Eight Bells: Mike Perkins

Published on September 13th, 2015

A dear old sailing mate died recently and I think I’ve recovered enough to say a thing or two and alert” Scuttlers” that didn’t know of his check in at the “sky bar” and that the other end of his candle gave out to be yet another cancer battle victim (note to self: quit smoking).

Mike is now exchanging many a sea story, likely with some embellishment, with what now seems a slew of sailing compadres who have left us, namely George Chew -Mistress Quickly, Paul Fitzgerald -Rebecca, Paul Gardiner -Whitehawk, John Whitney, Whale, Tim Woodhouse and my brother “Bug” ( a good while ago) to name a few. That little gang would have more than a million sea miles under their belts combined, and stories to match.

Mike wasn’t not a big racing sailor but certainly did a fair bit, a guy who loved every minute he spent on the water, a great seaman, skipper, and an excellent navigator. A close friend of Mike’s and myself, Tom Corness and I have been trying to work out how the hell he crammed so much into his life. Graduating college at 19, a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, a stint on Wall Street, buying a boat in Holland sailing it down to the Med, running, racing Zanadu, a Bill Tripp, and running Blackfin in the Philippines, all prior to meeting him in 1975!

This loud, laughing, and larger than life American at a bar in Palma, Mallorca rather took me and our small delivery crew of Brits a bit off guard, but we became fast friends. He was going to the UK to take over an Ocean 75 Sequila with my old boss of Stiarna days.

Well, we went on to spend the next 40 years, sporadically sailing thousands of miles together, mostly on Huaso, deliveries, SORC, etc, not to mention all that goes with the job… such as decimating many a bar or town, plus many brain cells from Antibes to Antigua and all ports in between.

Mike ran and delivered many boats, always making his destinations, dicing with storms, hurricanes and pirates in the Far East, and multiple Police forces. I’m guessing well over 200,000 sea miles, boats like Peregrina, Seabird, Victoria, Daphne Girl(s)and Legend. That and a couple of marriages that made his life and company something to treasured. All us old geezers that knew him well were aware that a day or an evening with Mike was not going to be “ a quiet one”!

In the mid-eighties he married “Sunny” and made moves to a more shore-based life, mainly in Florida, having son Conner and developed an incredible knack as a salesman. He went on to buy and run a Miami sports bar and later taking Quantum Marine Engineering’s stabilizers to a new level in sales. He and Sunny had a house in Italy while with Quantum and recently had a little place in Newport (RI) where he’d race 6 Meters with me. Had I only known the quality of that time!

Quite a life of success, energy, occasional brilliance and just the charge he would put into the air around him! His circles of sailing and business mates and contacts would fill a small phone book. For all of us who sailed in the seventies, eighties, and nineties, plying a few oceans, delivered to regattas, we lost a good one in Mike. – Joe Loughborough

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