As HTBS wrote on 16 December, wooden boat enthusiast Darryl Strickler passed away on 12 October 2015. Many tributes have been heard all over the world about Strickler and here is another one from his friend Graham Bright, who calls himself a proud wooden scull owner, in Australia.
I was at the Mosman Rowing Club shed in Sydney one morning, looking at an old boat, and Nick Garrett, who is a coach at the Mosman Club, told me that it belonged to a guy from USA who collected wooden sculls. Nick gave me the contact number and so began a great friendship with Darryl that lasted over the years.
I shared his love for all things wooden and I became the eyes and ears for Darryl in Australia, discussing, inspecting and arranging collection of boats for him. When he was in Australia on business, we rowed on a lake near Manly, close to Sydney City. He brought plans from USA for a local boat builder to build a beautiful lightweight canoe and a recreation scull, which we both paddled on the lake and also on Sydney Harbour near the Manly Ferry Wharf where he stored the boat in the old rowing and sailing club sheds.
I remember one morning at breakfast, after an early row, I asked Darryl how many sculls he usually had at one time and he replied about 100. The only response that I could think of at the time was “Well, there is nothing wrong with compulsive and obsessive is there?”
He simply said “No”, and we both broke up laughing. Darryl was always willing to offer advice to all who sought it from him. He pursued his sport which extended to his passionate hobby of preserving old sculls and oars, and always said that he had a great row that morning, which was a daily event for him, as he chased the sun from boathouse to boathouse.
Darryl’s book Rowable Classics is a lasting tribute to him, and his untiring work compiling information on boat builders around the world and their boats is unparalleled – one of which is mine, built in Australia by Sargent & Burton.
Darryl was a great guy – I think we could call him a legend. We wish you all the best Darryl, and we will row wood with you again one day.