“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 18

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issue – 18
5 June 2014

by Richard Crockett


Reader response is welcome.

As you can see “Talking Sailing” has attracted its first advertiser. So if you are interested in having a sailing holiday, think no further than Sunsail who have bases throughout the world, and support our advertiser.

Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson
After a shaky start to their overseas 470 campaign, Asenathi and Roger celebrated three years on the road by winning the Delta Lloyd regatta in Holland – the very regatta at which they launched their Rio 2014 470 campaign.

Some consistent results in this event saw them breeze into the medal race – and a second place finish saw them take the regatta overall.

This is a massive boost for the dynamic duo as it puts their campaign, and their own goals, in perspective as besides winning overall, they beat the Olympic Silver medallist. Now that’s an achievement of note.

In an interview with Roger a few days ago he indicated that initially they thought their plan to train in South Africa may have backfired, although this results shows that not to be the case.

The full interview with Roger Hudson will be in the July issue of SAILING Mag – so look out for it.

ED. Campaigning internationally is very expensive. While well funded by three sponsors at the moment, their funding does not allow for a coach. Should anyone be interested in further assisting this worthwhile and successful campaign, I will gladly pass on their contact details

Russell Coutts: “Sailing Needs More Variety, Less Intensity”
Five-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts is a man you either love or hate.

But you know what, he has had such a varied and successful sailing career in which he has done more in the sport than most, so he has the right to sound off on occasions.

I like him for the mere fact that he is prepared to put his money where his mouth is, so I was not surprised when the e-mail Scuttlebutt newsletter hit my inbox recently with the above heading to this story.

It’s music to my ears and I am sure others who are doing their damnest to see the sport of sailing flourish locally. So this is what he had to say:

“In many ways, I think our sport needs to remember where it came from. I remember as a junior sailor, some of the most fun races were in this little bay in New Zealand called Paremata Bay, to the North of Wellington. We would race up and down this tiny tidal estuary, which had tons of current, and there were a lot of variables in play. We didn’t go out and set a triangle or windward-leeward course every time. We had a variety of courses, and it kept it interesting each time we went sailing.

As I got older, the races I enjoyed the most were in the Solent, where you have all the variables. Some people might contend that it’s not real racing when you are forced to avoid sand bars and random currents, and the local knowledge weighs so heavily. But the really good sailors can read the currents and recognize the different wave patterns. When you are really tuned in, you can see it like colours. With the water variables, you have the wind affected by geographic obstacles, I think these factors add to the interest in the race.

Fact is, if you put a few obstructions in a race course, are forced to race around certain things, add some current, and then have to make decisions based on this variety of considerations, I find it to be pretty interesting. Personally as a sailor, I prefer a course like that compared to what we find more so today.

I watched the Optimist Champs in New Zealand recently, and they took the fleet way out to sea, far from where parents could watch. And then there was this enormous fleet of chase boats. So I thought about the expense of this plan, and whether the focus was for these kids to be having fun. Why couldn’t they run it right off the beach, where the parents could see, and where the kids would be challenged by the variable conditions? Dealing with the land wind shifts, and maybe the current in the water, are important skills. That’s sailboat racing, plus it makes it fun too.

I think we have gotten carried away over the years, particularly for the kids, with this mandate that we need to take the course out to sea, where the conditions won’t be affected by land. The sailing for these kids has gotten too intense. I think they were having four races a day. Whatever happened to the kids actually playing some games onshore? Are we losing sight of the social direction?

People wonder why the kids are leaving the sport. Heck, I don’t blame them… it’s so frigg’n intense. For a kid that’s 12 or 13 years old, I don’t blame them to look for something more fun. These kids have plenty of intensity later on in life. Having all the training, getting pushed by coaches, spending all weekend racing… there comes a point when it is just too much.”

Well said Sir Russel.

Finn World Masters – A lesson for all Classes?
The 2014 Finn World Masters Championship which starts next week in Poland has 221 confirmed entries from 27 countries. Over 250 entries were submitted.

Many classes should take a leaf out of the ‘Finn Book’ and promote the ‘ballies. I am sure there are a ton of ‘ballies’ locally who feel shunned by their respective classes and who would come out of the woodwork to compete in a ‘ballies’ division?

Maybe all class nationals should include a Masters division?

Laser Sailors – Are They All Mad?
I have got to known a few Laser sailors over the years, and great guys and girls they mostly are. But I have always had lingering doubts as to whether they are all mad – or just some of them as they occasionally attempt mad-cap schemes.

Let’s not dwell about the local guys too long as this may well get me into trouble!

