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Florida boatyard manager remembered

Michael Robertson, longtime service manager at Sailor's Wharf Yacht Yard in St. Petersburg, Fla., died Dec. 26. He was 59.

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Robertson started working for Sailor's Wharf as a rigger in October 1998 and was service manager for the last eight years. He left the company in March.

An accomplished sailor, Robertson logged two successful trans-Atlantic voyages. He lived in Holland for two years, running a sail loft, and ran his own sail loft in St. Petersburg before joining Sailor's Wharf.

"I have known Michael since he was 17 years old, and I was once trying to pass him in a sailboat race," Sailor's Wharf co-owner Johannes "Jopie" Helsen said in an e-mail. "He would not let me pass him to windward and lectured me that my boat was much faster and I should have been ahead of him anyway."

Helsen, who owns Sailor's Wharf with her sister Sandy, said Robertson was known throughout the marine industry on a first-name basis.

"We all have stories to tell about Michael, and while he could be a pain in the butt - he had certain ways of doing things that drove you crazy - we will all miss him greatly," Jopie Helsen said.

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