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News / Pete Bond (Bondy)

Pete Bond (Bondy) passed away in mid-March after an extended period in hospital from November last year. He'd not long celebrated his 88th birthday. John Rhode went to his funeral, and below I have shared some of the information John has given me about Pete - there are some amusing stories!

Thanks to John Rohde for the following on Bondy …
 
Pete Bond, but everyone knew him as Bondy, was Severn Sailboats, the main outlet for Plycraft Fireballs - Plycraft being owned by David Miles. When David retired in 1980, Bondy took on reselling Rondar boats, and then with Severn Sailboats, started to build their own wooden and subsequently composite Fireballs and Solos, selling over 60 Plycraft / Severn Fireballs a year.
 
Bondy attended the 1st ever Fireball Nationals at HISC in 1963, with a boat built at home in his front room. (David Miles tied for first place at this event with Bob Fisher, a latterly well known journalist, but thought it wasn’t ethical for a professional boat builder to win!).
 
Transporting the boat to sail in the early days was nearly always on top of his Ford Anglia (not his yellow Morgan though 😊) because he could go faster than if he was towing. Many Fireballers will also remember Bondy rolling up to events in a silver Mini Metro or a red BMW 325 on two wheels .... with a Fireball on top and the mast strapped on the passenger side... well ... the mast only stuck out a bit ! 
 
Bondy was also the Fireball International Technical Officer for a couple of years (a post now held by Dave Hall)
 
Around 130 people (of which it’s reckoned a third were sailing friends) attended Bondy’s funeral church service, meaning it was standing room only in the church with another 30 standing in the porchway and on the pathway. There were representations from many clubs, including Draycote, Chelmarsh, Clywedog, Bartley and Datchet.
 
Bondy was a very affable, mad, crazy bloke, who ate, slept and enthusiastically breathed the Fireball message to all comers, sailing with his trademark yellow with blue strip kite. He had a great number of other interests from ranging from car racing, flying, football and cricket! He regularly got me into and out some scrapes both sailing and in cars...! 
 
There are so many memorable funny stories from sailing with him…
 
Pete was a windy weather demon, revelling in stupidly heavy weather, with me quite often crewing for him. One event sticks out: The Ullswater Birkett trophy… There were two races, both in biblical conditions. We raced 22 miles in under 84 mins; clear winners! You could count the number of finishers on two hands out of 150 starters! I can still see the rolling rain front consuming the following pack of boats and watching three International 14's snap their masts. We are running … the boat accelerated so hard that I fell off the centre thwart, flat on my back in the bottom of the boat. I’m now blind with the rain, Bondy screaming at me "Don’t Move and keep that kite flying!”. As if I could ...! 
 
Abersoch dinghy week was an annual pilgrimage, fabulous racing with as many as 50 boats! As the weather always had some light days and Kevlar core rope had arrived, Bondy announced that we would put some 3mm Kevlar spinni sheets on to reduce the sheet weight that dragged the spinnaker clew down, collapsing the spinnaker. The Kevlar rope outer casing was really rough, and as we were fitting them I asked Bondy, what happens if the wind got up? “Simple”, he said, chuckling away… “Don’t let the spinnaker flap... well if you do, well, it’s a small sheet, it will only make little holes, ... deep … but only little ones!” It certainly taught me to be attentive when the spinnaker was up!
 
Another great memory is sailing the rebuilt K124 at the Abersoch Europeans and finishing a couple races in the top ten, in spite of one race binning it when in 2nd.
 
My final story is involves driving along the lane into Chew Valley Sailing Club. Bondy, Alan "Robbo" Robinson, Gareth Taylor and I, post racing, popped over to Bristol to get a curry. We were racing back to the club for a beer. Robbo and Gareth, who were in the back of the metro, had been winding Bondy up all the way back, giving sound effects on how Robbo’s newly acquired Porche 912 sounded. Racing down the CVLSC lane (it’s really dark down there!), up and over the hill towards the club, Bondy’s silver Metro S was screaming like he was driving up Shelsey Walsh hill climb! Next thing we know, the reservoir is dead ahead... and the single track widens considerably and turns hard right with a large run off ...  I’m in the front and I’m certain I’m going to die or at least get very wet as the Metro slithered off the bend apron and....... into a culvert, just short of the reservoir...! A dozen blokes were then summoned from the bar and lifted the Metro out the culvert.
 
 Between the races on Sunday, spanners were borrowed to straighten the wheels to get the steering right so Bondy could drive home after coming 5th out a fleet of 60 - 70 ish boats...
 
We never did manage to thank all the guys who lifted Bondy’s Metro out of the culvert.

Cheers Bondy for almost 20 years of laughter and wild rides.

John Rohde

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