Unravelling the Threads of Connection at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron

Dear members of the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron,

As a member of our beloved club, I have had the privilege of witnessing the power of community and connection that thrives within our walls. Today, I would like to share a heartwarming story that exemplifies the bonds we form through our shared love for sailing and the sea.

Almost two years ago, a chance encounter at the club brought together two individuals: myself, Nadine and Josh. Little did we know that this meeting would unveil a series of remarkable circumstances that would deepen our connections and remind us of the incredible web of life that intertwines us all.

During our initial conversations, we discovered that the tiny New Zealand town I frequently visited as a child to stay with my best friend was none other than Josh’s hometown. With a population of only 450 people, it was astounding that we hadn’t crossed paths there. This revelation immediately sparked our curiosity and set the stage for the unfolding of further surprising connections.

Several months later, while delivering a sailboat to Adelaide, Josh began sharing stories about his early sailing experiences with his grandfather. As he described the geography of his grandfather’s home, I realized that it was in the exact same suburb where I grew up. Incredibly, his grandfather had lived there, working at the bakery a mere 500 meters away from my childhood home. Our paths had unknowingly brushed against each other yet again.

Amidst the serendipity, Josh and I shared a lighthearted joke that perhaps we were destined to be related. Coincidentally, both of us had Dutch grandfathers from our fathers’ sides, bearing the surnames Tabak and Vermeulen. The similarities continued to unfold, teasing us with the possibility of a deeper connection.

Finally, just last week, close to two years after we first me, Josh’s parents visited our club. His father caught sight of my last name, Tabak, under the photo of me on the general committee members display. Prompted by curiosity, he wondered aloud if I was related to John Tabak. Josh’s reaction was nothing short of astonishing; his neck snapped around so quickly it was as though he had caught a glimpse of a long-lost treasure. When pressed for an explanation, Josh’s father revealed that their father, Dick Vermeulen, had been good friends with a John Tabak. The very same John Tabak that is my grandfather.

Their friendship had blossomed during the Dutch-Indonesian war, as they served together and even formed a band. After the war, they made the joint decision to relocate to New Zealand, where they continued their bond. Their families intertwined, with our fathers spending time together on the family farm during their early childhood. Although our grandfathers had grown apart as life took its course, Josh’s grandfather had been one of the few friends who visited my grandfather during his declining health, a testament to their enduring connection.

These coincidences have brought forth a cascade of beautiful revelations. Through my friendship with Josh, I have reconnected with the vibrant memories of my grandfather before his health deteriorated. I recall the fishing trips on his boat, Edelweiss, and the fragments of stories he shared about the war and his life. Our shared heritage and the tales of their friendship have become a bridge to the grandfather I had before his illness, reminding me of the man who had so much more to offer than the trials he faced.

These connections extend beyond our personal lives and into the very fabric of our club. They provide us with boundless opportunities for learning, whether it be expanding our knowledge of sailing, discovering new experiences through spontaneous deliveries, or unearthing aspects of our own heritage. Moreover, these connections foster new friendships, strengthen existing ones, and sometimes even allow us to reconnect with the generations that came before us, ensuring their stories and legacies live on.

As I reflect on this remarkable journey, I can’t help but wonder if our grandfathers had a hand in orchestrating our meeting from beyond. Perhaps they look down upon us with joy, grateful that our families have reunited after all these years. The intertwining threads of fate that have brought us together only serve to deepen my excitement for the future. I eagerly anticipate the next set of connections and coincidences that await us within the warm embrace of our Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron community.

Fair winds and smooth seas to all,

Nadine Tabak