The final curtain has not fallen on the Sanctuary Cove stalwart – 22 boat shows under his belt – and all rounder in the Australian marine industry, but last night, some of Barry Jenkins’ closest colleagues and friends joined him for a toast and a tinkle on the ivories, before he departs for Asia and new marine horizons.
MC Rob Mundle introduced the startled Barry, who was delivered by the Hyatt Regency’s wedding wagon with 'Just Barried' emblazoned on the side. He must have suspected something upon arrival to a sign, lit up by a row of tropical torches, that announced his send off!
Gathered at The Grange, 60 or so industry and work mates who could make the intimate affair – among them, media, the SCIBS team, Mulpha Sanctuary Cove executive general manager Alison Quinn, Sharon and John Russell, Don Jones, Graeme Avers, Ian McAndrew, Liz Hay, friends from ‘back in the day’, people he has mentored, residents of Sanctuary Cove and boat show manager, Harry Davis.
Addressing those assembled, Harry lamented Barry’s departure, but he said he wouldn’t miss Barry’s sartorial superiority, next to which everybody involved in the show looked positively dowdy.
'He has a suit for every occasion, and a joke. We will really miss his jokes, even those with the most innuendo, which scandalised the ladies, and were always delivered with such dead-pan innocence. We will also miss his spontaneous morning teas – lemon tarts, without the cream.'
And Barry didn’t disappoint last night, dressed to the nines in a Singpore Sling-hued jacket and sorbet-striped shirt, 'not a hair out of place', as Harry pointed out.
Barry was sent off in style by Alison Quinn, who marvelled at Barry’s commitment to the event and his universal influence and respect. She confirmed that instead of 365 days per year, the event would have him on call for around 100 days, on contract as needed in the lead up to the show and to oversee international visitors. While he will occasionally visit, Barry will reside in China, working with the industry there and also consulting to Korea Yacht & Boat to develop that event.
The man himself was called to reflect on his 22 years at the helm and he recounted some of the best and most challenging moments over the two decades. The greatest achievement was 2007, when 487 boats were safely moved in to the marina in 24 hours, 'a massive undertaking, which goes to show that when we pull together, we can move mountains'.
There were a few teary moments, as Barry nominated his fondest memories and how he came to arrive in an industry which today, owes him so much. Who would have thought Barry would have been an avid and adroit water skier, who with his mate and seasoned DJ, Bill, built a ski boat – 'Gidget' – to suit their hobby that was 'faster and more powerful than anything else around at that time'?
Another highlight was Barry taking a seat to tickle out a tune with the fellows from the band, also long-time friends.
But immediately on the agenda for the indefatigable Barry is a rest.
He is off for boost of Zen, aptly enough in the mountains of China, where he is looking forward to close to two months in a Temple, learning the 24 Steps of Tai Chi.
'It’s time to detox, naturally. To learn to relax and unwind. Learn to live in the moment, as people say. I am really looking forward to it.'
Nobody could say, after so many years of success and hard graft, that he is not deserving of utter retreat and release. Hosted by the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove, the informal farewell was our way of thanking him, but also extract just a bit more Barry before his time, his energy and himself are Barry’s alone.
As Harry opined, 'the boat show is losing a true performer, a showman, who will never be replaced'.
As he departed, Barry wished us all 'Luck, Prosperity, Longevity'.