The death yesterday of Claire Bateman of Cork has deprived the world of Irish sailing and her own community of one of the kindest, most decent, obliging and quietly yet infectiously enthusiastic people, someone who put far more into our sport and the world of boats than she took from it.
Boats and the people around them were one of Claire Bateman’s great personal interests and pleasures, and her many contributions to Afloat.ie were always inspiring to receive. Yet somehow she also found the time to be a whole-hearted wife, mother, grandmother, and partnership supporter of her husband Robert in his uniquely dedicated and gifted approach to photography of all kinds, particularly on the water.
Claire gallantly took on the task of providing the words to go with the pictures, and became so adept at recording the Cork Harbour scene afloat that her narratives became every bit as important as Robert’s evocative photography. They were a marvellous team, and Claire’s generosity of spirit in giving freely of her time and talents way over and above any call of duty did much to tell the broader world what was going on in Cork sailing, thereby contributing greatly to the expansion of boating in all its forms.
Claire was Chair of the Irish Sailing Association's (ISA) Southern Branch for a five year period where her organisation of the annual meeting in Murphy Brewery at Ladyswell was a sailing highlight of the winter months. Claire also served as a member of the ISA's Olympic committee that selected the sailing team for the 1992 Barcelona OIympics.
The unique joint giving of their talents for the greater good of sailing saw Robert and Claire Bateman being made Honorary Members of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, a tangible and very well-earned recognition of the extremely high regard in which they have been held by the sailing community for many years.
Our heartfelt thoughts are with Claire’s husband Robert, her sons Robin and Roger and their wives Marcia and Ada, their families of eight grandchildren, and Claire’s many friends. We share their profound grief in a very personal loss.