David Lucas of Bangalow drowned in rough conditions at Brunswick Heads beach last Wednesday.
David Lucas of Bangalow drowned in rough conditions at Brunswick Heads beach last Wednesday. Contributed

Drowned Bangalow man spent decades sailing world's oceans

AFTER sailing the world's oceans for decades as a master class 5 skipper, it was the sea where David Lucas' life ended tragically.

The 70-year-old Bangalow resident, whose second home was the ocean, drowned in rough conditions, 250m south of Brunswick Heads Surf Club last Wednesday.

Born in England at the Royal London Hospital on May 21, 1943, Mr Lucas suffered meningitis as a two-year-old.

His wife Jeanette said this caused him to become completely deaf in his right ear, and so paralysed that his mother was told he would never walk again.

But his family never gave up.

"His mum and his grandmother manipulated his body every day, and massaged it, and it took almost a year and he was walking again," Mrs Lucas said.

Growing up around London in the 1950s and '60s, Mr Lucas was well educated and loved to read.

At the age of 23 he immigrated to Canada, where he worked as a log man on timber tugs in British Columbia.

For 11 years Mr Lucas sailed between Vancouver and New Zealand in his yacht Liberty 3, until he worked with Rainbow Yacht Charters in New Zealand's famous Bay of Islands.

It was there he became mates with Ian Allen and together they bought the 46 foot timber tug Koala.

Mr Lucas and Koala gained quite a reputation, appearing in films including Dead Calm, The Rack and Jack Show, and Return to the Blue Lagoon.

Little did Mr Lucas know when he delivered a yacht from NZ to Sydney in 1983, he would meet his future wife Jeanette.

"Come the New Year, David arrived on my doorstep with his bags, and things just took off from that."

The couple were married in 1999 at Strickland House on Sydney Harbour.

Mr Lucas is survived by his wife Jeanette, his dog Harriet, his brother Tony, and sisters Jackie and Kim.


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