“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Rio Race Fever

Mercury.

by Richard Crockett

As the news spreads that the very first South Atlantic Race from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro started on Saturday 16 January 1971 – nearly 50 years ago – now’s a good time to take readers back to this week in late 1970 as the interest in the race was peaking and newspapers were printing as much as possible on the race.

Coverage was at a fever-pitch as ‘people going to sea and crossing oceans in small boats’ was not a common occurrence in those days, so there was much to write about.

This week, 50 years ago, the Natal Ocean Racing Foundation (NORF), was at full steam with their fund raising efforts for their new boat Mercury, a Van de Stadt design. So much so that Anchor Motors supplied a new Ford Escort for them to raffle! And life membership to NORF was being sold – with the 200th member receiving his certificate at a NORF Life Members function at the Point Yacht Club.
READ MORE HERE:  1970 11 17 – Don Pfotenhauer Collection – Rio 1971 – 313 – OCR_Redacted

The Mercury newspaper also reported that 12 Durban-based yachts had entered the race. And in this article they touched on the taboo subject of yacht handicaps!
READ MORE HERE:  1970 11 17 – Don Pfotenhauer Collection – Rio 1971 – 314 – OCR

Another report indicated that Jakaranda, to be skippered by Bruce Dalling, was saved from possible damage while being unloaded from a ship. That same article also announced that a 53 year-old Cape Town grandmother, Mrs Mary King, was going to navigate Sprinter – the all-girl boat and smallest in the race.
READ MORE HERE:  1970 11 18 – Don Pfotenhauer Collection – Rio 1971 – 323 – OCR_Redacted

News of crew was not uncommon, with the acting deputy sheriff, Archie Snyman, being announced as a crewman aboard Ocean Spirit.
READ MORE HERE:  1970 11 19 – Don Pfotenhauer Collection – Rio 1971 – 317 – OCR_Redacted

And Jakaranda was in the news again, this time with more problems as the Tax Man was after her!
READ MORE HERE: 1970 11 19 – Don Pfotenhauer Collection – Rio 1971 – 318 – OCR_Redacted
READ MORE HERE:  1970 11 19 – Don Pfotenhauer Collection – Rio 1971 – 319 – OCR_Redacted
READ MORE HERE:  1970 11 20 – Don Pfotenhauer Collection – Rio 1971 – 320 – OCR_Redacted
READ MORE HERE:  1970 11 21 – Don Pfotenhauer Collection – Rio 1971 – 322 – OCR

A brief report announced the French entry ‘Raph’.
READ MORE HERE:  1970 11 20 – Don Pfotenhauer Collection – Rio 1971 – 321 – OCR

There are often problems encountered by yachtsmen planning adventures like the Rio Race, which sadly ended in disappointment for the crew of ‘Petralis’ as her sponsor had gone insolvent, forcing them out of the race.
READ MORE HERE:  1970 11 21 – Don Pfotenhauer Collection – Rio 1971 – 328 – OCR_Redacted