On this Day 18 October. A Peek Into Our Sailing History

by Richard Crockett

Today is almost all about how tough it is going to sea in terms of disasters and near disasters, especially to ‘Voortrekker’ as the headline shouted: “Cracks Could Have Spelt Disaster For Bruce”. Another report raises the thorny issue of bureaucracy in our sport – something I detest.

Bertie was due into Cape Town this time 33 years ago on the first leg of the BOC Challenge. Another headline said: “sailors bring fever to Cape”.

And while not duelling it across oceans, Aussie tycoons were battling it out in the America’ Cup trials.

The headline that I identify with most is a wonderful editorial written by master wordsmith Dave Beattie entitled: Landlubber Martin the forgotten man”. It’s a really good read.

And we close with the headline, in 1991, stating that the Rio fleet could top 200!

1968. ‘Cracks Could Have Spelt Disaster For Bruce’. Bruce Dalling could easily have been dismasted in mid-ocean during his recent transatlantic yacht race. CLICK on this link to read all about it:  1968 10 18 308

1969. ‘Trouble Ahead for the Dues Dodgers’. “Looks as though the bay’s covered in snowflakes,” was the comment I overheard earlier this month when the opening cruise of the new yachting season was taking place. CLICK on this link to read all about it:  1969 10 18

1969. ‘Ketch in Sea Storm Drama’. “It was our first trouble – and our last” quipped an exhausted American yachtsman, 45-year-old John Lewis, when his ketch was moored safely in Durban harbour last night. CLICK on this link to read all about it:  1969 10 18a

1986. ‘Bertie Due In Today’. Bertie Reed, sailing ‘Stabilo Boss’ is due in Cape Town today after streaking up the field in the first leg of the BOC Challenge round-the-world yacht race. CLICK on this link to view it:  1986 10 18 125_Redacted

1986. ‘Sailors Bring Fever to Cape’. “If only…” sigh the yachting fans, many of who have had little sleep since local hero John Martin was first to cross the line and arrive at the Royal Cape Yacht Club bringing BOC round-the-word race fever with him. CLICK on this link to view it:  1986 10 18 126

1986. ‘Aussie Tycoons Battle it Out in Big Yacht Race’. Multi-millionaire Alan Bond, who won the America’s Cup for Australia in 1983, sends his two yachts into the water today to battle with four other Australian hopefuls for the right to defend it next year. CLICK on this link to view it:  1986 10 18 525

1986. ‘Wreck scare for BOC Yachtsmen’. After 7 100 tough miles at sea and 20 days without the use of an automatic steering device, exhausted French yachtsman Jean-Yves Terlain was pipped at the post by one minute and 20 seconds by American Mike Plant in a Class II boat yesterday. CLICK on this link to view it:  1986 10 18 528

1990. ‘Solo Sailor’s Lucky Escape’. A Swedish pensioner who is sailing single-handedly around the world has arrived in Durban with a harrowing story of how his battered yacht almost sank when it was caught in gale-force winds about 65km off the Natal coastline on Monday night. CLICK on this link to view it:  1990 10 18 393

1991. ‘Landlubber Martin the Forgotten Man’. A year ago his name was on everyone’s lips; the world was at his feet. CLICK on this link to view it:  1991 10 18 412 25

1991. Rio Fleet Could Top 200′. The Cape-to-Rio yacht race is on, and that’s official. CLICK on this link to view it:  1991 10 18 412 26

Comments and contributions are welcome. Email: editor@sailing.co.za

What is “On this Day” About?
I am busy archiving many boxes of press cuttings I have accumulated and which I guestimate run into tens of thousands! A daunting task which I believe to be necessary before ditching them as I have been concerned for many years about the lack of interest Clubs, Classes and other sailing related organisations give to preserving their history.

This is my personal crusade, and instead of simply archiving and keeping the contents away from prying eyes, I will share my spoils in the hope that you will enjoy reminiscing as much as I have, and continue to do as I wade through the labourious process of scanning each and every cutting in my archives.

As each scanned cutting will be searchable, I will be able to create presentation packs personally tailored to a persons exact requirements – ie. Rothmans Week, the NCS Regatta, the Rio Race, Mauritius Race, Vasco da Gama Race and more – or simply by the name of an individual (like Ant Steward and his open boat exploits) who want a record of his/her sailing career for the family archives.

I have already done this by scanning in excess of 4000 pages of material I have on ‘Voortrekker’ – from idle chatter, to concept, to the formation of what ultimately became the South African Ocean Racing Trust (SAORT), to the fruition of the 1968 OSTAR Race in which Bruce Dalling and ‘Voortrekker’ excelled – and even beyond that.

Comments and contributions are welcome. Email: editor@sailing.co.za

The possibilities are endless – so watch this space.