Eight Bells: Paul ‘Whale’ Weakley

Published on June 15th, 2015

Round-the-world sailor and yacht captain Paul Weakley, known throughout the industry simply as Whale, died Thursday, June 11 from complications related to cancer. He was 72.

“The international sailing community has lost another great one,” shared Captain Don Anderson. “A competitor in just about every major sailing race in the world, he had friends everywhere. I first met Whale in the mid 70’s during the SORC days.

“Back then, few people got paid for sailing so all the boat workers would hang out together between races and find all sorts of entertainment to keep them occupied. Whale would be down from Canada and I was coming in from California (as he called it the left coast where the tree huggers lived), but we formed a friendship that lasted through the ages.

“Anybody that did the SORC in those days will remember the famous trashcan parties at Miamarina, the blue Jeep, and other escapades that bonded everyone together. We have Whale to thank for these memories and friendships that have lasted the test of time.

“Whale had a heart bigger than a whale. He was a true friend that if you needed help, he was your “go to guy.” He would drop everything and help solve any problem. He had a gift for that and I was proud to be one of his oldest friends.”

Whale was born in Canada, educated at Mankato State in Minnesota and lived in Ft. Lauderdale. He died in his home, where his brother had been overseeing his care. A memorial service is being planned, both soon and again in the fall when many yacht crew will return to the region. – The Triton

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