Tribute to Ian Farrier

posted Jan 6, 2018, 12:22 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated Jan 6, 2018, 5:49 PM ]
Ian Farrier died suddenly Dec, 8, 2017 in San Francisco.  He was 70 years old and will be missed by everyone in the Farrier trimaran sailing community.  Here is a tribute given at is memorial in New Zealand by long time friend and business associate Peter Hackett. Reprinted by permission of the author, Peter Hackett

It has been a tough time for all, I will provide what I can without stepping on the toes of the NZ crew.

The funeral was one of the most difficult I have been to, I did not quite realize how close I was to the man until it was too late to tell him. I don't mind now admitting I choked a couple of times. From the wonderful international readings I was able to add at the funeral and provide to the family, I think many of you felt the same. To all of us out there hungry for the best way to rebuild a mast base, or the best method to patch up that plywood rot in a 35 year boat, he simply gave us his all.

The upbeat part of the service was provided by his mates and especially the foil maestro of Oracle etc, Neil Wilkinson. Neil and Ian went to school out the back of the funeral grounds where I took that picture of the latest boat with flag half mast. It seems that they were a little wild in a nerdy way while at school making rockets that went in crazy directions, rebuilding cars including dropping a big engine in Ian's mother's Austin A40 to try and win the midweek races (which they never did). Ian even got into an argument with his Physics teacher who told the class that the largest coefficient of dynamic friction of a car could only be 1.0. Our mate thought about this all night before picking up the argument with the teacher trying to convince him that in the right conditions it could go well above that. We all know who was right, as usual. Ian and Neil even dropped out of uni at the same time, and Ian actually picked up a lot of his assembly line skills working longer and longer shifts at a tooling factory.

The rest of the story has sometimes made it to the pages here, where we know Ian got an old trimaran which had been extended in length but with no safety in the sheer line, so he had to rebuild that before taking on those big kiwi waves in 1970. He also spent time in a ferro-cement monohull in bigger waves, and we can understand now how motivated he was to find a better way. 

The nice part of my trip over the ditch before xmas was to meet the latest team of about 10 blokes and a cool young lady working in the factory. They are understandably gutted, but I am pleased to say they are really motivated to keep following his lead. The work I saw them doing on the assembly line, the numbered parts in an ordered procession around the factory floor, and the burble of work going on after morning coffee excited me, and would have made the boss proud. I mentioned the young lady because like many she is a sailor. With a twinkle in her eye, she asked me how hard I thought we could push the 22 in big winds and waves. I reckon the boss picked her.

The GM taken on by Ian to run the factory a year ago is Rob Densem, and he is under no illusions about the challenge he faces. I can assure you he has the smarts to follow this through for a long time, and his experience simply building his own F22 should stand him in good stead as well as all his high level managerial and marketing time under the belt. Rob assures me that the business is in great shape financially, and I know Ian's son Michael, the accountant in Texas, has had a firm hand on the wheel.

You are probably sick of hearing me rave about how nearly perfect my first F22 "Boom!" was, so you will be be pleased to know that when I crawled over and inside boat #16 (heading to US) I found that the boss had indeed lifted the bar even further. With mouldings that the car industry would be proud of, I just sat inside with a lump in my throat and started planning "KaBoom!". I also have to admit to the owner that they had to pry my hands off the latest carbon mast for these boats. Absolute spar-porn.   

The lack of email answers from Farrier Marine are partly due to the factory closing for their holiday break and exacerbated by the fact that the boss did a good job of securing his server passwords! I am sure the technical stuff will get sorted in coming weeks, we just need to be patient and stick together. 

Peter Hackett
FM Aus