Tribute to Phyllis

Phyllis Mackay pictured at a Halloween party with MLJ in Lanzarote

I met Phyllis Mackay in Gibraltar when "Boot" the Blue Waters Rally administrator approached me for a berth to Lanzarote. She then introduced us, and we got on immediately. Phyllis checked out of her hotel and moved aboard "Amber Sea" that afternoon.We had a lot of fun in Gib, and when the whole rally went to Morocco for a weekend she showed what a serious sailor she was, trimming the sails from my sloppy 'cruising set', and increasing boat speed by nearly two knots.

Phyllis was a very successful consultant in the retail furniture business in the USA, dramatically increasing turnover and margin for her clients. She invested in rental properties, and when she had enough income gave up working and joined Bob (also killed on Quest) on a 32 foot J yacht in Panama in 2007, with Blue Water Rallies and sailed all the way to the finish in Crete, in 2009.
She then went home and cleaned up her property portfolio, and returned to Gib., to join the 2009 Rally.

On the way to Lanzarote, the rest of my crew and I quickly decided we wanted Phyllis on board for the trans-Atlantic, and she was delighted to join us.

Phyllis was a fabulous crew-mate, positive, supportive, with a wonderful sense of humour. She oiled the wheels whenever we guys fell out (often). She joined as cook, and was a very good one, but insisted in standing her watches as well.
In Antigua she moved to another yacht that was going on with the rally, and that was the last time I saw her. She and Bob joined Quest in Cochin for the trip to Oman to help out the husband and wife team, through this most stressful leg.

She and I were in regular email contact, and she was working her schedule to join me again this year for my return to the UK by the northern route.

To sum up, a lovely person and a great crew member, she brought sunshine and laughter into the lives of everyone she met. She had an amazing ability to communicate with everyone she met, across language and cultural barriers.

She was especially gifted with children, my fondest memory is of the fantastic Halloween party she organised in the marina in Lanzarote, getting the children excited and positive, and even getting all the up-tight brits to join in a fabulous fancy dress party. An incredibly memorable evening.

Phyllis leaves her mother and sister, she never married alleging she did not want to surrender her library ticket to buy a book!

An amazing, vital, kind, and truly fun person. Only 48 years old, she is a great loss to all who knew her.

Malcolm Lewis-Jones, 24.02.2011 | More from Malcolm Lewis-Jones’s blog