But there is a Laser sailor who you all need to judge as sane – or mad – as he spent 77 hours aboard the tiny boat battling storms and severe pain. This was not survival in the true sense of the word as he chose to do this madcap deed – planning for around two years to beat the Guinness world record for the longest distance sailed in a Laser dinghy.

Yassine Darkaoui, originally from Morocco, broke the current record of 65 hours spent in a Laser dinghy as he spent 77 hours on this one-man boat.

This is what he said:
“For the first maybe six hours I was scared, because I had a bad experience sailing around Racha before, and I was thinking I should stop. But after that six hours, I started getting more comfortable and I decided I should stay and enjoy it.

“It is part of the game, to feel scared and cold. It was scary because a lot of fishing boats don’t have lights. When there were storms and lightning, it was a bit scary because the dinghy is a very small boat. Many times I didn’t have cellphone reception, and it was impossible for me to call (for help).”

Mr Darkaoui ended up having to return to Ao Yon after suffering severe pain and bleeding buttocks, caused by the humidity, the salt water and the rain. He says he also suffered hallucinations.

“I had to wait a lot because there wasn’t much wind, and it was very difficult to sail. I had to sit in very uncomfortable conditions. Physically I was okay, it was more about the pain – it was just too much. I was bleeding.

“The last 15 or 20 kilometres I had to kneel, because I couldn’t sit anymore. I knew I already had the Asian record and the time record, so I decided to stop.”

Despite the discomfort and the lack of any official record, Mr Darkaoui is pleased with his efforts.

“It was a new experience, and it was a very good experience. If I could do it again I would, but now with more confidence.”

Sir Francis Chichester
It was 47 years ago on 29 May 1967 that Francis Chichester sailed Into The Record Books after his solo circumnavigation with one stop in Sydney.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for becoming the first person to sail single-handed around the world by the clipper route, and the fastest circumnavigator, having taken nine months and one day overall on his 14 750 nautical mile passage.

My how times have changed – especially as one can dash around the world on fast multihulls in 45 days!

The fastest circumnavigation, fully crewed was achieved in 2012 by Banque Populaire (Loick Peyron) in 45 days at an average speed of 19.75 knots.

Hands up those who have ever sailed at 19.75 knots – even for a short period. I am sure that there are few hands up?

What happened to Cheeki Rafiki?
The power of social media should never be underestimated as within hours of rescue authorities calling off the search for a 40-foot Beneteau yacht with four crew aboard, social media around the globe put such pressure on rescue authorities to continue – that their hand was forced.

The boat was found upside down with her keel and crew missing. It was clear from pictures that the keel had fallen off. What was more heartbreaking was that the boat’s liferaft was still aboard – in fact stowed in its original position. This meant that the crew had no time to deploy it.

When a yacht’s keel falls off, the boat will invert 180 degrees within seconds, and unless the crew were expecting the worst and had prepared themselves for this eventuality, their chances of survival were slim.

The lesson learnt here is that if crossing an ocean, and I suppose if on any passage, the liferaft should be stowed in such a way that it can be deployed quickly and easily. Cheeki Rafiki was a racing boat where the liferaft was stowed in its locker near the transom.

One has to understand that going to sea in small boats has its risks. Yet, I suppose, that can also be said for flying as flight MH370 has still not been located!

Race for Research
Have you ever wondered why some sailors always seem to make the right decisions?

Are you interested in identifying where you look while you sail and how this affects what you do during a race?

Are you interested in gaining the upper hand over your opponents through identification of your visual search strategy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be interested in the explorative research being conducted on visual search strategies and decision making in sailing.

Claire Walker (Hons. BSc Sport Science (Performance Sport)) is leading a MSc research project aimed at identifying the visual search strategies and decision making abilities in sailors. The main aim of the research is to identify where the sailors are looking and how this affects the decisions they make. Previous research has shown that athletes, who have a more efficient visual search strategy, have improved performance.

Visual search strategies refers to where the athlete is looking; for example at the sail, the boat, their competitors or the waves, how many times they look at one of these locations, the time they spend looking at the location and the number of locations they look at.

Research suggests that athletes who have more control over where they are looking have a more consistent performance and make successful decisions more often. This is significant as it highlights the importance of your visual search strategy while sailing and the effect this has on your ability to gain the necessary information required in order to make successful decisions.

All volunteers will be required to sail a Hobie Tiger in an organised regatta. During which their visual search strategy and decision making abilities will be assessed. All the data will be captured using GoPro video cameras placed on the boat and an Eye-Tracking device, which is a camera that tracks the movement of the pupil and can show us what the sailor is looking at.

