Man Tracks Down Mysterious Fisherman Who Inspired Legendary Electronic Music Producer's Tattoo

“Fail we may, sail we must.”

Raidió na Gaeltachta broadcaster Cian Ó Cíobháin has been intrigued by the story behind the late legendary producer Andrew Weatherall‘s tattoo, and the Cork fisherman that inspired it. In an interview with Dummy, Weatherall recounted exactly how his tattoo, which read “Fail we may, sail we must,” came to be. 

On the way to a gig in Cork, Weatherall struck up a conversation with his driver, who happened to be a trawlerman from the small town. After they each spoke of their professions, Weatherall asked the man if there were ever days where he didn’t want to get up and go to work. “Fail we may, sail we must,” was the fisherman’s response. The phrase certainly struck a chord with Weatherall, who ended up getting it tattooed on his arms. 

“I’ve got a pretty good work ethic and sometimes you have a heavy night and want to phone in poorly, but if this guy can captain a ship in a force 9 gale, I’m sure I can get up and spend two hours in a disco,” Weatherall told Dummy.

Ó Cíobháin became so invested in the story in the year since Weatherall tragically passed, that he cast out a net for more information on the identity of the mysterious fisherman. “I’m intrigued by how one seemingly throwaway remark has become so iconic. To all intents and purposes, it practically kickstarted a mini-cult,” tweeted Ó Cíobháin. After the broadcaster put out the inquiry in advance of an anniversary tribute show, he eventually found the identity of the fisherman.

“For years I had wondered who the 21-year old Cork fisherman who had told Andrew Weatherall the tale about skippering a trawler in a Force 9 gale was,” Ó Cíobháin wrote in a February 16th Facebook post. “Many of us had. Andrew would reference the story regularly in interviews as the reason why he went to a lot of trouble and expense to get the words ‘Fail we may, sail we must,’ tattooed on both his arms.”

“Well, this evening, on the eve of the first anniversary of the death of The Guv’nor, we finally located the young man,” the post continues. “His name is Gerard Sheehy and back in July of 2008, when a mate of his, asked him to ‘fill in’ for him and pick up Andrew and drive him to ‘Cork X Southwest’ festival in Skibbereen, Gerard duly obliged. He would get a free ticket for his endeavours and also spend the night in the DJ booth while The Guv’nor DJ-ed.”

Check out the full story below.

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Source: Irish Examiner

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