“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 6 ¼ Hours From Saldanha Bay

by Richard Crockett

The above headline caught my attention as just recently the annual Mykonos Race from Cape Town to Saldanha Bay took place, with mass retirements due to the low winds and the very real threat of missing “the party”!

Plus, the opening paragraph of this report being exactly what many crew think on tackling that CT – Saldanha passage.

“For a sailing boat the passage between Cape Town and Saldanha Bay is all too often a dreary, windless stretch with a lumpy, uncomfortable sea. The sort of thing guaranteed to put a newcomer off sailing for good. With this in mind ‘Falcon’s’ skipper and crew even discussed staying at home especially when the starting time of 3 p.m on Saturday was announced. However, ‘Falcon’s’ performance in recent races had indicated that he could match the Royal Cape One-designs which, with ‘Zeeslang’ their progenitor, have carried off the racing honours at the Cape for so long.”

It appears that flu was doing the rounds, with many crew showing symptoms or just getting over that lurgy. “Willy, (owner/skipper of ‘Falcon’) determined to cure himself, piled on the jerseys and swallowed half a bottle of rum. On Saturday night he felt really ill, but no-one knew whether it was the flu or the “cure”.” (Ed. This is definitely not encouraged for anyone going to sea).

Webb goes in to a lot of detail about the overnight passage with them rounding the mark in Saldanha Bay at 06h00.

“Now it was up to ‘Falcon’ – now she had to give us a ride home. And what a ride it was. By 14.15 we were to cross the finishing line – 65 mile in 8 ¼ hours – 7.9 knots average and the 65 miles is a straight-line distance.

“However, the fabulous ‘Zeeslang was to make this run look silly with her all-time Bay to Duncan Dock record of 6 ¼ hours. What a magnificent time and how Cliff Leih and his crew must have sailed to make it.

As is normal for Gordon Webb, this report is full of good information and advice. All offshore sailors should read it.

READ IT HERE:  Pages from 1967 10 – SA Yachting – OCR