Bobby Grieser: The final tour

Published on April 13th, 2020

There remains a tier of yachting photographer that chase the sun and sailing competitions, once delivering imagery during a time of film to fill magazine pages. Well before digital, well before the internet, they were our conduit to the stories of our sport.

Bobby Grieser was in that tier, and when he died at 70 years on January 31, the media world lost a valued colleague. His good friend Herb McCormick shares this report for Cruising World:

To be perfectly honest, it took a long minute for the skipper of the 40-foot catamaran Too Rhum Too to fully grasp what I was getting at. Capt. Mario was the handsome 22-year-old son of a friend of mine in St. Maarten, Petro Jonker, and purportedly the youngest pro skipper of a “head boat” like Too Rhum Too in the Caribbean.

I don’t generally find myself on “touristy” boats in vacation meccas, but I was on the island on a different assignment, and Petro, who owns a day-charter business, was kind enough to sport my girlfriend, Sasha, and me to a fun day of sailing and snorkeling. (And Too Rhum Too was certainly seaworthy enough; bloody Petro had sailed the fundamentally stripped-out daysailer from its birthplace in South Africa to St. Maarten.)

Plus, I was on an ancillary mission. I planned to cast the ashes of my longtime running mate, yachting photographer Bobby Grieser—aka Bobby G—into the sea. I’d conveniently forgotten to mention that to Petro, but there was no way around it with his lad.

Bobby’s saintly widow, Georgia, had mailed me the package of Bobby’s remains in a hollowed-out book with a nautical jacket that made me laugh: It was The Book of Bobby. This was not the first time I’d been entrusted with this task, having already spread a portion of my fond old pal in the waters off my hometown in Newport, Rhode Island.

Bobby had been a citizen of the world and, fittingly, he was now spread all over it. In other places, by other people, his ashes had been committed to the deep in his own home waters of Chesapeake Bay, in his adopted home in San Diego, in Europe, in New Zealand…. The boy was basically everywhere, in all his favorite spots, just like he’d been in his more animated incarnation.

In any event, when we shoved off from Philipsburg that morning, I knew what I was going to do. The question was, where? Full report.

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