Eight Bells: Warren Oldroyd

Published on February 29th, 2020

Warren Oldroyd

Warren Oldroyd, a stalwart salesman for Ullman Sails South Africa, passed away recently after a very brief and brave fight with cancer. In an industry full of people eager to tell you how great they are, Warren preferred to quietly show you how great he was through his actions.

“We sailed together on a series of extremely high-tech boats that rewarded indecision or a misstep with loud and chaotic (and usually dangerous) high-speed confusion,” shared Marlow U.S. Manager Forrest Williams. “When this happened, I would reflexively yell one word above the clatter – “WARREN!”- and, before the word was fully out of my mouth, he’d be running past my trimming pit, like the cavalry, and would calmly utter one word: “Sorted.” And that was that.

“A superb sailor and veteran sailmaker with Ullman Sails South Africa, Warren had that thing that the really good guys have – the ability to look at a level five meltdown and instantly know how to take control of the situation and summarize the plan in about eight words – so everyone understands it – then to keep everyone cool and lead the recovery effort.

“You were never off the rails for very long with Warren around, and you were always smarter when you returned to the slip then you were when you docked out. His dry wit, charming manner, and sense of humor made him a true pleasure to be around, and catching up with Warren for a drink and dinner every now and then (not enough these last few years), at Jimbo’s in Simpson Bay or at the Bascule in his home of Cape Town, was a pleasure I (selfishly) will miss greatly.

“I am a better sailor and a better person for having known him. I struggle to comprehend the fact that three of our teammates from those heady Caribbean circuit days are gone, and can only hope that Warren is enjoying a Mount Gay and Ting with them, and that by the time the rest of us get there, he’ll have them well ‘sorted’. Fair winds and following seas my friend.”

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