“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 41

 

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12 April 2016

issue – 41
by Richard Crockett
Publisher & Editor of SAILING Magazine

Reader response is welcome – respond to: editor@sailing.co.za

Readers are encouraged to share this with their sailing mates.

The Vasco da Gama Ocean Race is almost upon us again, and it’s shaping up to be a cracking race as 20 boats from across the country have entered, and with just a few days left before late entries close, there are 3 possible new entries. Time will tell if they materialise or not!

The latest race info is in the body of this blog.

There seems to be a lot of interest in the history of our sport in this country, judging from the requests I get for historical information. As a result there is an appeal in this regard in the body of this blog.

And interest in the Dabchick 60th anniversary is growing – and that too is covered later.

Enjoy this issue, and please share it with your mates as the more people “Talking Sailing” the stronger our sport will be.

In this issue we “Talk About”…
• Vasco da Gama Ocean Race
• The Best Meals at Sea
• Vasco Superstitions
• Safety is Not An Accident
• Cruising Club of America
• Syd Fischer Hangs Up His Sea Boots
• History of Sailing Locally
• Dabchick – 60th Anniversary
• Handicapping
• Kon-Tiki2 Expedition Ends
• A Sailor’s Wine Collection
• Castaways Rescued
• Desert Regatta an Epic Outback Adventure
• Historical Dates of Interest in March & April
• How True! This Simply Needs to Be Said!
• I Like This!
• Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
• A Lasting Gift – A Subscription to Sailing Magazine
• Sailor of the Month – Submit Your Nomination Now
• To Subscribe to “Talking Sailing”

Vasco da Gama Ocean Race
This iconic ocean race starts on Saturday 23 April at 12h00 off Durban’s North Pier. It has attracted 20 entries, with a few stragglers possibly going to enter late, and two known withdrawals.

It’s grown significantly in popularity since the course was changed to take it to Port Elizabeth, as last year there were 19 entries with 17 starters. The question is what makes the race so attractive?

It’s an iconic race with over 40 races having been started since inception. It is also the oldest ocean race in the country, giving those who still have a yearning to go to sea and test themselves, their crew and their boats against the elements, a safe environment in which to do so and achieve their dreams and goals. It’s bit like running the Comrades marathon – once the bug has bitten, it’s very difficult not to strive to improve one’s performance each and every year.

Or as one round the worlder told me many years ago when asked why he sailed on his own, his reply was simply this; “It’s like walking around with a stone in your shoe. When you take it out it really feels good!”

Rob van Rooyen won the race overall on handicap aboard ‘Al Mount Gay Rum’ last year, and he’s back again this year to defend his title and attempt the double of line and handicap honours. This despite sailing a round trip of nearly 2000 nautical miles from Cape Town to Durban and back. He’s now hooked and we hope to see him in many more races in future years.

Last year Bernard Farmer was hoping to do the race, but simply could not pull it off. He persevered and planned early for this year, and is now on his way to compete in his first Vasco. He too will be like van Rooyen, with a 2000nm passage. There are many more stories similar to these as ‘Rotary Scout’ and ‘Rocket’ are putting in the miles being Cape Town based too.

‘Rocket’ was assisted close to St Francis Bay by the NSRI after some rudder damage, yet Herbie Karolius was not going to let that get in his way and prevent his racing, so he beat the odds and is back on passage to Durban for the race.

The Smart-Tri 40 which is Seychelles based was on her way until she too damaged her rudder. They went back to the Seychelles, repaired the damage, and headed off again only to have to pull into Nose Be at the northern end of Madagascar for further rudder repairs. Many a delivery crew would have thrown in the towel, but these guys overcame the odds and are on their way again, determined as ever to get to the start.

These are just some of the inspirational stories from the race so far this year, as keen yachties simply want to compete in this iconic race and proudly wear the ‘Vasco Badge of Honour’ – an invisible badge!

I salute all the crew doing this race – every single last one of them.

