“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Girl Wins Optimist Nationals

I HAVE GOOFED!  Apologies, but I read this as the Optimist Nationals (must have been too early this morning) – but enjoy this little bit of youth sailing history anyway – and the pics of Optimist sailors from years gone by. Apologies.

by Richard Crockett

I am not sure whether a girl has even won the Optimist Nationals after Gillian Theunissen did in December 1974? Maybe one of the Optimist class doyens has that answer?

And a deserving winner she was too as she won three of the six races and finished 10 points clear of her nearest rival Mike Vulliamy, with Dave Vinnicombe third.

Sailed from the Transvaal Yacht Club on Hartbeespoort Dam, nearly all the top skippers of the Republic took part in winds which were light putting the very strong Cape contingent of 16 boats (out of 48) at a disadvantage.

She had such a command of the conditions that one skipper was overheard saying this: “I think Gillian Theunissen can smell when the wind is going to change”!

The results column shows many a well known sailing name today, some of whom have gone on to achieve great heights, and is well worth a lengthy look.

Enjoy the next bunch of pics from my archives too, and please don’t forget to SHARE and COMMENT.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE:  Pages from 1975 02 – SA Yachting – OCR

Bruce Howard – son of John Howard of Finn fame – sailing for Westville Senior Primary.

E Braund and P Stuart.

Norman Barratt.

Garth Barrett.

Graeme King.

Part of the good fleet of Optimists up for the start of the Transvaal Champs.

There is no caption to this, although I wonder whether this was not a preliminary meeting with PSI Yachts to build the Optimist in GRP?
L_R. Peter Collins, Dave Booth, Basil Cooke of (PSI) and Gavin Smith.

Optimists bunching together in preparation for the start of the first round of the Transvaal championships.

The caption simply reads: Widerhold. Which one?

Again no caption – and again this has to be Jonathan Swain.

Optimists at the East Cape Interschools head for B buoy. Charlie Gilpin(785) of Woodridge, Nicholas Stephenson (453) of Redhouse and Lizanne Selley (654) of Collegiate.

Part of the fleet of 41 Optimists seconds before the start of the third round with Kim Harrington well placed.

A quieter moment during the Optimist championships where M Fanner of Pretoria is closely followed by William Tyson, Patricia Young and Bev Sawyer.

Tony Pereira instructs the group of students on the first of the ISC’s intensive training programmes.
Dated 2 November 1982.

This was in the Optimist files. Does anyone know who these people are and what event they were heading to?

Brad Shaw, son of Ernie Shaw of Finn fame, sailing for Virginia.