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A Sailor’s Courage
Written by Administrator    Monday, 23 July 2012 11:45    PDF Print E-mail
Born in Melbourne in 1953, Gary Baguley began his life-long love affair with water sports at the age of six upon joining his local swimming club. At the time, this was recommended by his doctor to help control his asthma, so the scene was set and the fuse was lit.
During his childhood, family holidays at the beach were common place, however at the age of eight, he obtained a Sabot dinghy in need of restoration (similar to today's popular Optimist fleet), which would become the first of many yachting projects through out his career. Upon completion of this "back yard" A Sailor's Courage Gary Baguely: renovation, the Sabot became the focal point of his sailing for the following two years together with his younger brother and family friends.
Gary's family built their own holiday home on the coast at around this time, and at the age of 10, his father purchased a Mirror dinghy which was sailed almost every weekend at the holiday home with a number of friends from the local swimming club. At the age of 13, the family upgraded from the Mirror to a Moth, which incidentally would later be developed into the rather radical hydrofoil version still seen racing today. The Moth would become Gary's first racing boat when he joined the local sailing club at the age of 16 and began to compete. The Moth was short-lived in his racing scene and was swiftly replaced by a Dehavilland Corsair, a 3-man dinghy which became the main focus for the following two years.
At the age of 18, Gary's father entered the Laser dinghy scene, however, Gary and his brother obtained a Cherub, which is a twoman skiff type rig. This would last for around year until he went to university at the age of 19, resulting in a temporary break in sailing with the exception of some occasional crewing on larger keel boats.
Upon graduation, aged 23, Gary reentered the sailing scene on a 14' skiff together with his brother-in-law. In the same year, Gary married, and a year later the couple had their first son, Gavin. While all this was going on, he was recruited by "Fosters" in Melbourne as an engineer which would become his job for the following 10 years.
Gary started to crew on Bacardi which was a Cole 43. At the age of 24, Gary took part in the first Sydney to Hobart race in 1977. Subsequently, together with the owner/skipper John Gould, he undertook the building of a new Bacardi, which was a
Peterson 43 design, to try and qualify for the Admirals Cup. During this time, Gary's second son Adrian was born (he is now one of the directors of Blue Seas Marine). Bacardi was not ready in time for the 1978 Sydney Hobart, however in early 1979, the boat competed in the Inaugural "Round the island race" in Tasmania. In the 1979 trials for the Admirals Cup, Bacardi came 4th, however only the first three would qualify. Later that year, Bacardi reentered the 1979 Sydney Hobart and finished in second place.
Tragedy struck at the age of 28 when Gary was diagnosed with testicular cancer which was the same year as the birth of his daughter Jacquelyn. Not unlike the famous cyclist, Lance Armstrong, this didn't keep Gary down for long. Following 11 months of treatment and operations, he joined a local kayaking club to re-build upper body strength and as no surprise to his close friends, a year later at the age of 29 he competed in the 1982 Murray Marathon, which is a five-day, 400km single-handed kayak race. He also returned to work.
At age 30 with his 2 sons (Gavin 7, Adrian 5), and his daughter Jacquelyn aged 2, he re-joined the Safety Beach Yacht Club sailing smaller boats and bought 2 "North Bridge Jnrs" and a NS14. For the following 2 years, Gary would not only teach his children how to sail but be the Junior Sailing Coach for the club as well.
At the age of 33, Gary, his wife and the three children all moved to Penang, Malaysia, to follow a new career opportunity with Ansell establishing new production facilities. This ended sadly in separation with his wife and family returning to Australia two years later while Gary remained in Malaysia.
Windsurfing then became a big part of Gary's life and would remain so for some years to come. In addition to the windsurfing (as well as his work), Gary took over the Penang Swimming Club's Sailing Section where he managed the club and led the club to all major events.
At the age of 38, Gary re-located to Thailand with his same company and together with his recently married second wife. The windsurfing continued for the following two years before his sailing career would take another tack at the age of 40.
In 1993, Gary joined the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Jomtien. The boats of choice at this location at the time were the Hobie 16s and Nacras, of which he began importing the occasional one or two from Australia for friends and club members. Three years later, Gary established his own company in Thailand called Blue Wave Water Sports together with a partner primarily to import Nacras, then switching to hobie cats three years later. Incidentally, there was a new addition to Thailand's sailing fleet with the arrival of 28 Platus to the Pranburi Marina (near Hua Hin), which he visited every two months. Although now smaller in numbers, this fleet has re-located primarily to Ocean Marina, Jomtien.
On the corporate side, Gary Left Ansell in 2001 aged 48 to focus on engineering consultancy which would continue for the following six years until in 2007 he decided to devote all of his working time to Blue Wave Water Sports. The following years saw the growth of Blue Wave from an importer of beach cats to a wider scope of activities including a fleet of five charter boats namely Hunters, Sea Wind Cats, a Beneteau 32, Fun 24 and a Platu. The charter boat strategy however took a turn in March 2008 with the acquisition of El Coyote focusing more on corporate team building events as well as training. El Coyote is a 53' Holman & Pye design sloop rig providing sufficient space and accommodation for large charter groups, and it can actively compete in the monthly races organized by Ocean Marina Sailing.
July 2009 saw the split of Blue Wave
Looking back on the cancer scare, Gary recalls, "I was very lucky that I was very fit and new test drugs were available to try out on me. The new chemo drugs were very aggressive and a lot less refined and harsher than they are nowadays. I was clinically dead twice during operations for complications from the treatment but luckily they were able to revive me and I'm still here and active.
"I actually became a classic case study used in the oncology training and helped with the research and development of more effective treatments that have resulted in this condition being a very treatable form of cancer nowadays.
"Although not publicly known, I have also been active for many years in offering support to newly diagnosed cancer patients to help them build a positive attitude towards their treatment and remove the mental anguish that is always associated with the initial diagnosis. Just knowing someone personally who has been through the process and is still around and active 30 years after the event provides them with an important positive outlook."
Water Sports with the departure of Gary's partner. The company was re-branded BLUE SEAS MARINE (BSM) and is located at Ocean Marina. BSM has now become one of the leading companies in Thailand for yacht maintenance, rigging and spare parts on one side of the business, while on the other hand is now the leading distributor of hobie cats to the resort and recreational markets employing 15 people at two sites within the grounds of Ocean Marina.
Since being in Thailand, Gary has participated in all the Top of the Gulf and Samui Regattas as well as being a key player in the monthly club racing as a founder member of the "Ocean Marina Sailing Group". BSM is the official sponsor of the annual Koh Si Chang race, which is always a popular weekend for cruisers as well as racers, and the crew of El Coyote sponsors their own independent event once a year, the El Coyote Cup. Gary also played his part in initiating the inaugural Pattaya-Koh Chang non-stop over night race in 2010. El Coyote won both times so far.
For more information on Blue Seas Marine, you can check the web site at www.blueseas-marine.com, or visit the office's at Ocean Marina.