Entries
1 Rob van Rooyen/James Largier         Al Mount Gay Rum      Farr 38                              CT
2 Pierre Rossouw                                      Ithaca                              Hartley Tahitian ketch  DBN
3 Vernon & James Goss                          Bellissama                      Hanse 400                       DBN
4 Tony & Sigi Bailes                                 Nemesis                          Fast 42                              PE
5 Bernard Farmer                                     Shadowfax                     Charger 33                        CT
6 N Bransby/T Donald                            Deo Volente                   Lavranos 36                     DBN
8 Danie Colyn                                            SmartTri40                    SmartTri40                      Seychelles
9 John Tudehope                                      Wallbanger                    Simonis 35                       PE
10 Jasper van der Westhuizen               Izimoyo II                      Wayward 37                     St Francis
12 Willie Pretorius                                    Nina                                Elan Impression 444      Gariep Dam
13 Gregg Hurter                                        Bellatrix                          Beneteau First 40           DBN
14 Nigel Milln                                            Skitzo                              Fast 42                              DBN
15 Craig Millar                                           PYC                                 Dusky Corrida 36            DBN
16 Michael Kavanagh                               Ray of Light                   Beneteau First 44.7        DBN
17 Herbert Karolius                                  Rocket                             Simons 54                        CT
18 David Taylor                                         Alacrity                           Taylor 37                          R/Bay
19 Grant Chapman                                   Rotary Scout                  Tosca 36                           CT
20 Gabriel Fernandes                              Yes Girl                           L35 mod                           CT

Withdrawn
7 Don Voysey                                             Zeus                                 Fast 42                              R/Bay
11 Stuart Ritchie                                        CFM                                 M.A.T. 1180                     DBN

Last year Phil Gutsche and GIMCO (Gutsche Investment & Management Company) sponsored the tracking of the fleet. For the first time in an ocean race in this country we used dedicated marine tracking devices from YB Tracking (www.ybtracking.com) who supply the equipment to most of the major races in the world. The information available to family, friends, followers and the public was accurate, reliable and interesting. Phil Gutsche has again sponsored these trackers this year so that the race can be followed every 15 minutes, yes, positions will be updated every 15 minutes throughout the race, bringing the Vasco da Gama Ocean Race LIVE and right into the homes, offices and mobile devices of everyone interested. Plus there is a free App for Apple and Android devices to enable one to get updates.

Follow the Race here: http://yb.tl/vascodagama2016

Info on the race will be updated regularly on the Vasco da Gama Race Facebook page as updates in this medium are quick and simple to do, giving fresh news as and when it happens. Follow it here: https://www.facebook.com/VascodaGama2015/ – and yes 2015 is correct although coverage is for the 2016 race.

Better still LIKE the page and interact with other followers to really get into the swing of Vasco – so far over 1100 people are following the race.

We will have Andrew Heathcote doing a morning and evening race update on Facebook, as well as William Crockett who will bring his knowledge of weather, route planning and more to the Vasco party. Both will give insight into the tactics being deployed, the strategies as they play out, and info which will give hardened Vasco followers as well as landlubbers lots to think about and enjoy.

And for those who want to keep an eye on the weather, the best site is PredictWind (www.predictwind.com)

One just has to ask the Volvo Ocean Race crews about food at sea, and they all say they never get enough. For this reason Hylton Morris of MDM Marine Services is sponsoring a hearty crew breakfast on the morning of the start to ensure the fleet set off happy and with full stomachs. Okay, let’s not have the jokes about those who get queasy at sea and where their breakfast ends up!

As Stuart Ritchie’s new boat arrived too late to be prepared in time for the race, he has requested his entry fee be used to give those who finish a hearty meal as they step ashore. Talk about a well fed fleet! It was never like that in may day, but we are talking about the days of yore!

