Maldwin Drummond OBE

Maldwin Drummond. Copyright Little Knoll Bookshop acknowledgedMaldwin Drummond died peacefully in Southampton on 18th February 2017 aged 84. Richard Titchener recalls a personal memory.

I first met Maldwin Drummond at HMS President at an AGM of the Association of Yachting Historians. He was Chairman and the Association was gathering momentum on his watch. He kindly consented to help us with our appeal for funds towards our new sailing barge and shortly afterwards was instrumental in obtaining a grant from Fishmongers Hall, where he had been Master some time before. He also helped us with some other approaches and as ever was a tower of strength at an early stage in what was a very challenging appeal for a small charity.

I remember bending his ear about the Cutty Sark as he had stepped in to help get the project back on track for the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. Understandably the project had become a little defensive at that stage after the fire and seemingly endless criticism of the plan to suspend the hull and create an entertainment space beneath. As the project moved to the right the cost went stratospheric. A number of us traditional boat sailors from Essex had supported Charles Harker when he raced his own easting down in the form of cancer to try to get her sailing again for the nation. This did not go down well with everyone and became pretty controversial. With hindsight a replica would be the way ahead and would cost less I reckon, but we do seem unlikely to get it together. Perhaps we can spend some of the Brexit dividend on it.

The fire had put paid to many of the rather more, shall we say eccentric ideas, like turning rust back to metal through alchemy and Maldwin had picked up the project and was running with it. When confronted by a suspension denier he did not withdraw to a safe distance but immediately invited a posse of Essex wood butchers to visit and see the ship for ourselves. It was an honour to be able to sit on the deck at the stern and have an uninterrupted view along the sheer. The planking was elsewhere and only the framework remained. You could see the amazing shape laid bare and imagine her, a big dinghy built for speed and seakindliness, shouldering aside the seas, alive in flung spume and spray. This willingness to show us the ship was Maldwin all over. I came to the conclusion this was someone very special, confident in himself and his ability to deliver and willing to be open and honest in every respect, even seeking the views of people who might not agree with him.

The ship came back together in time and the rest is history, but I shall never forget that afternoon in Greenwich.

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