João Carlos Fraga with Admiral Mary Barton
Members will be sad to learn of the death of João Carlos Fraga, friend to all OCC members visiting Horta, following several years of declining health.
João Carlos joined our Club in 1980 after crossing the Atlantic aboard Vireo, a 27ft multihull, the previous year, and immediately took on the role of unofficial ambassador for Horta to all the OCC (and many non-OCC) yachts which visited the harbour each year. He spoke excellent English and several other languages, having spent many years working for the Azorean airline SATA (now Azores Airlines), and advised both the Azorean tourism authority and Portas das Açores (which owns most of the marinas in the archipelago) about the requirements of visiting yachtsmen.
In 1995 he attempted to resign from the Club on the basis that he was unlikely to do any more long voyages, and was immediately elected to Honorary Membership. The Committee of the day were very aware of his contribution to the Club, and equally unwilling to forgo it! Following the death in 2005 of Peter Azevedo, owner of the famous Café Sport, João Carlos was invited to become Port Officer for the area. He declined in favour of Peter’s son José Henrique, but continued to visit every yacht he saw which wore a flying fish burgee or had OCC painted on the stern.
OCC member Duncan Sweet, owner of Mid Atlantic Yacht Services on the Horta waterfront, paid tribute to him yesterday: “We have indeed lost a standard bearer for the cruising and sailing fraternity. I will miss him greatly and was always pleased to see him in the marina and/or on the street, as his presence in Horta assured me that all was well. He would have been the first to send up a flare to let others know if it was not.”
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A fund is being set up in Horta in memory of João Carlos Fraga, to benefit a local charity with which he was involved. Called Vela para Todos (Sailing for All) and run by the Clube Naval da Horta as part of the international ACCESS program, it enables wheelchair users to actively sail small, singlehanded dinghies. See https://www.cnhorta.org/index.php/eventos/nacional-access-2014-inicio/camp-nac-access-2014-inicio.