Eight Bells: Don Anderson

The Pacific cruising community mourns the passing of radio-net weather guru Don Anderson.

Don Anderson

Courtesy of Summer Passage

The West Coast sailing community was dealt another blow on Saturday when Don Anderson was discovered dead aboard his Valiant 47 Summer Passage in Oxnard. "Don was known as the weatherman on so many radio nets throughout Mexico and the Pacific," writes Jim Barden of the Santa Rosalia, Mexico-based Morgan Out Island 28 Ann Marie. "His body was found by fellow yacht club members on Saturday but may have died days before, as he hadn't been heard from for a week. The cause of death is unknown at this time.

"Don's wife passed away a month ago and the grief this caused him was noticeable. His reports were sporadic and short, not at all like the weather reports he'd provided before. I think the years of Don's weather on the sideband and ham nets should be called 'The Decade of Don', for that was about the time span he provided his weather predictions for the many who depended on his reports.

"I was very lucky to be a part of the original Amigo net in 2001. It was there Don discovered his need to provide weather for cruisers. It became much bigger than he ever imagined, covering the sailing routes not only within Mexico, but to the South Pacific and Hawaii, as well as the Baja Bash back to the States. Don had a land-based station, and from his office at the back of his house, he broadcast using a specially-erected tower that utilized a galvanized fence as its ground. Don's neighbors fought to have his antenna removed until the City of Oxnard honored him with an award for his civic participation.

"Many cruisers didn't plan their sailing agenda until they heard Don's weather for their region. I for one appreciated hearing his side information on how weather systems formed and what one would expect if certain situations were to occur. He could be a bit intimidating, but no matter what you can say about Don Anderson, we can all agree he was very knowledgeable and very precise in his predictions for weather throughout frequently sailed areas. He will be missed."

Longtime Mexico cruiser Chuck Houlihan adds, "An email address has been setup for those who wish to send a note to Don's family. It would mean a lot to his family to hear how much he meant to the cruisers he helped throughout the years."

And Bill Knutson notes that a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on April 27 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Ventura. "Don was not only a great friend to cruisers, he was a stalwart churchman who gave St. Paul's and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles countless hours of generous and energetic service. His 'brothers' there are preparing a tri-tip barbecue in his honor that will follow the service."

Courtesy of Latitude 38/ 'Lectronic Latitude