Asbjørn Damhus

On the 6th April 203, we gathered to pay tribute to Asbjørn Damhus, a kind and supportive colleague and a brilliant Physics teacher for over 20 years. 

Asbjørn arrived at Atlantic College at the turn of the millennium as a teacher, but it was his second prolonged visit to UWC Atlantic. His father’s job at Berkeley University took him to America at a tender age, and after school in Denmark he came to Atlantic College in 1973 as a student.

Here his love affair with boats and building gathered pace. When Thor Heyerdal paid us a visit, Asbjørn took him out to sea. Thor repaid the compliment in style: taking Asbjørn on the amazing Tigris expedition in 1978. Back in Denmark, studies of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Copenhagen were interrupted by another encounter, this time with the balloonist Kai Paamand at the Danish Adventurers’ Club. Asbjørn was airborne for ten years, in Pennsylvania and Australia, but the sea called him back, first to Bornholm and finally returning to St Donats. 

The seafront was in disarray at the time, ready for a wise old Dansker with a ballooning scar to tutor crews of students. Under his watchful eye, method steadily began to conquer madness. The bollard at the top of the slipway regained its shine as boats were lowered into the water in the time-honoured fashion. Confidence grew, and the next few years were glorious: expeditions became possible again, Lundy a conceivable goal. The boat-building workshop reopened, and Asbjørn,  together with Paul Dowling, brought back old skills that produced new boats. 

Sadly, Asbjørn lost his courageous battle with cancer this week and leaves behind his wife Janet and his daughter Shanti (Class of ‘22) and an amazing legacy of students who have benefited from his passion for teaching as he sets sail on his final adventure. 

So farewell, seafarer, on your new adventure. Bon voyage on the biggest sea of them all.