Incidently a really nice tradition of the Vasco race is that the crew of every boat who finish receive a hearty breakfast – irrespective of the time of the day or night. That breakfast is one of the finest meals any hungry, wet and cold yachtie will ever have – just ask them! Or believe me as I have had a few.

Thanks to Stuart Ritchie and Humerail Spar for looking after our hungry sailors, as well as Bidvest Car Hire who have offered all crew a special car hire rate.

The Best Meals at Sea
While writing this issue I saw a post on my Facebook page which is highly appropriate here. It is headed ‘Top 10 Meals and Snacks to Eat Whilst Sailing’.

It was posted on the Halcyon Yachts Facebook page, and was written by Pete Green.

“Everyone has their own favourite meal on a boat, and everyone has a meal that brings back memories, good or bad. For example, I cannot drink tomato cup-a-soup or coffee whilst on a yacht delivery, but I can sink gallons of tea and mushroom cup-a-soup! Yacht delivery crew tend to be a little less fussy on a boat especially if they haven’t had to do the cooking. Most of the favourite dishes are one pot or one dish wonders – always the best as can be made in most weather conditions” said Green

Here is a list of the top 10 voted meals:
1. Chilli con Carne – stand out favourite
2. Spaghetti Bolognaise
3. Curry and Rice- any variety
4. Pasta Pesto
5. Sausage and Mash
6. Risotto
7. Pastie and beans
8. Macaroni Cheese/Pasta Bakes
9. Shepherd’s Pie
10. Bacon, Bacon, Bacon!

And for those that like to snack… the Top 10 snacks are:
1. Chocolate – any variety
2. Fruit cake
3. Crisps
4. Biscuits
5. Gummy bears/Haribo
6. Fruit & Nut Mix
7. Ginger Biscuits
8. Cereal Bars
9. Fruit
10. Brioche – ones with the chocolate pieces

Anyone can comment on this on their site at:
http://www.halcyonyachts.com/top-10-meals-and-snacks-to-eat-whilst-sailing/

Please share your thoughts on this subject with “Talking Sailing” readers by e-mailing: editor@sailing.co.za

In my day it was curry, curry and more curry – with the crew I sailed with swearing blind that Crockett’s black East African curry was an absolute must on every passage.

I crossed the South Atlantic in the 1979 Cape to Uruguay Race with a skipper who loved curry, as did the crew, bar one. In fact the ‘loner’ hated curry so much that he would simply toss it over the side in protest much to the distress of the crew who would have gladly scoffed it. That skipper took great delight every morning in asking what was being curried for breakfast!

Sheperds Pie, sausage and mash – what were those people thinking?

Vasco Superstitions
There are many out there, although two in particular stand out in my mind.

I sailed with Brian Tocknell for many years and crewed for him in the very first Vasco da Gama Race to East London way back in 1977. He was absolutely paranoid about the colour green – not just at sea, but in his life ashore too. (Was this to get away with not eating his greens?). If anyone came aboard, especially before a race like the Vasco, with anything green, it simply went overboard. No matter the intrinsic or sentimental value, it was ‘deep-sixed’.

Now I never sailed with Gordon Neil, who was a tough old campaigner, and a strict skipper, but I know he was absolutely adamant that when one sailed past Mbashe on the Wild Coast, one had to eat curry and sprinkle champagne around the perimeter of the boat as an appeasement to the ‘Gods of Bashee’ and to ensure a safe passage.

On my many Vasco races the curry was never an issue as we always had plenty on board. Instead, we shared our rum rations with the Gods of Bashee – and more often than not we were let through safely. But on occasions the gods were angry for reasons unknown, maybe because they preferred Champagne, and gave us a damn good clubbing. Yet it was all character building stuff of which fond memories are made.

Safety is Not An Accident
This headline caught may attention in a recent issue of Scuttlebutt News.

