Atlantic Pacific: Raising funds for a new lifeboat, the Thomas Schmidt
Atlantic Pacific is an international rescue boat organisation based at Atlantic College dedicated to saving lives at sea and providing lifeboats where there are none. The organisation springs from the experiences of its founder, Robin Jenkins, at AC in 1990-92. Crews of that generation were trained by dedicated and inspirational students of 89-91: the ethos and excellence they imparted underlies the training Atlantic Pacific now gives at AC and in the areas where it operates. Prominent among those inspirational student-teachers, hugely loved and impossible to miss, was Thomas Schmidt.
Thomas was a force; the funniest, the loudest, the quickest, the most energetic, the most quietly sensitive, the most loving and thoughtful force. He would dismiss the superlatives – Oh man, just tell the about the boat! – but they are all true of an astonishing figure; an eruption of dash, mischief and charisma one moment, who was utterly attentive and empathetic the next. His kindness, his comedy and his capacity for love were spectacular. After his tragic death in 2013 his obituary recalled Thomas striving to bring joy and pleasure to the lives he touched, and ‘a legacy of generosity of spirit which will outlive him.’
’Schmitty McSchmittface’, as Patrick Grabolle has dubbed the new boat, is intended to be a tribute to an extraordinary human being. Thomas adored lifeboats. The public service, the mastery of seamanship, the teaching and learning, the urgency of rescue and the sheer adventure of seagoing lit him up. The Thomas Schmidt will join the fleet of Atlantic Pacific craft currently working around the world, providing service and succour to those in distress in the name of one of Atlantic College’s most beloved alumni.