A Tribute

The place to discuss SCAMP (Small Craft Advisor Magazine Project), our 11' 11" micro minicruiser.

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A Tribute

Post by pocketyacht »


I wanted to take a moment to inform the SCAMP community of sailors about an incident that transpired during the just concluded SCAMP Skills Weekend—the passing of Steve Halpin.

Steve was a fellow SCAMP builder and sailor who was at the end of his life with stage 4 cancer and requested to attend the Skills Weekend. I would like to commend Steve and his wife Beth for their courage to ask for help and for their courage to bring dignity into Steve’s last hours.

Steve Halpin was a kind soul, a violin-maker, a quiet friend and a man who chose to build a boat as a way to fulfill a final life’s dream.

Just over a year ago, as the build instructors, we realized Steve was in a battle, and so amped up our attention and assistance during the Camp. It’s now known that building his boat gave Steve a reason to press on in spite of being told there was no hope. Building became his lifeline.

About a month ago Beth contacted me and humbly asked if she and Steve could come to the Skills Weekend. I agreed and set up for them to attend not as registered participants, but as friends. I also set in motion a plan to bring aboard extra help to enable Steve to fulfill the last part of his wish—to sail his new boat before passing on.

Steve was released from hospice care in Montana to Beth who wanted to help him fulfill his wish to sail, not just anywhere but in Port Townsend where he had begun his build. In a whispering voice he expressed his dread of how his last days might play out in a sterile hospital room. His courage spoke to me loud and clear.

On Sunday, Steve’s weakened condition conspired with events that led to his passing away aboard his boat. SCAMP performed as designed.

For Steve there is a release from pain, and hopefully peace. For Beth there is also peace after a four-year battle at her husband’s side. She goes on, and will proudly sail the SCAMP they built as part of our growing community. As a group we were able to see the joy on Steve's face as he sailed the boat he’d built and come to love. On Saturday I had the honor of being aboard with him and another very competent sailor in the group. His joy was palpable.

No matter what is heard, speculated, or said about my decision to help Steve, I stand by my actions. Friendship and compassion can be measured in so many different ways.

I also stand by my attempt to so desperately breathe life back into his failed body. Steve was at the end of his life and had a do-not-resuscitate order, but still I had to try as it is my personal ethic and therefore duty to do all I can. I continued until Beth asked me to stop, just as the paramedics stepped by my side. They did not engage in CPR.

Steve came to us locked in a battle with cancer and I recognize this but cannot yet accept his being gone or find my own peace after the passing of a friend. I can only focus on his bravery and the fact his dream was fulfilled. Time will have to go by.

SCAMP performed as she should. The boats in the fleet sailed out and returned without assistance. Apparently the weekend was very successful from a skills-training standpoint. At least I hope this was the case as I gave everything I had to it.

I wish to commend all of the participants in the Skills Weekend for the warmth, comradeship and understanding they exhibited as they embraced Steve and Beth as equal friends. I have no words to explain this fine group of people, all SCAMP sailors. I cannot explain their light heartedness, respect, thoughtfulness, compassion and humanity.

Let us rejoice in our precious time together and sail on in Steve's memory.

Fair winds to all,
Howard Rice
Last edited by pocketyacht on Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Tribute

Post by dsimonson »

Thank you, Howard, for your kind words on behalf of Steve Halpin, and your compassionate regard for a member of our clan and family. I'm sorry I didn't get to meet or sail with Steve, our days are indeed too short. Beth, our sincere condolence on your loss,

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Re: A Tribute

Post by mrogers »

I remember Steve and Beth from Scamp Camp 3 build. They were both a presence that I will not forget. With terrible sadness I combed the camp3 thread for pictures of them alas only fleeting glimpses. I am so glad that Steve got to check out “with his boots on” in a boat that was so important to him.
Beth my deepest sympathy for your loss and I admire your courage in the struggle that I can only imagine.
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Re: A Tribute

Post by Steve »

A fine tribute in the doing and in the writing, Howard. We have lost a kinsman, but gained inspiration. Peace to Beth and Steve, and to you, Howard.

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Re: A Tribute

Post by Bchrovers »

I did not have the fortune of meeting Steve, but am still saddened at the loss of one of our SCAMP community members. It is somewhat comforting that he was able to obtain his last wish of sailing his boat. I have to admit, if I were facing certain death, I can't think of a better way to go than sailing on the boat I had just built. I admire everyone's courage and effort to make Steve's last wish a reality. My deepest sympathies to Beth.

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Re: A Tribute

Post by kenjamin »

Thanks Howard for the full story. I'm really glad that Steve got the chance to go sailing on his boat. Sure was a lot better way to wind up a lifetime than lying around in a hospital bed. Also warmed my heart to hear he had such a faithful understanding wife and friends like you to make it happen. My sympathies go out to Beth. Even when you know it's coming, it's still very difficult to say goodbye.
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Re: A Tribute

Post by Tim »

Admiration and sympathy for all.

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Re: A Tribute

Post by miguelito »

This is a very fitting tribute. I knew Steve for only two days, and was very impressed with his tenacity given his very fragile health. He was gleeful when he set out in his boat with Beth, and he was at peace when he was returned to the dock in a Scamp, and no more fitting end could have come for a man's adventure. You lead our group through a difficult day, and we all will remember the honor of attending Steve's final hours. Beth, there is a lot of healing energy directed your way, and I hope to see the rainbow scamp again this August.
Fair winds,
Mike #170
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Post by Dick Herman »

Perhaps Alfred, Lord Tennyson said it best.

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
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Re: A Tribute

Post by pocketyacht »

Beth and I are staying in contact and I would like to report that she is back home now and is doing well. She is a very strong person who I greatly admire. The messages she reads here from fellow SCAMP sailors are very important to her.

Beth has asked me to post the following words from her and a photograph of their boat as she is unsure of how to do it.

Beth wrote:

I would like to thank all the people who surrounded Steve and me with so much strength and gentleness this past weekend and the days that followed. To those of you in the SCAMP Skills Weekend I have so much respect for each of you. Your humanity, humor and the fact that you simply treated Steve as an equal meant so much to him. Each of you truly allowed him to live his dream of sailing his boat. I learned so much during the course and will be the better sailor for it.

On Saturday after Steve returned from the sail where Howard and Ben gave him both sheet and tiller he told me that during the sail he felt no pain, his mind was free and he felt joy. Each of you have touched our lives at a time of need and I am so thankful we may sail together again in the future.

Thank you to all,
Beth Kennedy

Steve and Beths Boat
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