As it is appropriate to those delivering boats to Durban for the Vasco race, or actually competing, as safety is certainly NOT an accident. It read as follows:

I never go offshore where I do not insist on having a jackline that runs from the bow to the stern. I wear a harness and a lifeline at all times. My harness is a climbing harness which is designed to stop a climber who has fallen while climbing. All of the harness is visible to me each time I put it on.

My lifeline has three carabiners on it, with one of them attached to the harness. The outer carabiner is attached to the jackline, which when we leave port is set up to be a free run from bow to stern. The other carabiner is half way up the lifeline. In case I am in a spot where something is obstructing my movement forward along the jackline, like a preventer or a jury rigged line that is crossing the jackline, I can attach the second carabiner beyond the obstruction, detach and reattach the first one and then move on.

The second carabiner is also handy to attach when I am at the mast or at any point where having a shorter tether is advantageous to my being able to use the lifeline to hold myself with a three-point stance, two feet and lifeline, allowing good use of both hands. In this case, the short tether becomes my “one hand for the ship”.

There are times when I am very thankful that my wife has always made me promise to use my harness.

Excellent advice from Tim Patterson.

Cruising Club of America
In 1922 the first Reader’s Digest magazine was published, radio arrived at the White House, and Babe Ruth signed a three-year contract with the Yankees. That same year also saw a quieter milestone achieved with the formation of the Cruising Club of America (CCA), and unlike many organizations with brick and mortar facilities, this club without walls is – 94 years later – still fulfilling its original concept: to aid mariners who are passionate about offshore sailing.

At a recent CCA AGM James Binch was elected Commodore, and said this:“I am keenly interested in the broadest possible connotation of seamanship and having the CCA at the forefront of education, including on-line and hands-on training relating to that. On my watch we also will significantly broaden our Technical Committee so that it includes the most prominent of our navigators, designers and naval architects, who can meaningfully address the topics of modern materials and designs, for monohulls and multihulls from an offshore passaging safety perspective. Similarly, as a leader in the advancement of rating rules, we will continue to move forward the dialogue concerning what is the most equitable VPP-based (Velocity Prediction Program) handicapping rule for our members and the North American sailing community, especially as it relates to Corinthian racing in modest-sized boats offshore.”

To be a member you have to have sailed several thousand miles offshore as either a watch captain, navigator or skipper. It is also not just an organization of cruising sailors as the name might imply as there are hard core racers too with 25% of the skippers in the Transatlantic Race 2015 being CCA members.

Sharing information gleaned through personal experience is the lifeblood of the club’s international membership. This fraternity of veteran sailors enthusiastically shares its experiential knowledge to promote cruising and racing by amateur sailors. https://cruisingclub.org

I mention this organisation as I firmly believe that SAS (South African Sailing) does not do enough for this sector of the sport. There is not even a sub-committee for the affairs of this large sector, nor a recognised offshore sailor as councillor to care for the interests of offshore keelboat sailors.

In the days of CASA (Cruising Association of South Africa) the affairs of offshore sailors were well cared for by a council of wise men all of whom were recognised and practising offshore sailors. There is dissatisfaction within the ranks due to this, and I can only urge SAS to address the matter.

Syd Fischer Hangs Up His Sea Boots
Known as the world’s oldest supermaxi skipper, Fischer has hung up his sea boots after an illustrious career in ocean racing. He is 89!

Fischer skippered his 100-footer ‘Ragamuffin’ to second place over the line in the last Sydney to Hobart yacht race despite suffering a terrifying knockdown when a wild storm clubbed the fleet on the first night. “It was a bit bumpy” said Fisher after finishing. When asked if he would compete again this year he said “maybe, if I’m still crazy enough’.

Sadly he will not be on the start line of that iconic race any longer as his loss of balance made it increasingly difficult for him to move around his boat, confining him below deck.

Besides overall wins in the Sydney to Hobart race, he has also won the Fastnet Race, the Clipper Cup in Hawaii and the 1979 Admiral’s Cup.

After a career like his he deserves to hang up those sea boots. May be they should be bronzed and turned into trophies.

