“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. ‘Miss-X’ the Mistral That Went Missing

by Richard Crockett I always enjoy interaction with followers of this Blog, with Frans Loots being one of those guys with a long memory of “things sailing” going so far back that I wonder how he stores all this knowledge. He reminded me of the saga of the Mistral that sneaked out of Durban harbour in 1978 and sailed to the Seychelles and then later to the Maldives. The skipper was Lazlo Groh. Lazlo’s way is really not the way ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. The Mistral 1/4 Tonner

by Richard Crockett Interest in the Mistral keelboat was pretty impressive in her day as sales were high and she was performing well on inland waters. One can sometimes gauge if a Class has “come of age” if it featured on the cover of the magazine which the Mistral did in March 1974. However, some intrepid soul entered her in a coastal race from Port Elizabeth to East London in 1974, although I have not been able to turn up ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Mistral 50th Anniversary

by Richard Crockett Thanks to all who responded to my request for info on local active sailing classes. I had missed the Laser (how could I!), and was specially delighted to hear from Graham Roberts who wrote as follows: “I’m amazed to hear the Mistral has reached its half century. I sailed the very first boat (‘Ponjaard’) on its launch day in the Round the Island race all those years ago. “I was at school with Lex Raas (his dad ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Which Classes Are 50 and Over?

By Richard Crockett While doing research into the Mistral Class which celebrates its 50th anniversary as a Class very soon, it struck me that there may well be several other classes, both dinghy and keelboat, may have achieved this status too. So I am going to ask those who follow this Blog, to help me get the info required. I am really only interested in those classes that are sailed in this country, and that still attain “reasonable” numbers at ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 50th Round the Island Race

by Richard Crockett 2008 was the 50th anniversary Round the Island Race which started in 1958 with just 40 or so boats! That’s a massive milestone as very few events in this country have achieved that 50th status. The Lipton Cup has of course done just that with the 67th challenge having been sailed in Saldanha Bay in August this year. In May, the Vasco da Gama Race was sailed for the 50th time. Other than these three events, I ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. RTI Race Record Broken in 2007

by Richard Crockett Yip, that’s right, Danie Colyn aboard his 30-foot Sea Cart smashed the race record bringing it under the one hour mark to set the record at 55 minutes and 37 seconds – also earning him a R10 000 prize. The line honours race was always amongst the multihulls this year, with the lone 49er of Alec Lanham-Love being the only “misfit” finishing in third spot. There was tons of interest in the race and new boats too. ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 2006 Round the Island Race

by Richard Crockett My old mate Roy Dunster always had a very different take on sailing events and the sport in general, and more often than not he was spot on with his comments, as I feel he was when he wrote this intro to the 2006 race report: “ Many stories about regattas in South Africa start off something like this: “…… but what the fleet lacked in quantity, it made up for in quality, etc., etc”. I’ve written ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 1999 ‘On the Rampage’ Wins RTIR

by Richard Crockett “Take a large portion of patience, a measure of luck, a touch of inspiration and a dash of local knowledge, place it all in a J27, and you have the recipe for light wind sailing success on the flat waters of the Vaal Dam. “Or so it seemed on Sunday January 17, when Rob Wilcox and Brian Sutherland took ‘On the Rampage’ to line and handicap honours in the 41st Round the Island Race.” That’s how SAILING ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 1991 Round the Island Race

by Richard Crockett The headline on the SA Yachting magazine report shouted :Tornado Rips Through Fleet”. And so it did, but not a Tornado that damaged the fleet or surrounds as it was a Tornado catamaran sailed by Garth Boshoff and Ralf Spargel which took the overall honours. And, they broke the record too, registering a quick 72 minutes for the course. Interestingly the time SA Yachting reported is very different to the time which SAILING Mag reported. It may ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 1982 – 1984 Round the Island Races

by Richard Crockett So here’s a bumper issue of reports on the Round the Island Races – 6 reports of the 1982, ‘83 & ‘84 races. What is clear is that Sponsorship of the event was becoming possible due to its increased stature in the sailing world, but to keep sponsors did not appear to be that easy. As always, this event has “wind and water” issues – the 1982 event a complete drifter, the 1983 being blessed with good ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Even Bigger in 1981

by Richard Crockett From 534 to 549 – it’s not a big leap forward, but it was a positive indication that the vent was in the hearts and minds of yachties as one of those on the bucket list of events to compete in. For the record there were 549 entries. Largest class, 92 Halcats. Fireballs were the largest dinghy class with 25. Largest recognised keelboat class, the Hunters, with 25. There were even 10 Soling entered. Oh, and for ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 534 Race Round the Island

by Richard Crockett It appears that the Round the Island Race on the Vaal Dam “came of age” in 1980 when 534 boats started the race, and a competing boat was on te cover of SA Yachting magazine. This 534 boat fleet was considered at the time as a record for a sailing event of its kind in Southern Africa . The entry of 181 keelers, 170 multihulls and 183 dinghies was perhaps also a good indication of the increased ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 1969 Round the Island Race

by Richard Crockett This is the 4th event I have covered in this series now, and still it is quite small and very localised despite attracting some attention from outside of the Vaal Dam. However all events take time to gather momentum, gain interest and indeed the trust of sailors, before blossoming forth and becoming great events. To grow one needs to re-evaluate the event each year, include more of what was good in the following year, and discard that ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Round the Island Race.

By Richard Crockett Whenever I search my archives I regularly come across references to the Round the Island race on the Vaal Dam, and it triggers a memory note that I should share info on this race. Today it is a very well run annual event organised by the Lake Deneys Yacht Club. The very first reference I can find of the event was in August 1962, in a very brief report that did not even give the number of ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Round Cape Horn As Bootlicker Explores the Frightful 50’s

by Richard Crockett Jerry Whitehead was a remarkable man, seaman and thoroughly good chap. He was simply one of those very likeable guys who did everything properly after having done thorough research. Having decided to enter the 1979 Uruguay Race, while studying the charts of the South Atlantic he realised that when he arrived in Uruguay at the finish he would never be closer to Cape Horn again in his life. So, quietly and competently he research what needed to ... Read More »