Winning by the people we meet

Published on November 15th, 2018

Upon his induction to the National Sailing Hall of Fame, Vince Brun (Class of 2018) remarked about the many wonderful people he had met through sailing, and beyond his achievements in competition, these relationships were of significant value.

Philip Crebbin (GBR) could relate to this. When he learned about the death of Stuart Walker, (Class of 2013), his memory of Stuart went beyond the race course and his writings, and to an occasion when the gentleman and physician came to the rescue. Here’s Philip’s story:


About 30 years ago now, my wife and I were traveling for a few days on the east side of the US, nothing to do with sailing, and had come down to the Annapolis area from New York. My wife happened to eat a takeaway meal where something must have been bad as she came down fairly quickly with really bad stomach pains.

These gradually got worse and it became clear that we needed to get some medical help. I realized that it was an incredible coincidence that we were fairly close to where Stuart and Francis Walker lived. I knew him quite well from doing a lot of Soling events that he had also competed in some years previously, as back then he frequently came over to Europe for regattas. But time flies by and I had not seen him for a few years.

I managed to track him down and call him, wondering whether he would even remember me, but of course he did and he immediately invited us to come over to his house. This proved to be a real godsend as my wife was in quite a bad state by then, and otherwise we would have had to rush off to a hospital emergency – not something one likes to do when just visiting the US, with all the implications.

Francis immediately put her to bed and Stuart started applying his medical magic. It took quite a while, especially as by then she was already quite weak, but he succeeded in bringing her back to health and strength over the course of about three days.

There was just never a question that he was happy to provide the hospitality (along with Francis, of course) and that he was the one to take charge of seeing my wife through from what he actually confirmed was potentially quite serious food poisoning in the beginning. He said that it was anyway better not to move her again straight away, and he was happy that with a bit of time, he could do everything necessary at his home base.

So fortunately we were soon able to thank them and take our leave, but it is a long-lasting memory. In fact, I have to say that this was one of those special experiences in the whole of life, and it is an absolute testament to Stuart Walker, the gentleman, and also his excellent doctoring skills of course, along with his lovely wife Francis!

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