On this Day – 24 October. A Peek Into Our Sailing History

by Richard Crockett

To read the full reports, click on the LINK following the headline.

At this time of the year, every year, round-the-world cruisers start turning up at our ports, all with wonderful stories to tell and share with the landlubbers. Today in 1967 was no different! Plus there is a report on an overdue ketch sailing between Lourenco Marques and Durban.

A report in the Cape Times talks about the “460-mile Agulhas race this year”, in what appears to have been the inaugural Agulhas Race? What a pity this race has not stood the test of time.

The SA Navy had confirmed that two of its vessels would be competing in the 1985 South Atlantic Race to Uruguay.

The Fairest Cape said the headline in 1986. But the copy says: “The people of this sub-continent have contrived to turn their fairest Cape into the foullest Cape, and the cleansing of it will not be easy.

And is if a surprise that John Martin is back in the news? Not really as he was at the height of his singlehanded sailing career then. And on the back of this Gautier’s 16-hour penalty in the BOC Challenge was still making waves.

So there’s lots to read today.

1967. “A ‘Not All Romance’ Yacht Voyage”. It all started when Mt Gordon Simmons, a civil engineer of Los Angeles in the United States, began reading “all those books about romantic voyages round the world.” Early today he arrived in Durban with his wife, Cookie, and 17-year-old daughter, Carol, after sailing their 30′ ketch, ‘Atea’, through a night of gale-lashed seas. To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1967 10 24 b

1967. “Ketch Is Overdue”. The ‘Carina’, a 31′ ketch being sailed single-handed from Lourenco Marques to Durban, is overdue and there are fears for its safety. (ED. This is the beginning of a massive story which lasted for several days). To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1967 10 24.

1969. “460-mile Agulhas Race this Year”. In what is being regarded as a trial of sailing skills among possible skippers and crews for the 1971 Cape-to-Rio race, about 30 ocean-going yachts are expected to take part in a testing, 460-mile race around Cape Agulhas in December. To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1969 10 24 957_Redacted

1984. “SA Ships to Sail in 1985 Race to Uruguay”. The South African Navy has confirmed that, thanks to last-minute sponsorship, both of the Navy’s well known ocean racing yachts, ‘Voortrekker’ and ‘Voortrekker II’, will take part in the 1985 South Atlantic race to Uruguay. To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1984 10 24 315

1986. “Fairest Cape”. The decision by the organisers of the Whitbread round-the-world race to drop Cape Town as a port of call may seem but a small thread in the blanket of sports isolation that covers the republic, … . To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1986 10 24 153

1986. “John Martin Earns Hat Trick Honour”. Springbok yachtsman Lieutenant-Commander John Martin is the South African Navy’s Sportsman of the year. To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1986 10 24 166

1990. “One mistake costs Martin R250 000″. “I’ve lost R25 000 in an hour and a half: not even a used car salesman could have done that to me” said Springbok solo yachtsman John Martin. To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1990 10 24 393

1990. “Sailor Gautier’s 16-hour Penalty Still Making Waves”. Alain Gautier’s 16 hour time penalty in the BOC Challenge is still causing controversy, although the race committee has decided it stays. To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1990 10 24 393

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. Rathmines 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.