Op Drake Anniversary
Tiger's letter, read at Fred Saunders funeral 2017
Fred first sailed aboard Eye of the Wind in 1981 through the western isles of Scotland and later that year from Tenerife to Panama.
His generosity was evident from the beginning, as he then bequeathed the ship an original brass diver's helmet, that was to sail with us for the next 18 years. Everyone who came aboard got to know 'Fred' - as we referred to this treasure - as his head was polished religiously every week, and I am sure his helmet was touched for luck a few times by voyagers when the conditions were rough.
In 1992 Fred re-appeared in our lives at Lisbon, when we were involved in the Columbus 500 year regatta. He sailed with us on many occasions, but his skills extended far beyond sailing. He and Sue took on the responsibility of running the office from the newspaper premises at Crediton. He was a skilled engineer, problem solver, negotiator, organizer, healer, and above all, a true friend and mentor to our crew and many of the voyagers that came to know him.
His Escort van (with the scheduled stop offs at the Little Chef) travelled the motorway innumerable times on his way to dry docks for our maintenance and survey slippings. He was a master at dealing with people and bureaucracy, and on many occasions was able to negotiate with surveyors so that common sense prevailed. He helped us through many difficult situations.
Fred pushed life to the extreme both above and below the water. Some would have called him a "crazy diamond" but to us he was always a knight in white satin.
We were privileged to have known him, and benefit from his amazing attitude to life and generosity of spirit. Men of his caliber are not often found.
I know we speak on behalf of all those who sailed aboard Eye of the Wind. He touched many lives. Rest in Peace old shipmate.