I spoke to Stuart Pedersen just days before he was due to set sail on his Pacific adventure.
We had been discussing the possibility of his writing a regular column for the Bay of Plenty Times.
Pedersen, a regular letter writer to the paper, had a talent for expressing his opinions in a clear and concise way. Admirably, he tackled the issue rather than the person when writing a response to a view he did not agree with.
He wrote on a broad range of topics, but key themes were the importance of taking personal responsibility - that we are the masters of our own destiny - and a general concern about the state unnecessarily intruding on individual's daily lives.
A thought-provoking opinion piece he wrote in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks showed his talent for stating his case. He wrote insightfully about the need for Kiwis to better understand each other and build bridges and find common ground.
He argued this should be done at a personal level rather than through a Government-led "national strategy". Such a strategy would miss the point because the problem was not collective, it was individual and personal.
• Premium - Stuart Pedersen farewelled after yachting tragedy off Cape Brett
• Premium - Tauranga sailor and Act Party candidate Stuart Pedersen remembered for 'giving heart'
• Tauranga sailor Stuart Pedersen dies after yacht sinks north of Cape Brett
"If we want to get to know and understand Muslims and others, we need to find ways to meet one or two, through work, recreation or whatever and invest some of our own time. Palming it off to yet another working party is lazy and futile," he wrote.
While enthusiastic about the prospect of penning a regular column for the paper, he suggested we postpone the start date until after his trip. He told me he'd contact me on his return.
Dawn Picken: My 10 pieces of advice for my teenage son
It wasn't to be.
Pedersen, wife Pamela, her brother-in-law Stephen Newman and fellow Tauranga sailor Bruce Goodwin, had nearly reached Cape Brett in Northland on the return leg of their journey when the yacht began filling with water in turbulent seas last week.
As the yacht sank, Goodwin activated his personal locator beacon, sparking a dramatic rescue.
Pedersen, however, did not survive.
I was shocked when I heard the news. In the days following the tragedy, I learned a lot more about Pedersen and the way he lived life.
He was passionate about individual choices and personal responsibilities but was also compassionate and eager to help others. He lived life to the full and wanted to make a difference.
At his funeral yesterday, mourners were told of how he went out of his way to introduce young people to sailing through the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club.
He established the Bay of Plenty Sailing Academy Trust and matched donations dollar for dollar to get it off the ground. He also played a critical role in establishing Sailability to introduce people with disabilities to sailing.
All the signs were there that he would have continued to contribute to his community.
Pamela said he had "great plans" for what he wanted to do on his return.
"He wanted to make a difference, and he was excited by that and was ready to hit the ground running."
"The whole community that he loved so much has lost a mighty man."
Indeed we have.