Francois Jacques

by Naeve Rossini

The first time I looked at a boat in SecondLife, it was at Starboards Yacht Club. Amidst all those boats, classic and modern, the one thing that caught
my interest and led me around the room relentlessly was this one hull, an orca hull.

I asked the designer if I could buy that hull and Caf said no in the gentlest way possible. “It’s a custom,” he said, assuring me that I could make my own. That sealed the deal. I bought a custom hull for my ACA before I had even bought an ACA.

A month later, having seen Orca Flotta around a few times but disappointed that she never dropped her lovely Orca ACA, I found myself at the Nantucket
Yacht Club line for a race when Francois Jacques dropped that magical hull into the water. I knew then that I would like her, though as a total n00b, I was afraid to approach her.

I don’t know how it came to pass–my memory is muddy with so much learning at the time–but somehow I ended up as a race director for NYC and that’s
when I truly discovered who Francois was: commodore, companion and cheerleader.

She was and is a great friend and a consummate leader. She empowered me, as she did with everyone under her charge, as if I were her own child. She
pushed me to grow, to take chances, to push beyond my limits. If I had an idea, no matter how hare-brained, her first words were to encourage me to
develop it further and make it happen.

In the moments where we weren’t up to something–weren’t scheming the next tournament or building the next boat–we would take time out for her other
great love: vanity. We shopped for skins and clothes and visited so many stores. While she was the great chameleon, I was looking for my perfect look.
We would search and search.

And then she’d have her silly moments, where it seemed like she wasn’t a Serious Business Commodore of a yacht club and instead was a gleeful child on
Christmas morning. I remember getting weird toys dropped on me at utterly random moments. The jet pack. The hovercraft. That… thing I can’t describe.

Francois Jacques was all of this and more. She had a quiet dignity about her that was unquestionable. She would be the eye in the middle of the hurricane. She was the best friend anyone could hope for.

She kept her illness far away from SecondLife and I can’t help but think that we were her calm in the storm of her life, where things should could not control were asserting themselves. We were her refuge, her happy place, and for that I am honoured and privileged to have been a part of her life and she a part of mine.

I love Francois. I wish I had told her when she was alive. I never thought she wouldn’t be there. If I could have anything, I’d want that moment to tell her that and to let her know that I could be just a fraction of who she is… well, then that would be something, wouldn’t it?

Fair winds, Francois. I’ll see you on the water.

-Naeve

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