On this Day – 8 October. A Peek Into Our Sailing History

by Richard Crockett

There is not much in my archives yet from the ‘60s and ‘70s, although I did manage to sniff out two interesting pieces from 1969. The balance are from the ‘80s and early ‘90s – and make interesting reading.

1969. Rhodesian to Skipper SA Yacht. The Daily News reported that Rhodesia’s Olympic yachtsman, David Butler, was to skipper a South African yacht in the 1971 Cape Town to Rio race. CLICK on this link to read all about it:  1969 10 08 2

1969. Shaw 15th in yacht race. Sailing in Finn Class worlds in Bermuda, Ernie Shaw finished 15th in the first race. CLICK on this link to read all about it:  1969 10 08 a

1986. Birthday boy Martin riding on wind for hero’s welcome. The Cape Times reported that John Martin would celebrate his 32nd birthday alone at sea today. He was running before the wind at 12 knots and had just over 700nm to go to the finish. CLICK on this link to read all about it:  1986 10 08 081

1986. Action aplenty in America’s Cup. A captioned colour pic shows ‘America II’ with an hourglass in her spinnaker. CLICK on this link to read all about it:  1986 10 08 083

1986. Home-built yacht begins long journey to coast. Remember the heady days of home-built yachts being seen dotted around the suburbs countrywide? Well this one was completed in Bedfordview and was on her way to Richards Bay to be launched. CLICK on this link to read all about it:  1986 10 08 084

1992. Makhafola is bound for an adventure on the open sea. A 55-year old Atteridgeville messenger will crew in the 1993 Cape to Rio race even though he had never seen the sea or sailed on a yacht since he took part in the 1973 race. Douglas Makhafola was aboard a 56′ aluminium ketch skippered by Alan Dando of Knysna. CLICK on this link to read all about it:  1992 10 08 427 15

1992. Hi-tech Navy yacht. Maintaining their tradition of competitive yachting, the SA Navy – proud mentors of famous single-handed yachtsmen John Martin and Bertie Reed – have rallied to the challenge of the Rothmans Cape to Rio Race with a new hi-tech 70-foot racing yacht. CLICK on this link to read all about it:  1992 10 08 427 16

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.

The possibilities are endless – so watch this space.