The Bay Area sailing community lost a well-loved and highly respected member this weekend. Rui Luis, the 48-year-old owner of Rooster Sails, fell in the water while trying to board his powerboat from his dinghy yesterday morning. "Rui had lost 100 lbs in the last year and a half, and part of his exercise program was to row to the Oakland farmer’s market every Sunday," said close friend Jeff Berman of the Alameda-based Catalina 36 II Perseverance. Berman says a neighbor at Grand Marina saw Rui fall in and called for help in getting him back on his boat. It appears he was in the water for just a few minutes, and when he was pulled aboard, was breathing and talking. But Berman says at some point 911 was called, and Rui was given CPR, put on a breathing bag and rushed to the hospital with a weak pulse. "I had just arrived at the hospital when they told Ruthie [Rui’s partner of 20 years] that he’d died," said Berman.
"Rui was a stand-up, ethical guy," recalls Bob Johnston of the Alameda-based J/92 Ragtime. "He recently told me about a jib that came in from a large catamaran. It was in poor shape, but the owner wanted Rui to repair it. Due to its condition, the sail was inadvertently hauled away by a recycling company shortly before Rui and Ruth were to leave on a vacation to Hawaii. Rui worked day and night to build the owner a new jib for the not-so-small boat. I asked if Rui would at least charge the owner for the materials, but Rui said no, he’d take full responsibility.
"Rui did good work for many of us, often on short notice. But what I’ll miss most is his dry, crafty sense of humor. He could ‘get your goat’, and at times you wouldn’t realize it until later. He was a dear friend and will be missed by many."
Although Rui was a longtime advertiser in Latitude 38, we didn’t really get to know him until last month, when we had him repair and recut some sails for the La Gamelle Syndicate’s Olson 30. He did a couple of last minute jobs for us. In fact, we just picked up a sail from him this weekend. May he rest in peace.
Friends and family of Rui will gather for a celebration of his life this Friday, June 10, 3 p.m., at the Rooster loft at Alameda’s Grand Marina: 2021 Alaska Packer Place, Unit 20.13. Sam LaVanaway is seeking photos of Rui for the memorial. Please send them here or call Sam at 510-435-6104.
To our way of thinking, one of the best things about the sport of sailing is that it is enjoyed by people of all ages, and there’s no reason that newcomers can’t begin their sailing careers in middle age. This point was well-illustrated recently by Cindy Warner, 51, and Marie Idiart (who is 40-something), when they became Junior Skippers, a designation of competency within the Cal Sailing Club’s instructional heirarcy. As you can tell by the photo, they’re both thrilled with their achievement, as well they should be.
Cindy had never sailed before last October, when she was introduced to the club. Marie, who is a native of France, has been around boats much longer, but the way we understand it, she’d never before taken on the role of skipper. Our hats are off to both of them, and we wish them many happy days out on the water.
The fact that more and more women seem to be getting into both cruising and racing in recent years is a very healthy thing for our sport. If you’re a recent female inductee, we’d love to hear about how you got into it, and in what ways you’re currently enjoying the sport. So shoot us an email and a couple of photos. We’ll see you out there.