“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 1980 Transvaal Dinghy Champs

by Richard Crockett

By todays standards the 700 boats that turned out for the Transvaal Champs is a massive fleet that brings tears to the eyes as these days fleet numbers are generally paltry. Sad but true – so let’s not dwell on the negative and celebrate those glory days.

Yet there were problems even then as these two opening paragraphs from the report show.

“More than 700 boats took to the water for the annual Transvaal championships. This was encouraging considering the enthusiasm in yachting on the Highveld, but it also created problems for the Transvaal Sailing Association. What it boils down to is that most skippers and crews prefer to test their skill in this provincial event on the Vaal Dam.

“No doubt this is a reasonable request, as nothing can be more suitable for a major regatta than this vast stretch of water. But this popular demand causes problems for the host clubs, who are mainly orientated to keelboat sailing and find it difficult to provide additional facilities for a hundred or more dinghies.”

That aside, the Flying Dutchman Class had invited Ekhard and Jorg Diesch, world champions and Olympic gold medalists to compete and spend a month in the country spreading the FD word and coaching. Their presence must have lifted spirits in the FD class especially, and throughout all classes too.

As in the reports of the last few days, so many of our great sailors are mentioned in this report, some still active while others are simply armchair sailors today.

Plus I have specifically chosen the two-man spinnaker trapeze pic for today as, in my view, there is a dearth of this type of sailing today.

READ MORE HERE:  Pages from 1980 12 – final – SA Yachting – OCR

Finally, thanks to Malcolm Osborne for responding to my query regarding inter-club competitions. This is what he said: “Here in the Eden District, we have annual inter-club regattas, but in a different format to the Transvaal Inter-club, which was a dedicated event with selected teams from each club participating.

“Our inter-clubs are part of the open club annual regatta, with the club winner calculated on the points scored for top “N” sailors per club, with “N” being determined on the numbers per club (3, 4, 5). Most of the inter-school regattas are also scored on this basis.

“Redhouse has won the Knysna inter-club regatta several times in the past, however KYC, with its current strong Finn fleet, won it this year.

“George Lakes and Mossel Bay are the other clubs hosting inter-club regattas.”