MEETING MR JUDD
It started with one of those conversations on the phone where the guy on the other end starts telling me about how much boating experience he has and then politely asks me does he really have to sit for another boat license, even though he is 80 years of age? I tell him that age is no issue for me, as my oldest client was 83 years old, but something in his voice prompts me to ask some more questions about his background, even though there is a strict policy for interstate license transfers, which I have no intention of deviating from. So Barry starts to give me a brief history of his boating life and I am immediately interested. He coughs a little during the conversation, letting me know that this is the price he pays for making fibreglass boats for many, many years at various locations on the east coast. These weren’t just any fibreglass boats, but predominantly racing boats under the banner of Judd Boat Designs, which was a big name in the industry back in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond. Fortunately, in amongst all his racing and boating qualifications, he actually held a current NSW Boating License, so he did not have to sit for a course and we arranged for him to come to my place the next day to sort it out.
So Barry turns up at exactly 3pm as arranged, in a vehicle that matches his vintage. He almost jumps out of the car, shakes my hand firmly, sporting a cheeky wide grin and big bright blue eyes ( pictured ) that indicate a bloke with a million stories to tell. Although I have had a busy day teaching, he gets me in the right mood and we spend the next hour sharing yarns from his boat building days. In his own words, Barry was and still is, technologically illiterate, left school at a young age and still can’t work out why you go to a vehicle brakes specialist business and they have to send you to another specialist that deals with master cylinders only. He was a jack of all trades mechanical, master of some and as well as racing speed boats, was licensed to drive road trains until only recently. He arrived with a collection of classic photos of some of the ‘machines’ he designed, including the ‘Egyptian’ which he took over to the United States and in his words, blew them out of the water, even though they said the boat was too heavy. Perhaps an insight into the type of boats Barry built and the character he was, is evidenced on the Facebook Page of Judd Designs, which Barry is no longer very active on. These include Bad Medicine, Hammerhead Series, Spartacus, Bad Company, Manta Ray and Sling Shot. Barry’s son encouraged him to come over to Margaret River 18 months ago to retire and see out his days with family, as he has lost many around him, including sons and wives. Barry was friendly and courteous, but you could detect a strong character, someone who could be your best friend, but beware if you took him for granted. We chatted about boats and waterways in this area and he couldn’t help but comment, that for all the talk about Margaret River, it is not really that much of a river and damn difficult to access. I laughed at this and suggested maybe the Blackwood River has a bit more to offer in that regard. Just one of those chance meetings where someone has a story to tell and maybe not a lot of people will get to hear it again!