“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Optimists During 1974 + 15 Pics

by Richard Crockett

This is the year in which things certainly appeared to be moving for the Class despite most of the reported activity being in Natal and the Western Cape.

The first Western Cape inter-schools champs were held with 65 boats competing.
READ ABOUT IT HERE:  Pages from 1974 01 – SA Yachting – OCR

Zeekoevlei had just two classes being sailed by the juniors, the Dabchick and the Optimist where the Western Province Junior champs were held. There are many names in the results of this event who went on to become big names in the sport, with the scribe making this interesting comment: “It will be interesting to follow the sailing careers of these competitors as they mature. The healthy, enthusiastic competitiveness I am sure will one day develop them into good yachtsmen and international skippers.” Sadly the publication chose only to publish the Dabchick results!
READ ABOUT IT HERE:  Pages from 1974 04 – SA Yachting – OCR

The Natal Provincial Champs followed around mid-year with 31 boats on the start line, and “explosion of interest” as just 10 competed the previous year. Gavin Wadsworth, sailing an Optimist for the very first time won the first race, and the event overall, despite having had to retire from a race with mast step issues.
READ ABOUT IT HERE:  Pages from 1974 08 – SA Yachting – OCR

The big one that year was the Optimist Worlds in Switzerland with the following South Africans competing in a fleet of over 120 boats: Garth Barrett, Simon Bongers, Gary Holliday, Christopher King, and Richard Wedderburn-Clark who had the best individual race position of 18th.
READ ABOUT IT HERE:  Pages from 1974 10 – SA Yachting – OCR



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

Optimists head down river – so probably Zwartkops?

The Haliburton brothers Andrew and Peter racing with the Finns.

Second placed William Tyson from VLC following Arthir Draper of PSC.

Overall winner, Nicky Hooyberg from PSC rounding the weather mark.

Thomas Kasselman of Benoni who came 3rd,

L-R. Mark Rennison, Fiona Morley, Sandy Atteridge and Richard Wiederhold.

All the skippers from PSC.

Start of the first race.

The two teams from Benoni. L-R. Desmond Poole, Kim Harrington, Thomas Kasselman, Gary Crawford, Andrew Hibberd and Andre de Jong.

Kim Harrington from Benoni – the best placed girl.

The VLC team L-R.
Back. Tracy Willcox and Tandi Linderman.
Front. Mark Meintjies, Russel Mackie, William Tyson and Andrew Willcox.

PSC first team. Tim de Beer, Nicky Hooyberg and Hilde Aspeling.

L-R – Douglas Ward, Rowan Ditcham and James Ward from Forest Sailing Club.

The winning team L-R – Thomas Kasselman, Gary Crawford and Kim Harrington.