Editor's note: Anna Mavromati, daughter of Theo Mavromatis, gave this tribute at a for the Aegean crew. We've reprinted it here with her permission.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the ocean lately. There are so many nautical tales about the adventures of men at sea—stories about pirates, soldiers, Ahab and his infamous whale, and the list could go on. I know that adventure stories like that always appealed to my dad, and I’m sure that the rest of the crew of the Aegean loved them too. That was part of the fun of sailing—adding more stories to this chronology of adventures that has existed for thousands of years.
The sailors of the Aegean will always be remembered for that love of adventure. All four men won first place in the Newport to Ensenada sailing race last year, and even after winning—the Aegean placing almost every time it’s raced—they still weren’t satisfied. They still wouldn’t rest. They were always ready to raise the sails and set out on this adventure again. They were brave and they were tenacious. I can’t think of any better way to live life than the way they did.
I will always remember how well they worked together as a crew, but I will also remember all four men, individually.
I’ll always remember my Uncle Joey Stewart and the afternoons he would spend playing my little brother’s video games every time he came over to visit. He would play the same level, over and over again, cursing at the character running around on the screen, my sister and I laughing at him every time he lost and had to start the level over again. But he never gave up.
I will remember the multi-talented Kevin Rudolph, the Aegean’s resident musician and cook. My dad took so many video recordings of him at yacht club parties, when Kevin would jump onstage with his harmonica and start playing along with the band. We all thought that was so cool.
I never met Bill Johnson, but I will always remember him, too. I’ve stared at his photo now countless times, standing in the middle of the Aegean crew’s group photo after they won their first place trophy last year. He’s holding a up pirate doll and looks like he’s laughing at it a little bit, but he’s still holding it up like it’s another member of the crew, like he’s proud.
And, of course, I’ll always remember my dad. My dad, the Aegean’s captain, who asked my sister to design his entire crew matching, bright blue, “I’m on a Boat” T-shirts this year, referencing that Lonely Island song. He was 49 years old, but he always reminded me of a little kid when he was sailing—or even talking about sailing—always smiling, talking even faster than he normally did in his Greek accent, unable to sit still.
I can understand why each of these men were so drawn to the sea, why they loved sailing. I’ve been on the Aegean countless times, and I know how it feels to stand on a sailing ship. Even standing here on the pier you can get a sense of what they felt out there: Powerful and grounded while the rest of the watery world sloshes and splashes beneath their feet. That is how they should be remembered. That is how I will always remember them—every day, every time I need strength, and every time I look out at the endless ocean.