Larry Pardey – Canadian sailor, boatbuilder and author – died earlier this year in a Northland rest home after a life of sailing and building boats.

Pardey – who with wife Lin coauthored 12 books on their voyaging – was one of the first people to sail across the Sahara Desert. In 1967, as part of an expedition organised by the French and sponsored by National Geographic, he captained a North American team sailing land yachts from Colum Bechar in Algeria to Noachott in Mauritania, a distance of approximately 2735 kms.

Pardey began sailing at age 17 in Vancouver. He purchased and restored a 28-foot Tumlaren sloop, Annalisa. In 1964 he sold her and went to California in search of an affordable cruising boat.

Instead, he signed as first mate on the 85-foot schooner, Double Eagle and sailed to Hawaii on a movie-making charter. On his return he began building his first cruising boat, Seraffyn – a 24’ 6” Lyle Hess-designed, engineless cutter. Five months into the project he met Lin Zatkin who joined him to finish building what became their first cruising boat.

Together they eventually sailed more than 200,000 miles, including both an eastabout and westabout circumnavigation. To earn their way they delivered boats, restored boats and worked as riggers. Lin’s writing skills covered their cruising costs.

The couple opted for another Lyle Hess design for their next boat, the 29’ Taleisin, also built by Pardey and also engineless. In 1985, during a voyage to New Zealand, the two purchased a small boatyard and cottage on Kawau Island, 30 miles north of Auckland. This became their home and base but did not stop them from voyaging onward.

In 2009 the Pardeys made their last ocean passage together and Larry developed Parkinson’s Disease in 2015.

Together they wrote 12 books and created five instructional DVDs.

Among the numerous awards they’ve received is the Cruising Club of America’s prestigious Far Horizon Award for 2009 in recognition of their combined voyaging. They were also presented with the SSCA award from the Seven Seas Cruising Association in recognition of their contributions to the sport of sailing and the cruising community – only the 16th time in the club’s 60-year history this has occurred.