Robert “Bob” Broussard, a respected sailmaker in the Marina del Rey boating community, has died. He was 85.
Broussard, who passed away March 11 from complications from a fall, was born May 30, 1925 and lived on a walk street in Venice for many years. He began sailmaking in the 1950s and operated a small loft on Main Street in Santa Monica, where he designed and built Malibu Outrigger sails, windsurfer and skate sails, landsailer sails as well as sails for conventional sail boats.
Broussard often told of riding the surf waves into the Marina in the entrance and main channels while the Marina was being built in the early 1960s, friends said.
He joined Bruns Sails on Lincoln Boulevard in Marina del Rey to serve the boaters in the then-newly opened small boat harbor. Broussard remained with the successor sail loft, Mare Co. Sails, until his retirement in 2003 and he continued to work on special woodcraft projects at his home in Long Beach.
Some local marine industry professionals knew Broussard as a creative, unique individual. Ken Havard, a longtime Marina boat maintenance professional, remembered Broussard as a lively musician and boat builder.
Referring to Broussard’s craftsmanship, friends said his rope “turksheads” graced many sail boat wheels and decorative leatherwork and jewelry creations. Yacht rigger Stan Harris recalled how Broussard made his own leather boating shoes and sandals.
Friends also noted that Broussard had an intense curiosity of how things were built. Sailor Bob Nichel recalled that Broussard visited Greece to learn how to make mandolins. In addition to crafting a mandolin, Broussard had built a sizeable pipe organ among other musical instruments.
Broussard is survived by his wife of 28 years, Elsa; former spouse Barbara; daughter Annie and three grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, April 17 at 541 Rindge Lane, Redondo Beach.