Preview: Brion Toss: Once in Ten Thousand Years

Brion Toss: Once in Ten Thousand Years

Note: This is a reprint of an article written by OCH Guide Karen Sullivan in June 2020 for Rainshadow Journal right after Brion’s passing.

It started late last week when my husband and I saw the news about a young graduate student who had solved a decades-old mathematical question about a strange knot discovered 50 years ago, called the Conway knot. “We have to send this to Brion Toss,” Jim said. “He will love it. I mean, you gotta love a guy who invented his own knot and called it the Strait Bend.”

Funny how yu start thinking about someone, not concretely but with a sense of presence, more of an awareness that has roots somewhere in the subconscious.

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5 Responses So Far to “Brion Toss: Once in Ten Thousand Years

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    Superb, Karen! Brion certainly was a wonderful human being – I never had the honor of meeting him, but have heard so much about him throughout the years. What an icon, what a presence, what a kind soul. Thank you for your beautiful comments about him.

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    Don Ferguson says:

    I was lucky enough to work with Brion on the Kingdome repair project. I was eye splicing the safety lines for the crew working on the outside. I showed Brion my copy of his book (the first one) and he was not only gracious enough to autograph it, he went through and made corrections! He was a delight.

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    David Gruendel says:

    I learned to sail in the early 1980’s in part through an instructional series by Robbie Doyle shown on our local PBS outlet. Each episode included a short segment in which Brion talked about rigging. He was always bright, witty, informative, and everything else appealing. In addition to the essentials, he taught us how to tie the “flying bowline” which I came to enjoy as the dockside equivalent of a good bar trick. I really looked forward to his segments. Thanks for reprinting this beautiful tribute.

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    Michael Walker says:

    Thank you Karen Sullivan and OCH for reprinting this beautiful remembrance of Brion. I treasure memories of outright comedy and deep seamanship from his Festival talks. Today I look to Brion’s books and his OCH rigging videos for inspiration. Every constrictor knot brings him to mind.