“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 1995 Optimist Nationals

by Richard Crockett

It’s time to close the lid on this Optimist thread as it’s been running for a few weeks now, and as there is so much history of the sport in our country to share, we move on as of tomorrow.

Plus, the final pics as scanned from my archives will all be used up today. Please note that the full colour pics have never been published before unless used in the magazines. I used to select just a one or two from each roll of film and archive the balance. In this digital age and with the time and good equipment to scan, I am now able to use every single pic – with the result being some top shots I missed when selecting slide (transparency) images with a magnifier.

But back to the ‘95 Optimist Nationals which, as normal was, a hard-fought affair, and captured in print as follows: “It does not happen often that an Optimist national champion defends his title, more often than not he is too old or too big to sail Optimists again. We were fortunate that last year’s champion, Richard Booth, was present at Langebaan. He put in a very serious bid to be the first skipper ever to win two Nationals in a row (Jonathan Swain won twice, but not in successive years) and after three races was in the lead. He was however, strongly challenged by some of the younger lads, like John (“JJ”) Eloff and Edward van Reenen as well as worlds team member Jamie Waters. In the end it was these four skippers who were clearly ahead of the rest of the bunch and fought it out for gold.”

And “girl-power” was prevalent too as reported here: “The first girl (in fifth position) was Lindsay Samuel, a terrific result from the petite Transvaal girl on the choppy Langebaan waters. Her result equals that of Dale Hudson in 1991 and Leanne Holiday in 1979. No girl has ever finished better than fifth in a South African Optimist nationals, so there is something to go for, ladies!”

Tomorrow I commence a series on the famous yacht ‘Stormvogel’.

READ THE OPTIMIST REPORT HERE:  Pages from 1996 02 – SAILING Magazine – OCR