by Richard Crockett
I always enjoy interaction with followers of this Blog, with Frans Loots being one of those guys with a long memory of “things sailing” going so far back that I wonder how he stores all this knowledge.
He reminded me of the saga of the Mistral that sneaked out of Durban harbour in 1978 and sailed to the Seychelles and then later to the Maldives. The skipper was Lazlo Groh.
Lazlo’s way is really not the way to do things, firstly sneaking out of Durban harbour without the proper clearance and more, and undertaking such a passage in such a small and untried boat in the open ocean.
Now not for a single second do I decry what he did as I do believe that too much attention is given to paperwork and what is seaworthy and what is not, and not enough attention to the calibre of the person and his, or her, seamanship abilities. After all, the sea is free as is the wind, and some people just have to experience it no matter what.
Small boats have crossed oceans, many on a wing and a prayer, but they have done it. This Mistral defied the odds, as did Anthony Steward on his open boat circumnavigation, and many other before them. Any many more will do it too.
So read the story of ‘Miss-X’ and then decide whether you would have done that passage in a similar boat?
READ IT HERE: Pages from 1980 03 – SA Yachting – OCR – Miss-X