“Talking Sailing” from my archives. The Buccaneer

by Richard Crockett

An avid follower of my scribblings is David Staniforth who recently mentioned that I should give the Buccaneer keelboat class some coverage as he fondly remembers his time sailing them in tough conditions in False Bay.

It’s easier said than done as try spelling the name Buccaneer? Not so easy as it has been written in several different ways over the years, so one has to word-search every option to drill down deep into the digital archives to find the info.

The best way to open coverage of this bullet-proof yacht is to first go bak to the book “Yachting in Southern Africa” by Anthony Hocking as he gives a good overview. This is what he said:

“BUCCANEER three-berth offshore racing/cruising keelboat
L.O.A. 7 100 mm (23 ft 3 in)
Beam 2 300 mm (7 ft 6 in)
Displacement 1088,6 kg (2 400 lb)
Sail area 22,15 sq m (238 sq ft)
Essentially a scaled-down version of the Royal Cape One Design, the Van der Stadt designed Buccaneer arrived in South Africa in the mid-sixties-though known then as the Primaat. One or two boats were already sailing at the Cape and in Durban when the magazine Yachting World adopted the design and renamed it. With the rising cost of the RCOD a growing number of enthusiasts turned to the smaller craft, and in 1967 a Buccaneer Class Association was formed in Cape Town.

“With its simple construction plan – five frames to the RCOD’s thirteen – the Buccaneer has proved a favourite with the home builder, and in the class’s short history forty have been launched in South Africa and many more are in the building. The majority of these are in the Cape, though a pocket has been developed on the Vaal Dam, and there are Buccaneers too in Durban and Port Elizabeth. With three berths and a galley, the design has proved ideal for long-distance racing and extended coastal cruising.

“In the strict sense of the term the Buccaneer is not a one-design class, for the class rules provide for both iron- and lead-weight keels. On the other hand the class constitution is so strict on rule observance that a new glass-fibre hull marketed in Johannesburg was declared inadmissible because the original design provided for marine plywood hulls only. Whether the new hulls were to be allowed depended on the decision of the designer himself, the class association committee declared.

“Though there is little news to hand of the progress of the Primaat/Buccaneer overseas, it appears the class has been adopted by clubs in Italy, West Germany and Switzerland, and is doing well. The South African Buccaneer Association, however, stands on its own – but anticipates a long career.”

In the July 1966 issue of SA Yachting magazine, Bianca Lavies wrote the following:
“Blue Peter to set sail . . .
Another 22-ft. Van der Stadt-designed Buccaneer has joined the Durban fleet. The craft, belonging to Leslie Peyton, was christened Blue Peter by Mrs. Hugh Foord wife of the late Dr. Foord, at the slipway before launching early one Saturday morning. Crowds gathered round to see the sleek well-finished little keeler enter the water.

“I am delighted Mrs. Foord was able to be present” said Mr. Peyton, “as it was her husband who persuaded me to finish this yacht which was started by David Cox.

“It was also his idea that we should start a flag class and that is why I called her Blue Peter. We already have Malcolm Prentice’s Jolly Roger, the only Buccaneer in the Durban fleet, and three or four other people are also interested in building.

“David Cox had worked on her hull for five months when I took over. We had her in our garage for the next 15 months, which was a tight squeeze. I had to give up sugar to get round her!

“We will miss having her at home,” added Mrs. Peyton. “We sort of got used to having her around to work on at week-ends … “.

In a letter to the Editor of SA Yachting published in the August 1967 edition, a person by the name of R. D. Vos wrote that he felt the magazine should be encouraging a class of keelboat that would cost R1 500.00 to build.

The Editor suggested that the Buccaneer would fit his requirements, and this was followed by the following letter from the Buccaneer Class Association under the “Forging Ahead …” headline.

Dear Sir,
The president of the Buccaneer Class Owners’ Association has asked me to send you copies of the minutes of our first meeting and the draft constitution.

The present position is as follows: The Cape Buccaneers are, in order of launching:

1 Naiad, G. F. Stock , R.C.Y.C.:
2 Jumbo, C. H. Knipe, F.B.Y.C.:
3 Outlaw, J. W. Bull. F.B.Y.C.;
4 Hadyanna, G. Rutenbeck, R.C.Y.C.;
5 Cameo, F. J. Bergh and J. A. Golding. F. B.Y.C.
Nos. 7. 8. 9 and 10 are in various stages of construction.

I am less sure of my facts regarding the Durban boats, but gather that the first is Jolly Roger owned by Malcolm Prentice. She has done well in ocean races, even against the Royal Cape One Design Tekwini. I understand that Durban’s second Buccaneer is Blue Peter owned by Leslie Peyton. She has the cast keel conforming to the Yachting World Buccaneer plan and is apparently faster than the first boat which has the made-up keel. I gather that David Cox of the Point Yacht Club, pioneered Buccaneer construction in Durban. Douglas Glennie is building a third boat in Durban.

G. B. Weale is building a Buccaneer in Port Elizabeth.
Thus we have definite knowledge of 14 Buccaneers in the Republic so far. .

The first meeting of the Association under the chairmanship of Mr. C. H. Knipe (president). invited Mr. lvor Jamison to help guide in matter concerning constitution, rules, measurers, S.A.Y.R.A. recognition, etc. It is clear that a one-design class is anticipated.
This is shown by the following points: hull shape, cast keel, sails, mast height and rigging, etc .. must tightly conform to the official plans. Certain latitude will, however, be allowed – cabins may (with the permission of the Association) be made a little larger than (but not smaller than) as shown on the plans; at first there will be no restrictions on mast materials and cross-sections and, regarding keels, existing boats will be accepted even though they may have ·”made-up” keels.
E. C. Leisegang,
Secretary / Treasurer

So above is some good basic info on the early days of the Class. Hopefully by tomorrow I will have been able to dig out far more info. Standby.