History of Sailing Locally
Judging from several different editorial pieces in this blog and in recent SAILING Magazines there is an urgent need to preserve the history and heritage of our sport.

I get a sense that much of the history of our sport is ending up in rubbish bins around the country. There are many people who have their own personal sailing archives with many different bits and pieces in it from newspaper and magazine cuttings, to photographs, Club AGM reports, minutes and much, much more. And information on events is as important. But when they move on, families with no ties to the sport simply ditch them as they don’t know what else to do with them – and all that potential good material is gone forever.

I find that I am getting an increasing number of calls from readers wanting me to find info in old issues of both SA Yachting and SAILING magazines. Just recently I was requested to find info on the humble Lello 34 – who designed and built it, and even how many were built! Now that’s no easy task as it’s origins were pre-1965!

The sport also has no official historian, although Terry Gilman is documenting the history of Zeekoeivlei Yacht Club, and the Royal Natal Yacht Club had an impressive book written on its history for its 150th anniversary. The Royal Cape Yacht Club had a centenary book written on its history by Bill Rabinowitz.

If anyone has a copy of that book they no longer need, please contact me as I would like to read it and have it in my library and archives. editor@sailing.co.za

Over the years I have had several people pass on their archive material to me, for which I am grateful, and which I guard with pride and some jealousy too, lest it get into the wrong hands! Plus I have about four large archive boxes of material on Voortrekker, the Thesen’s built yacht which Bruce Dalling sailed so magnificently well in the OSTAR race way back in 1968. I also have several scrap books of the very early Cape to Rio Races – and these are a treasure trove in their own right as boat and people names, long forgotten, are recalled.

I have a particular interest in the history of the Vasco da Gama Race which will be sailed for the 45th time later this month, and have collected an impressive amount of information over the years, and build on this regularly.

My plea therefore is to request all yachties and their families to think carefully before simply discarding old sailing memorabilia in their possession, and to pass it on to a person or organisation with an interest in preserving our history, and who in turn will pledge NOT to destroy them, but pass them on to future generations for the rich legacy of our sport to be remembered – and enjoyed.

Mail editor@sailing.co.za if you would like chat about this.

Dabchick – 60th Anniversary
Responses are still coming in from Dabchick sailors all over the world about their Dabbie sailing days.

Anyone who ever had the good fortune to sail a Dabbie is requested to put pen to paper and send their thoughts and experiences, as well as some old pics to: editor@sailing.co.za

In the last “Talking Sailing” I mentioned Frans Loots’ comments on the Dabchick.

Shame, it seems that he has for so long suppressed his disappointment for never having had his own Dabchick, that he has gone out and found an old one which he is restoring. Now here’s the best part.

He plans to have the refurbished boat on the water in time for his 60th birthday in June. I just wonder if there will be an over 60s division in the Dabbie Nationals this year as there will be one VERY disappointed owner if he is denied entry!

I’m proud of you Frans.

How many other people have taken up the challenge of refurbishing old boats, or building new ones?

Handicapping
In my neck of the woods handicapping is very much a hit ‘n miss affair – and one which results in much acrimony, finger pointing and even the reduction in fleet sizes. It’s not just here, but everywhere – with the biggest problem being that some people believe themselves to be better sailors than they really are, that their boats are capable of much, much more and get clubbed by the handicappers, or the systems and rules used. The bottom line is that you simply cannot please all the people all the time.

The Cape have been looking into the use of ORC, and have run ORC results in parallel with IRC – with promising feedback. Here are some comparisons between the two.

Before that, I must point out that some boats are well prepped, well sailed and really well equipped by owners and crew who take pride in their boats and the crew’s performance. These boats and sailors will ALWAYS outshine and outperform, and even outwit (have you heard these three words elsewhere?) a boat and crew which simply pitches on the day and goes sailing.