Practically, we can use this information to teach novice and near-elite sailors where to look and how to identify the most relevant information cues during the start and mark rounding manoeuvres and thus help improve their performance. All volunteers will receive a copy of their data and thus can see where they are focussing and how to improve their cue identification process.

This nature of research has never been done before in South Africa and is an opportunity to put sailing on the map.

For further information on the research project or if you would be interested in volunteering to take part, please contact Claire Walker cell: 084 299 5769 or email: 16062876@sun.ac.za or her supervisor Dr Karen Welman tel: 021 808 4733 or email: welman@sun.ac.za

ED. Claire is a well known sailor and is embarking on some fascinating research. However, I do know that she is in need of funding for this project, so if anyone can assist her, I am sure she will be delighted to hear from you.

Claire has promised an article for SAILING Mag, so we look forward to seeing the results and the conclusions she draws.

Garmin Celebratory Offer
Garmin is celebrating its 25th year anniversary by offering you a trade in of a lifetime! This exciting trade-in is the first that Garmin has introduced, and has been much anticipated in the market!

Garmin is offering their customers the chance to bring in any automotive GPS, yes any automotive GPS whether it’s old or new, functional or not, even if it is another brand, and Garmin will give you R300 off the purchase price of the new incredible nüvi 55LM with a 5” dual orientation screen.

This device comes with cutting edge features, like up ahead feature, a constant stream of nearby services information – including restaurants, stores, hospitals and petrol stations – that appears alongside your map and updates as you move along your route. The Trip Planner provides you the ability to create and save a trip with multiple destinations, where eco Route helps you adopt better driving habits and is a great way to manage your fuel consumption. Never forget where you parked your car again with the Last Parking Spot feature.

The recommended retail price of the Garmin nüvi 55LM is R1899.00 inclusive.

The 25 year trade in programme is valid until the 31 July at participating Garmin dealers countrywide. See www.garmin.co.za/25years for T&C’s.

So trade up to a market leader today, with Garmin!

Who’s up for the challenge?
The 35th America’s Cup Protocol has just been released.

The Protocol, defines the rules, format and commercial regulations for the 35th America’s Cup. Entries open on June 9 and close August 8, 2014, giving prospective teams two months to enter.

The Class Rule for the new AC62 yacht, which has already been shared with teams in draft format, will be issued in the coming days, prior to the entry period opening.

Highlights of the Protocol include:
* A three year racing programme from 2015 to 2017 with every race counting towards qualification and/or points in the final America’s Cup Match

* At least six America’s Cup World Series events per year in 2015 and 2016 to be raced in the AC45 class. All teams have an opportunity to host an event in their home country

* An America’s Cup Qualifiers’ series in 2017 involving all teams, with a bonus point in the America’s Cup Match at stake

* America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs for the top four challenger teams to emerge from the Qualifiers

* The America’s Cup Match, featuring the defender, ORACLE TEAM USA against the top challenger. The first team to win 7 points will win the America’s Cup

* Up to two Youth America’s Cup events providing a pathway for young sailors to join the top rank of professionals

* The new AC62 yacht – a foiling, wing sail catamaran sailed by 8 crew – to be raced in all events in 2017

* A crew nationality rule requiring at least 25% of the AC62 crew to be nationals of the country of their challenge

The Protocol was negotiated between defending champion ORACLE TEAM USA and its Golden Gate Yacht Club and Team Australia’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club, the Challenger of Record.

The 35th America’s Cup builds on the successful elements of the last America’s Cup – fast, exciting racing in foiling multihulls that is challenging for the best sailors in the world and appealing to spectators.

“We are convinced the 35th America’s Cup will surpass previous events in almost every way: more challengers, amazing new boats and a competition structure that will engage and enthral people over a three year period,” said Mat Belcher, the skipper of Team Australia, the Challenger of Record.

Fun and What’s Wrong with our sport?
This is a reader response.
We at 1000 Hills Sailing Club (newly formed on the Inanda Dam in KZN) have been concerned for many years about all the boats lying around at the bottom of gardens and have physically located and managed to get people back on the water. Our motto at the club is “Bums on Boats” (http://www.1000hillssailingclub.co.za/).

We sail (‘race’) all our events as fun racing – compulsory braai at lunch (free fires provided) – for the new and old sailors to share ‘tricks of the trade’. Also our very knowledgeable ‘Bosun/beach officer/car guard/willing dogs body’ is always on hand to open the toolbox for spares/shackles/repairs and help!

