Veteran Fremantle artist George Haynes recalls with great pride his one and only sailing trophy for dinghy racing as a boy at the Mombasa Yacht Club in 1940s Kenya.
A member during its golden era, it was the prelude to a lifetime romance with sailing, the spray of salt water, the power of the wind and the duel with nature.
Haynes' latest exhibition is a chance for him and other artistic friends to capture their maritime experiences while sailors from all over the world contest the Perth ISAF Sailing World Championships offshore.
At 73, Haynes is sure his boyhood sailing antics in Kenya caused his long-term hearing problems.
"Ten of us boys, mad keen on sailing, used to sail every day all day during our holidays and raced twice a week," he said.
"We used to borrow a keeler, and sail it just outside the reef, beyond the breakers, and tow each other along behind on a surfboard at about five knots. You'd take a deep breath, plunge down five metres or so and weave between the coral, ears bursting as you whizzed along. How we didn't kill ourselves I don’t know."
Haynes said his decision to hold an exhibition to coincide with ISAF sprang from sharing a drink with event manager John Longley two years ago.
"John was so excited about the sailing championships, his enthusiasm must have rubbed off on me," Haynes said. "At his suggestion, I booked the exhibition space in advance."
The George Haynes and Friends show at Fremantle's Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery also includes maritime-themed works by Robert Juniper, Jeremy Kirwan-Ward, Roger Leevers, Jonathon Snowball, Rick Martin and Peter Fitzsimmons, whose Construction of the Endeavour series, now in Mr Longley's collection, harks back to the early 1990s.
Haynes presents visually playful anamorphic sculptures large works influenced by Dutch maritime painters that depict the fate of the tragic Batavia. The ship itself is a minor focus in the immense sea and night sky evoking a monumental atmosphere.
The exhibition also recounts Haynes' travels and interests over the past year in oils, charcoal and print.
"What really interests me is pursuing different ideas about drawing and painting that leads to my own further understanding of art – and a rather diverse collection of work," he said.
Haynes presents a free talk in the gallery on Friday at 4pm.