ORC Rating Systems
Why do we need rating systems?
To allow boats of different sizes and characteristics to race each other with an equal chance to win. Rating or handicaps correct their elapsed time difference and put them on the same level.

What is an ideal rating system?
The search for a perfect rating system is as old as sailboat racing itself. Boat owners, sailors, designers and handicappers are always looking for solutions that work as boat designs change with time. However, regardless of what rating system is actually in use, an ideal rating system should have the following features:

• be fair to all boats, from cruisers to racers, with no strong typeforms in design
• be open, transparent and freely available
• have rules that are objective, non-biassed and open to input
• have ratings that are simple, but accurate
• have flexible scoring options for use with different course types
• be easy to use and understand
• be locally managed but available world wide

ORC Use Science
ORC Rating Systems use science and technology to develop its handicap systems. With a complete set of measurement of the hull with appendages, propeller, stability, rig and sails, it is then possible to use computer software called a VPP – for Velocity Prediction Program – to calculate the theoretical speeds for the boat in various wind conditions. With this powerful tool, that is updated yearly by a panel of experts in aero- and hydrodynamic science, the ORC rating system can tell you the performance differences between different boats in different wind conditions and course geometries.

Use of this system can help answer even more detailed questions, such as at what wind speed and wind angle will the asymmetric spinnaker be faster than the jib or genoa while reaching. Or what is the optimum beat or run VMG for a given wind speed.

And the system works for nearly every possible boat type: there are almost 70,000 records of ORC certificates issued worldwide in the last 20 years for boats ranging from 18 to 100 feet. These include standard production boats, one design offshore classes, custom boats and prototypes, classic or vintage boats. The only constraint for the system is that the boat must be a monohull.

IRC. The Rating Rule for ALL
What is so great about it?
• Rate your standard production cruiser/racer, classic or hi-tech racing yacht
• Great racing inshore and offshore
• From small local events to major national trophies
• Use the same rating in any event worldwide with an IRC class
• No local handicap adjustments
• Simple to calculate corrected time and position while on the water
• Single number, time-on-time rating (TCC)
• Calculated from basic boat data and configuration details
• Physical weighing and measurement by your local IRC measurer, if required
• Ability to run trial ratings to test effect of proposed changes
• Simple to amend rated data during the year
• Progressive approach to the rating of technical developments
• Allowances for full fitout and cruising features

IRC has been used for many years locally, and is praised by some, and loathed by others. Offshore sailors in the country need to put their heads together and find a solution for ONE system that will work for all with as broad a buy-in as possible – and then promote it hard.

It’s a tough one this, as ask anyone to get involved in handicapping, and they are off faster than Usain Bolt!

Kon-Tiki2 Expedition Ends
The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition has decided to end the expedition after 114 days and 4500 nautical miles in the South-East Pacific. The goal of the expedition had been to show that balsa rafts can sail from South America to Easter Island, and back. The Expedition reached Easter Island after 43 days at sea, but the return voyage proved more difficult due to atypical winds.

“We have shown that balsa rafts can sail to Easter Island. This is a first, in modern times. We have also made good progress on the return journey, but this is an El Niño year and the weather patterns we have encountered have been atypical. We realize that reaching South America will take too long and we prefer to evacuate to ensure safety for all”, said Expedition leader Torgeir Higraff.

The Expedition consists of two balsa rafts that left Lima in Peru on November 7 2015, and arrived on Easter Island just before Christmas. On January 6 2016, the rafts started the demanding return voyage.

In a normal year, they would have reached South America by now. Instead, they were still 900 nautical miles from land and the weather forecasts were not promising. The crew was in good health and spirit, and there was no emergency situation. These rafts have proven to be exceptional vessels at sea. They impressed with their seaworthiness in all sorts of weather, over enormous and remote waters.

The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition conducted important scientific research on climate change, marine life, plastics, and pollution in the Pacific.

A Sailor’s Wine Collection
Remember Bill Koch? I suppose few modern-day sailors will!

