by Richard Crockett
I have picked this regatta specifically today as I recently scanned some very old slides (transparencies) taken during the event, and share these as many of our young sailors today simple laugh or dismiss the fact that one would ever consider racing a Miura, Impact, Petersen 33, RCOD – or in fact most of the boats in these pics. But that’s what we did and all the BIG names in top-flight racing were in attendance.
“Back in the day”, these were the boats turning heads, and the boats winning high profile regattas such as Mainstay Week and Rothmans Week.
Plus, I remember sailing in the event as crew aboard the RCOD Schatzi. Ours was always a touch-‘n-go entry as the boat was shipped from CT, but only unloaded at 01h30 on the morning of the first race – about 8 hours before the start. The crew literally had to step the mast, find all the blocks, shackles and fittings that are removed for shipping, clean the boat, prep her for racing and get to the start line – which we did by a whisker. None of the crew had ever raced an RCOD, so this was definitely a rookie outfit. But we finished 3rd overall in class.
Was it the boat, luck or skill?
Schatzi was always know as the fastest RCOD ever built, irrespective of who sailed her, so maybe there’s the answer. A future article will cover the differences between the different boats.
So back to Mainstay Week. This was the brainchild of the PYC who knew that the Club needed a keelboat event of similar stature to the very popular and highly competitive Rothmans Week, and they produced it in a big way.
Shipping, free if my memory serves me correctly, attracted the top Cape boats, while our landlocked sailors took the opportunity to get some salt on their faces.
And who will ever forget the endless supply of miniature bottles of Mainstay liberally dished out at every opportunity by eager Mainstay staff and gorgeous girls. If that brew did not hook you for life, it probably scarred you for life!
Precision organisation and of course the warm Durban weather and water all contributed to its success as numbers grew exponentially in the five years that Mainstay sponsored the event.
I have many black & white pics of the event too, but those remain buried somewhere in the archives and will emerge when they are good and ready. In the meantime enjoy this selection.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: 1978 09 – Mainstay Week combined pages_Redacted
What is “From My Archives” About?
After many years, in fact decades, of collecting material on our sport and wanting to sort and organise the information into an archive that was more user-friendly, I started with many boxes of newspaper cuttings I had. This entailed digitising and scanning every single one, and saving them in a chronological date order – a daunting task as there are in excess of 20 000 cuttings.
While doing this I decided to share my material in the form of “On this Day. A Newspaper History of Sailing”. That was at the very end of September 2019, and it ran daily with several newspaper cuttings per day for an entire year.
In between archiving the newspaper cuttings I was also delving deeper into my photo and magazine archives which span a period of some 60 years from about 1957 to 2017. These too are being digitised.
So much that is interesting has caught my eye, I have decided that now is the time to start sharing this information too.
I have only just begun scratching the surface of my archives, but the joy I get from them every time I do some digging makes me determined to preserve the history of our sport and share it as far and wide as possible. It’s become a personal crusade – maybe even an obsession.
My Plea – Please Share Your Sailing History
If you are interested in preserving the rich history of sailing in RSA, my plea to you is to please assist me by sharing your personal archives, photos, press cuttings and whatever with me, committee records and more so that I can scan them and share them widely. My promise is that I will treat them with the utmost care, and get them back to you safely. So far Don Pfotenhauer; Richard Bertie; Dudley Dix; Dave Elcock; Frans Loots, Len Davies and others have shared their scrap books and files with me.
There are big gaps in my archives, so should you have material that you are willing to share please make contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s chat.
What is Possible
As each newspaper cutting and article is text-searchable, I am able to create presentation packs personally tailored to a person’s 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) – for those who want a record of his/her sailing career for the family archives.
I have already created a stand-alone 4000+ page PDF document of 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 – and exciting.
Sharing From These Archives
Should you wish to copy, forward or share material from here, PLEASE acknowledge the source as: Sourced From the SAILING Mag Archives & Historical Records (www.sailing.co.za)