“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Dabchick Millennium! Plus More Archive Pics

By Richard Crockett That headline is a little misleading although it does grab one’s attention. Its significance is that 1,000 sets of Dabchicks had been sold and were in the market place. While much of what is said in this article has been regurgitated from previous reports, there are some interesting little tid-bits worth reading. For instance, some statistics: • A Thousand Dabchicks must give pleasure to at least 3,000 people. • At least 92,000 square feet of plywood was ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Dabchick No. 500 is Afloat

by Richard Crockett Just two years after the Dabchick was first featured in SA Yachting magazine, the 500th boat hit the water. This showed just how popular the boat was, how easy it was to build, and how it filled a gap in the market. Hats off to Jack Koper for the design as judging by the comments to my Dabchick post this week, and the number of people who have recently posted their own personal pics of themselves sailing ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Dabbies Grow Exponentially!

By Richard Crockett The demand for plans for the Dabbie grew so fast and so quickly that even her designer, Jack Koper, was taken by surprise. In the Editorial Comment of the May/June issue of SA Yachting in 1958, the Editor said this: “Our feelings that economy is the key to making yachting a truly national sport were borne out by an overwhelmed Mr. J. Koper, of Pinelands, who had his £20 Dabchick publicized in our past issue. He rang ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Pics Galore

by Richard Crockett And now for something completely different. Instead of the written word today, feast your eyes on this selection of pics, freshly dug out from the archives yesterday, and then scanned and captioned. These pics are mainly of individuals and boat numbers, either individually or as small groups. I scanned about 100 pics yesterday and have a similar number still to do, and that excludes the colour pics. So enjoy this selection and keep following as more will ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Dabbling in Dabchicks

by Richard Crockett I have sung the praises of this little yacht for decades now, so I won’t bore readers yet again with my thoughts as they are well documented. Several days ago a post on a Dabchick Facebook page caught my eye as it announced that this year is the 65th anniversary of the Dabchick. This in itself is a noteworthy event for me to dig into my archives as this great boat was designed in 1956 by Jack ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Rampage Around the Cape in ‘Caprice’

by Richard Crockett Earlier this week I noticed a post on the Royal Cape Yacht Club Facebook page of someone wanting some info on a yacht named ‘Caprice’, a name I had become familiar with when browsing through my archives. However the article reproduced here does not give much away about the boat, other than she was a hardy soul. The word ‘Caprice’ also piqued my interest as I once had an affinity with a Spearhead name ‘Caprice’, but that’s ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Sundancer is A Boat to Watch

by Richard Crockett There is just so much good information to be had that delving through my archives is anything but a chore. And guess what I found – a review on the three-masted schooner ‘Sundancer’ which was an unofficial entry in the 1976 Cape to Rio Race. At 32 metres long overall and a beam of just 3.66 metres, she was long and sleek, and in a strange way quite attractive. This is how she was described by Colin ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. The Tack 24-hour

By Richard Crockett While researching the magazine pages for yesterdays “Laser Doings” I came across a report in Yachtsman RSA magazine on the Tack 24-hour race on Midmar Dam in 1977. Up front and unashamedly I will tell you that the Tack dinghy was a horrible little thing, in fact it was an awful critter that did not sail well, but believe me, hundreds were sold in the mid-70s as it was easily car-toppable, and families loved them for those ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing From My Archives. Key Laser Events in 1977

by Richard Crockett The Laser Class at this early stage of its life in South Africa was beginning to stand up and be counted, not just as a class boat that provided really good one-design competition, but as a class in which there was an inordinate amount of fun to be had too. In this feature today, in which there are 4 different reports, there is serious racing as well as the fun element of Slalom, a Le Mans-style start, ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. More Laser Doings in 1976

by Richard Crockett The Laser class was still in its infancy in this country, yet the enthusiasm and interest was exponential. Her designer Bruce Kirby had obviously hit a “sweet spot” as this is the boat local dinghy sailors wanted. In the April issue of SA Yachting it was announced that Bruce McCurrach had received a licence to build the Laser locally. He established a company, PSI Yachts, along with Justin Schaffer and Basil Cook who was the builder and ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Laser Doings in 1975

by Richard Crockett Still in the building phase, the Laser continues to grow at a pretty rapid pace, with the class competing in an ever increasing number of regattas. The first Natal Laser Champs were held offshore of Durban, with the Yachtsman RSA report headline reading “No Contest for Lasers” as only two of the stipulated three races were completed, with the third race being abandoned on the final beat! READ THE NATAL LASER CHAMPS REPORT HERE:  Pages from 1975 ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Laser – It’s Beginning in RSA

by Richard Crockett Yesterday I covered the launch of the very first Laser in South Africa. It created an immediate and positive response, as can be seen in this extract from the June 1974 issue of SA Yachting as written by the South African Laser Class Association: “In Durban we had the incredible situation where a Class Association existed, a full class was in being and the class was enjoying social events without any of the owners having seen a ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. First Laser Launched in RSA

by Richard Crockett It is never easy choosing what dinghy class to share and comment on in these pages as we have so many. And the Laser dinghy is one that does stand out, so I will cover some early years of the class over the next few days. It was designed in 1970 by Bruce Kirby who placed an emphasis on simplicity and performance, and obviously its one-design status too. Over the years the Class has developed, rules have ... Read More »

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Mainstay Week 1979

by Richard Crockett Mainstay Week is just one year old and has already grown into one of the greatest ocean-racing regattas in the country. This year, Mainstay Week attracted an entry of 46 yachts, and incorporated the national championships for Royal Cape One Designs, of which there were 11 competing. In the weeks preceding Mainstay Week, the yachts began to arrive in Durban, by road, by container ship and under their own “steam”. It was during this period that near-disaster ... Read More »