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Eight Bells: Legendary Bluewater Sailor Larry Pardey Passes Away

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Celebrated bluewater sailor and author Larry Pardey has died. He was 81.

The Canadian-born Pardey and his wife Lin garnered fame after they built a 24-foot Lyle Hess sailboat and sailed it around the world while writing about their experiences. They spent a good chunk of their adult lives sailing the globe in both directions, logging more than 200,000 miles and becoming celebrities in the cruising community.

After 11 years, they built a larger Lyle Hess sailboat and continued their travels. Neither boat had an engine. They eventually made their base on Kawau Island off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

In recent years, Pardey suffered from Parkinson’s and Parkinsonian dementia. He had been confined to a rest home in New Zealand since suffering a stroke last year. Yesterday, his wife Lin announced his passing on her Facebook page:

A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with Mike Anderson,” Lin says. “Anderson once asked Larry for a hand on a boat restoration project. I asked him, ‘When you think of Larry, what is the first thing that comes to mind?’ He didn’t hesitate,” she adds. Anderson replied, “It was the answer he gave when I tried to thank him for his help: “We were put on this earth to help each other.””

According to Lin, Larry died peacefully at a rest home where he had been for the past year after suffering a major stroke. “He is now at peace after several years of suffering from Parkinson’s and Parkinsonian dementia,” Lin says. “His memory will always be with me not only because he was a wonderful partner, lover and husband but also because, if anyone can be said to have gained the most from the generous help he was always ready to offer, it was me.”

With Covid-19 preventing international travel, Larry will be cremated tomorrow after a quiet ceremony. A celebration of his life will bring as many of his friends together as possible at the end of October.

Should you like to help keep his memory alive, you can make a small donation to help maintain and expand the Larry Pardey Memorial Observatory at the children’s camp here at Kawau Island.

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