 1983 Worlds
(l to r) Geoff Hodshon, Russ Burrell, Darrell Hicks
Darrell swaps sailing tales with Swedish Wayfarer, Karl Löhr