He won the America’s Cup in 1992 with the yacht ‘America³’ after defeating an Italian team.

His wine collection, well in fact just about half of it, is up for auction at Southeby’s on 19 May – with a staggering 20,000 bottles on offer and will be broken into 2700 lots with an estimated value of between $US10.5 million and $US15 million.

There are over 120 lots from the coveted Chateau Latour, including one comprised of six 1961 magnums, which carries an estimate of $US42,000 to $US60,000. There are also over 80 lots of Chateau Mouton Rothschild; one, comprised of 10 bottles of Mouton’s 1945 vintage, is estimated to sell for $US80,000 to $US120,000.

Castaways Rescued
Good old fashioned survival instincts kicked in for three castaways who were rescued from a deserted Island in the Pacific after Writing “HELP” on the sand.

The three men set out on their 19-foot skiff from Pulap in the state of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, when after a few hours, after their vessel was capsized by a large wave, and they spent the night swimming until they reached the uninhabited island of Fandadik, located approximately four nautical miles from Pulap.

Three days later, the men were spotted by a Navy P-8A aircrew as they waved life jackets and stood next to a large “help” sign made of palm leaves.

“The ingenuity of these men to build their sign and the preparedness of having lifejackets also contributed to their safe rescue,” the Coast Guard said.

I would have thought that what they did would have ben instinct, but in this modern age, and with an App to do it for them, maybe instinct is something lacking in modern society?

Desert Regatta an Epic Outback Adventure
Driving hundreds of miles through the Australian Outback with a boat in tow to a regatta in the desert is not an adventure for the faint hearted. But that was exactly the challenge taken up by the 20 rugged yachting crews who competed in this month’s Outback Spirit Lake Eyre Yacht Club Regatta.

Club Commodore Bob Backway said just getting to the site of the regatta on the Warburton River and Poondulanna Lake near Mungerannie in Outback South Australia was a challenge in itself.

“We only found this lake two weeks ago,” he said. “We had weather up to 37 degrees (Celcius) and not a lot of shade so you have to come prepared.”

Mungerannie is about 800km north of Adelaide, the South Australian capital, and is on the famous Birdsville Track. It is about 200km east of Lake Eyre, Australia’s biggest and the world’s 13th largest lake when full, which it hasn’t been since 1974.

The Lake Eyre Yacht Club has a membership of 220 people from all over Australia and some from the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. The club first hosted a regatta in the middle of Australia in 2010, but has not held an event since 2013 because of a lack of water.

For this year’s four-day regatta, 45 members packed their vehicles and 20 boats and travelled from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia.

Lake Poondulanna was shallower than lakes used for previous regattas, prompting some entrants to make last minute modifications to their boats by cutting down rudders.

Logistics are the hardest part of this race as not only are you travelling through the Australian Outback but you have no WiFi and it’s not like being in the city where you can just get to the closest mechanic if something goes wrong. One has to plan ahead as you could be out in the middle of nowhere for weeks.

The far north of South Australia is notoriously hot and dry for most of the year. Much of it is also below sea level, helping it attract flows from wet season rains in outback Queensland through a network of rivers that drain into a basin covering a sixth of Australia – about the size of Spain.

Hats off to the Aussies for persevering and getting in four days of racing.

Could Lake Eyre Yacht Club be a club for eccentrics only? Just wondering, although it may also be for those who really don’t like racing that often!

Historical Dates of Interest in April & May
22 April 1895. Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail around the world singlehanded, was issued a licence for ‘Spray’ in Boston, Massachusetts.

25 April 1848. ‘HMS Terror’ and ‘HMS Erebus’ were abandoned after becoming icebound while in search of the Northwest Passage.

28 April 1789. The day on which a mutiny broke out on ‘HMS Bounty’. Captain William Bligh and 18 crew were cast adrift on a lifeboat.

