“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. The Launching of Stormvogel

by Richard Crockett

Frans Loots is an avid follower of these pages and suggested to me that the headline depicting ‘Stormvogel’ as a yawl is incorrect as she is a ketch. The opening article referred to her as a yawl, but later editorials refer to her as a ketch – so that’s what she will be. Thanks Frans for spotting that.

I am going to alter the order in which news appeared in SA Yachting as they wrote about her luxurious interior before her launching – with her launching being an important milestone.

I was interested that the following Hymn was read at ‘Stormvogel’s’ launching:

HYMN FOR SAILORS
(Read at ‘Stormvogel’s launching)

O Lord, be with us when we sail
Upon the lonely deep,
Our Guard when on the silent deck
The midnight watch we keep.

We need not fear, though all around,
‘Mid rising winds, we hear
The multitude of waters surge;
For Thou, O God, art near.

The calm, the breeze, the gale, the storm,
That pass from land to land,
All, all are Thine – are held within
The hollow of Thy hand.

So when the fiercer storms arise,
From man’s unbridled will,
Be, Thou, Lord, present in our hearts,
To whisper, ‘Peace, be still!’

Her launch was hurried as he had to leave in order to get to the Fastnet Race start on time, so sea trials and more were sparse with a passage to Saldanha Bay and back in light winds the only serious sail she had before departure.

Yet despite this she took just 10-and-a-half days to reach St Helena – a distance of 1700nm – and was believed at the time to be the fastest ever passage to the island as recorded by a yacht.

Her crew were an eclectic bunch, many being South Africans, and are list here for posterity:

Mr. Bruynzeel, owner and racing skipper;
Mr. G. Webb, from Cape Town, permanent and cruising skipper;
Mrs. J. Webb, from Cape Town, 1st Cook;
Mrs. N. Bowen, from Johannesburg, 2nd Cook.

Crew: Dr. Norman Clausen, from Cape Town;
Mr. Dobbin, from Camps Bay;
Mr. M. E. Puttergill, from Mufulira, Northern Rhodesia;
Mr. Michael Trimming, from Johannesburg;
Mr. Stephen Flesch, from Cape Town;
Mr. Tony Ribbink, from Cape Town;
Mr. M. L. Kirby, Krugersdorp;
Mr. Hans Beele, from Cape Town;
Miss Patricia Slight, from Johannesburg;
Miss Elizabeth Kirby, from Durban;
Miss Linda Webb (aged 7 months 3 weeks.)!

There are two reports, both crammed full of info on this classic yacht which I believe is still sailing today.

READ THE LAUNCH REPORT HERE:  stormvogel – Pages from 1961 05-06 – SA Yachting – OCR

READ ABOUT HER LUXURIOUS LIVING QUARTERS HERE:  stormvogel – Pages from 1961 01-02 – SA Yachting – OCR