On This Day – 5 September. A Newspaper History of Sailing

by Richard Crockett

It was towards the end of September last year, yes 2019, that I started “On This Day. A Newspaper History of Sailing.” So nearly a year has passed without a day being missed and without there being any newspaper news or pics available in my newspaper archives to share.

It all started while I was busy archiving many boxes of press cuttings I have accumulated and which I guestimate run into tens of thousands! A daunting task which I believe to be necessary as I have been concerned for many years about the lack of interest Clubs, Classes and other sailing related organisations give to preserving their history, and that of our sport.

This is my personal crusade, and instead of simply archiving and keeping the contents away from prying eyes, I share my spoils in the hope that you will enjoy reminiscing as much as I do.

As of the end of September the format will change as it’s simply not sustainable to continue for another full year on a similar basis. I have some 25 000 scanned newspaper cuttings, and have used the best so far – but as in life some variation and change is required. What those changes are I have not crystallised yet, and would enjoy feedback from followers of this Blog as to what they would like to see.

I have tons of material available – from every single issue of SA Yachting, Yachtsman RSA (newspaper – remember it?) and Sailing Inland & offshore Magazine. Between those publications – from October 1957 until June 2017 – a period spanning 60 years of coverage of the sport of sailing in this country – I have in my possession.

I am scanning every single issue of those 60 years – that’s 720 issues – and digitising them to get the fullest value possible from them. So far I have uncovered some incredible gems in their pages, and will share these as we go.

Plus I have a photographic archive of photographs in b/w negative format, colour negative, colour slide (transparency) and photographic prints I intend to scan, digitise and share with the sailing community at large.

But all this takes time – and is a slow process – so all I ask is for patience.

My plea thought – to all followers and everyone interested in the history of sailing in RSA, is to please assist me by sharing their personal archives, pics, press cuttings and whatever with me, so that I can scan them and share them. My promise is that I will treat them with the utmost care, and get them back to you safely.

To date, the response to “On This Day. A Newspaper History of Sailing” has been phenomenal, and it’s heartening to see how many people appreciate, LIKE and SHARE the material I have shared in the past year. And this is from ‘Saffers’ and others who have lived and sailed here, or have travelled internationally to sail here.

I am overwhelmed by the response – and thank all those who have personally made contact.

Should you wish to copy, forward or share material from here, PLEASE acknowledge the source as: Sourced From the SAILING Mag Archives & Historical Records.

As each scanned cutting and article is searchable, I am able to create presentation packs personally tailored to a persons exact requirements – ie. Rothmans Week, the NCS Regatta, the Rio Race, Mauritius Race, Vasco da Gama Race and more – or simply by the name of an individual (like Ant Steward and his open boat exploits) – for those who want a record of his/her sailing career for the family archives.

I have already done this by scanning in excess of 18 000 pages of material I have on ‘Voortrekker’ – from idle chatter, to concept, to the formation of what ultimately became the South African Ocean Racing Trust (SAORT), to the fruition of the 1968 OSTAR Race in which Bruce Dalling and ‘Voortrekker’ excelled – and even beyond that.

The possibilities are endless – so watch this space as it all simply gets better every single day!

Comments, thoughts and contributions are welcome. Email: editor@sailing.co.za

So sit back, grab a cup of your favourite brew, and enjoy what’s on offer today.

To read the full reports, click on the LINK following each headline.

1937. “Calm Water and Plenty of It!”. Drifting Match on Zeekoe Vlei.
There was so little wind for last Sunday’s yacht race on Zeekoe Vlei that the first hour was little more than a drifting match.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1937 09 05 – dix combined – converted to OCR 9

1969. “Enter the ‘Penguin”. Yachtsmen in Durban may have noticed a new and very interesting little dinghy planing across the Bay recently – it’s a Penguin, which boasts trapeze, spinnaker, and 131 square feet of sail.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1969 09 05 603 4

1985. Owner Horrified At Damage Done to Stolen Yacht”. Extensive damage was caused to the engine and interior of the East London yacht, the Compass Rose, which was recovered near Cape St Francis on Tuesday, after it was allegedly stolen in East London on Sunday – only hours before it was due to set off on an overseas cruise.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1985 09 05 – 000228

1985. “Yachtsmen Hoisted to Safety After Five Hours in Liferaft”. Five crewmen of the 11m yacht Agenda spent five hours in a liferaft yesterday before being hoisted to safety aboard a SAAF helicopter.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1985 09 05 – 000231

1987. “Fortune Smiles on Yacht Charter Couple”. Fortune is smiling on a Redhouse, Port Elizabeth, man who is chartering his yacht in the Caribbean after a long and troublesome saga following its theft from Cape Town.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1987 09 05 – 000319

1988. “Bluff Drama As Yacht Hits Rocks”. A ‘terrified’ British couple were left clinging to the cockpit of their stricken yacht in driving rain early yesterday after strong winds blew their 12m vessel on to rocks off Durban’s Bluff.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1988 09 05 690

1989. “’Novice’ Ready for Crossing”. Johannesburg’s Rob de Vlieg makes his first foray into keelboat ocean racing this month when he skippers a Stadt 34 in the Crystic Beachcomber Crossing from Mauritius to Durban.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1989 09 05 – 000071

1991. “Oh Brother – A Whole Lot of Loving!”. For the first time three brothers will race in the same yacht from Mauritius to Durban, starting on September 21.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1991 09 05 895

1994. “John Martin Loses 4-ton Keel”. A 40KG winch flew about the galley of the 15,4m yacht Martell, skippered by John Martin, when the boat’s 4-ton lead keel broke off at the weekend, ending his hopes of winning the Mauritius to Durban yacht race.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1994 09 05 032

1994. “Seaboots and Sponsorship No Longer Go Together”. In the last few weeks the controversial subject of sponsorship has again raised its ugly head in different circumstances.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1994 09 05 033

1996. “Masterful Meek Set for Victory”. Master yachtsman Geoff Meek took Hermanus Yacht Club into an almost unassailable lead yesterday in their quest to win the Lipton Cup for the first time.
To read the full report, Click on the following LINK:  1996 09 05 185

Comments and contributions are welcome. Email: editor@sailing.co.za