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Veteran captain Jack Maguire dies

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Capt. Jack Maguire, veteran yacht captain and placement agent at Crewfinders International, died on June 23 as a result of kidney failure.

He was an old-school mariner, born in Philadelphia, said his wife, Lois Whelan, former yacht chef and his partner of more than 30 years. She said the two worked 24/7 together on yachts for 10 years before they married.

“He was a great engineer, he could do it all,” she said. “He was a no-nonsense guy, that’s why I trusted him so much. He would always get us into port.”

He was an old salt of a captain down to the end, when he died on a Saturday.

“He would never start a voyage on Friday, he was superstitious,” Whelan wrote to The Triton. “The same ancient mariner superstition from Biblical times that Christ died on Friday and it was very bad luck to start a sea voyage. He would make us wait until 12:01 on Saturday morning to get underway, seriously.”

Whelan met Capt. Maguire when she left her first couple of years in yachting to work in a bar instead. He was a customer.

“He was running a 60-foot Hatteras and had a dive business cleaning bottoms,” she said. She worked with him when he needed a cook/stew and they worked together so well that they started on a Jongert 72, M/Y Lady Marion.

“We did 10,000 miles in 10 months at 10 knots, just the two of us,” she said. “That’s like a 30-year marriage right there.”

But that kind of travel fit his philosophy of slow and steady. There was no reason to rush.

As a young man, Capt. Maguire served in the U.S. Navy as an inertial navigation aviation electrician working on jets on the USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War.

His bio on the Crewfinders website noted that he moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1979 as the senior lineman for the telephone company Bell South. In 1980, he became a partner in a local dive shop, “the only dive shop in town that not only taught fun but also had a beer-and-wine license.”

He got his 50-ton USCG license in 1982 and began running the dive boat and moving customer’s boats to local yards for work. In 1984, he got his 100-ton license.

In the early 1990s, Capt. Maguire and Whelan “cast off the lines and let the adventures begin,” eventually running yachts up to 208 feet. Along the way, he would earn his 1600/3000 ITC All Oceans Master and MCA CEC 3000 ton Master Oceans.

“He had a wicked sense of humor,” his wife recalled. “He could see the humor in everyday situations. He had sarcastic quips and could make you laugh. Lots of time out at sea, you need that humor.”

He was also tolerant and fair, she said. When crew members screwed up, he would give them another chance. Do it again, however, “you were gone.”

“No matter what happened between him and the crew, all of them — fired or not — would say he was a great captain and great man to work for,” his wife said.

Capt. Maguire did have a dry Irish sense humor and was a great employee, said Linda Turner, director of crew placement at Crewfinders International.

Turner had placed Capt. Maguire and Whelan on jobs for most of their careers. When Turner was out of the office due to the death of her mother, Capt. Maguire showed up and offered to help. Eventually, he asked to join Crewfinders in 2012. He really knew the industry, Turner said. He had hired “a ton” of crew and could sort out who was good.

“He had an uncanny, simple way of looking at things, a cutting clarity,” she said. “He was forthright. When you were dealing with him, you knew exactly where you stood. Crew could be giving him a line of hot air and he would say, ‘Are you going to be quiet and listen to me to get yourself somewhere in this industry?’ But it wasn’t offensive.”

He had many favorite sayings: Accept responsibility for what you did; Do what you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it; and if you think it costs a lot to hire a professional, hire an amateur.

“He loved that one,” Turner said of the amateur quote. “He was very loyal, a rare good man and good friend. He leaves a big hole, not replaceable.”

Capt. Martyn Walker served as Capt. Maguire’s first officer 24 years ago aboard M/Y Alteza, a 135-foot Christenson.

“Cappy was one of the most honest men I ever met,” he wrote on Facebook. “He said it like it was and pandered to no one. He stood by me through good days and bad, showing me never-ending loyalty. I considered him one of my closest friends.”

Jimmy Floyd, vice president of yacht service at Bradford Marine met Capt. Maguire nearly 30 years.

The captain was a loyal friend to people.

“His friendships meant a lot to him,” Floyd said. “Jack liked the  people that he liked and never had anything bad to say about the ones he didn’t like. Jack was a fun-loving, loyal friend, and he always had a smile on his face.”

Capt. Maguire’s health began to decline and he had a hemorrhagic stroke in 2010.

“Doctors said he had only a 10 percent chance of making and, if he made it, he had a 14 percent chance of being normal,” his wife said. “He said, ‘I’m going to beat this’ and he learned to walk with the encouragement of his two dogs, Bahamian potcakes.

A memorial get-together in Fort Lauderdale is being planned before the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. For date and information check with Crewfinders International and www.The-Triton.com.

Triton publisher Lucy Chabot Reed contributed to this story.

ORIGINAL: posted June 26, 2018

Capt. Jack Maguire, longtime yacht captain and recent placement agent at Crewfinders International, passed away Saturday. Friends and family posted on Facebook that he had been ill for some time.

Lois Whelan, his wife of 30 years, posted: “Today, I lost my Best Friend, I lost my Captain, I lost my Comedian, I lost my Strength. I lost the bravest man I have ever known, the most honest and the most loving. … My heart is broken and I know many others are as well tonight. He was not only my Captain Jack, he belonged to all his crew, friends and family, too.”

Veteran captains, crew and industry people reacted to the news with sadness and shock.

Capt. Martyn Walker served as Capt. Maguire’s first officer 24 years ago aboard M/Y Alteza, a 135-foot Christensen.

Capt. Jack Maguire, center, First Officer Martyn Walker, just left, and Lois Whelan, just right, aboard M/Y Alteza.

“Cappy was one of the most honest men I ever met,” he wrote on Facebook. “He said it like it was and pandered to no one. He stood by me through good days and bad, showing me never-ending loyalty. I considered him one of my closest friends.”

Capt. Maguire’s bio on the Crewfinders website noted that he moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1979 as the senior lineman for the telephone company Bell South. In 1980, he became a partner in a local dive shop, “the only dive shop in town that not only taught fun but also had a beer and wine license.”

He got his 50-ton USCG license in 1982 and began running the dive boat and moving customer’s boats to local yards for work. In 1984, he got his 100-ton license.

In the early ’90s, Capt. Maguire and Whelan “cast off the lines and let the adventures begin,” running yachts up to 208 feet. He eventually earned his 1600/3000 ITC All Oceans Master and MCA CEC 3000-ton Master Oceans.

He joined Crewfinders in 2012 “to help others follow their dreams.”

“I invite you all to share your Captain Jack stories, his one liners, his Jack-isms,” Whelan wrote on Facebook. “He would want us to remember the good times. He would want us to laugh.”

A celebration of his life is being planned for Oct. 20 in Fort Lauderdale. More details on Capt. Maguire’s Facebook page as they become available.

Capt. Jack Maguire played host with Crewfinders’ owner Linda Turner at Triton Networking in March 2015.

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About Dorie Cox

Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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3 thoughts on “Veteran captain Jack Maguire dies

  1. Sharryn Matte

    I will remember your witty sarcasm that all of the time made us laugh so much that our cheeks hurt. I will never forget that you taught me to be me. You’ll be dearly missed my friend.

  2. Sam Fiddler

    I will see you again Dad….love you all ways….Thanks for loving me….and my LuLu

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