29 April 1969. ‘Pen Duick V’ skippered by Eric Tabarly won the first singlehanded Trans-Pacific race from San Francisco to Tokyo with an elapsed time of 40 days.

11 May 1820. ‘HMS Beagle’ was launched. She carried Charles Darwin on his voyage of discovery.

21 May 1980. The first 14 women graduated from the US Coastguard Academy.

28 May 1493. Christopher Columbus was given the title Admiral of the Ocean Sea.

How True! This Simply Needs to Be Said!
Some people just need a sympathetic pat on the head – with a hammer.

I Like This!
“I wanted freedom, open air, adventure. I found it on the sea”. Alain Gerbaul.

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
• I read with interest your article on the Dabchick. I would like to build one of these and request the info/plans to do so please. I have included ‘Sprog’ in the subject line as I would like information/plans for this yacht as I believe the same could be done for this class. It may just get more bums on boats. Great idea and thanks

• We have several old style booms , masts and sails in stock. If they are building boats this may help them keep down costs. They are not free but certainly I can let them have it at a good price. (We normally don’t permit advertising here, but as it’s for a good cause, will overlook this. Contact Joe at New Generation Yachting – ngy@hypermail.co.za)

• Captain, thanks for my monthly fix!

I had a chuckle recalling the two Solings that late and legendary Eric Budd kept at False Bay Yacht Club – not always with their blessing, I believe. One named “BEST” on the trots, the other named “2nd BEST” on the hard at an angle which eventually reached 45° off the vertical!

The moored Soling was regularly tended by Eric and a dutiful non-sailing support person. On arrival via the Club tender with a collection of boat parts of various makes and models – mostly inappropriate for purpose – the tender would make fast, Eric and ‘deckhand’ would move the upturned Optimist, sans transom, which served as a deckhouse to the bow along with much equipment left on board from previous sorties and proceed to load the new day’s bits & pieces.

By now the ‘deckhand’ had been abandoned up on the bow between the inverted Oppie and scrap bits and pieces including my old discarded Spearhead Sully section mast from which fittings had been drilled – and would have made a marvellous colander! – where he spent the rest of the visit until the tender was once again hailed.

The process was then repeated in reverse fashion until such time as the ‘deckhand’ was once again liberated and the tender carrying much less than when outward bound returned to shore.

No signs of progress were ever noted!

I believe that “2nd BEST” may have been committed to the scrapheap at the behest of the Club, but what happened to “BEST” escapes me. I’m sure someone like Billy Liesegang at FBYC could complete the story!

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Sailor of the Month – Submit Your Nomination NOW
SAILING Magazine, in conjunction with MDM Marine Services, North Sails and Southern Spars, back the ‘Sailor of the Year’ Award.

Monthly winners are featured in SAILING Magazine, with the overall ‘Sailor of the Year’ receiving a substantial cash prize.

Sailors of the Month – 2016
February    Phillippa Hutton-Squire
March         Sibu Sizatu
April            Mike Hayton

Sailor of the Year 2015
Stefano Marcia

Who can make nominations? Anyone (individuals, clubs, class associations or administrators) may submit nominations.
What are the criteria? The award is strictly for ‘sailing excellence’ or in exceptional circumstances, for ‘dedication to the sport’.
What is the procedure? All nominations must be fully motivated in writing, and must be accompanied by a head-and-shoulders picture of the candidate, plus an action sailing pic aboard his/her boat (unedited hi-resolution (300dpi) digital images are required). Motivations must include current performances, a brief CV of the nominee, and other pertinent, personal background information (age, school, employment, home town etc) so that an interesting editorial on the winner may be written. Failure to submit the required material will result in the nomination not being considered.
Deadlines. Nominations must be received by the 1st of every month, although this may be extended at the Editor’s discretion, so it is recommended to submit them as soon as possible.

If you think there is a sailor worthy of nomination, simply send the nomination with a motivation and a photo of the person toeditor@sailing.co.za