Classic Boat

Tell Tales


John ‘Woody’ Wooderson

11 April 1937 – 4 January 2020

Woody meant so much to so many people. To me, he was the tactician/navigator on Cambria, old school and thoroughly reliable – no fancy electronics, just well prepared with chart, pencil and binoculars in hand. Conversations between captain Chris Barkham and Woody went like this: Woody would mumble: "Chris?" Answer: "Yeah." Woody: "Yes." Chris: "Yeah yeah, no worries; tacking!"

In between there was the 'Woody wittering' – endless stories filled with sense, and the all-important nonsense. Whether what he said mattered or didn’t, there was always something about the way he spoke that made it worth listening to – the sheer joy of listening to his voice.

Woody raced with the best of the best: top-tier Flying Dutchman in the Sixties; Admirals Cup; Transat; Fastnet; mighty schooners , and ; and of course International 15-M . For decades he was on the sailing world’s 'most wanted list' – everyone knew that going out to sea with Woody meant you stood a better chance, that you would never be lost, not for position, not for stories, not for laughs, not for the finest of company. Try

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