Our club is located on the banks of Inanda Dam in the Hillcrest area near Durban. We say the best sailing venue in KZN as you don’t have to sail for 1 hour to reach the start line, the average wind speed is approximately 8 knots – perfect for new and old – however a herd of white horses do frequent our venue from time to time – treating some of our fleet with disdain.

We have no clubhouse, no paying members, and no old farts sitting in the corner of the bar to stir with ‘newbies’ and is run totally by people giving back and promoting sailing for keen yachtsmen and woman just wanting to sail! There are No politics and No Members only signs.

Some of us have been sailing for decades on Dabbies, Sprogs, Sharpies, FDs, Finns and 505s. Others are all keen ‘hackers’ (possibly 250 years or more collective sailing time – also some trans-Atlantic veterans – circa 1976, past and present Club, Provincial/National champions.

Our calendar is on a monthly (1 day) fun racing for a ‘hotly’ contested trophy! This year will also be our 4th anniversary of our fun charity event “The Jes Foord Classic”.

Safety is one of our concerns when going sailing – no life jacket-no sail. We have a dedicated – (no cost to anyone) old sailor safety boat at all events – and this doubles as our club photographer, race officer, putting out of buoys, collection as well!

So, on the back of “Survivor South Sea Islands” we have put together “Survivor Inanda 2014”. Outwit, outlast, out sail. This is scheduled for the end of June 2014 and is a fun event in an effort to get some interest (juniors will be encouraged to crew) back into ‘fun sailing’. We are in the process of getting a trophy done (and finding a sponsor) and hope to make this an annual calendar event!

Does Anyone Know an Old SA Yacht Called Asterix?
Chris Lowe who requested info on Asterix never bargained on how helpful local yachties are as he was bombardered with info.

Angelo Lavranos. Pat Fraser, Eric Wells and others were all helpful. What Chris did glean is that the boat would have been built by Golnix.

Mike Kreft replied with this:
I knew the yacht Asterix when I sailed on it out of RCYC, and subsequently, in 1981 sailed on her in the West Indies. She was renamed Jana before the trip.

She was owned by Denzil and Jane Penny who sailed her in the 1976 Rio Race, and then sailed on to the Carribean. Subsequently she was sold in Florida, I think.

She was a lengthened Phoenix, I think 40, with a raised poop deck.

Jaco and Biddy Jackson spent a number of months on her cruising with the Pennys in the West Indies.

I would be interested as to know where she is now, and why the interest in her?

Footnote. Chris Lowe sent this:
I want to start by thanking you for publishing my request for information. That is really awesome and everyone whom I have spoken to prior as well as those who have contacted me after seeing your article have been very polite and helpful. That sort of friendly and helpful nature is in short supply in California, though it seems to be in abundance in South Africa and I thank you all.

If you have any information please contact Chris Lowe (sirredemption@gmail.com) and copy us in on the correspondence please (editor@sailing.co.za)

The jury is out on the significance of grey hairs. Is each hair a wisdom highlight or a burned out brain cell?

SAILING Gybeset portal & Social Media
SAILING Magazine has both print and digital media options with SAILING Magazine being its printed monthly magazine, and SAILING Gybeset its digital blog.

And for those who enjoy social media, both the above are complimented by Facebook pages. SAILING Magazine is at: www.facebook.com/sailingmagrsa, and SAILING Gybeset at: www.facebook.com/GybeSet

The SAILING Gybeset portal (www.sailing.co.za/gybeset) is updated regularly with new and interesting information on our sport, both locally and internationally.

The ‘Event’ button takes one to an events calendar where key events are published – and where all info including all documentation can be obtained.

To be listed, simply send the name of the event; NOR and SIs; Entry form, even a pic or poster plus contact details timeously to (editor@sailing.co.za). This is a very powerful tool, so use it to your advantage – and submit material for inclusion.

Classes and Clubs are urged to send info, reports, results and pics on their events for publication on SAILING Gybeset timeously.

The only way for SAILING Gybeset to be successful and to be able to disseminate information that covers all aspects of our sport is for Clubs, Class Associations, event organisers and individual sailors to ensure that information and pictures flow our way timeously – so send your material to: editor@sailing.co.za and we will do the rest.

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
●  Brilliantly said on the sailing involvement in Boat Shows

●  Regarding your correspondent’s claim of racism and your supposedly ‘unhealthy attitude’, I would remind you that an opinion is so very like an anus – we all have one! The opinion expressed is that of the writer who should accept that we all have the right to our opinions.

Having known you and respected your principles and standpoints for more years than I can recall, I believe that the writer, who I trust was bold and honest enough to state her name, would benefit greatly from seeking the opinion of what I believe to be the great majority of Yotties who feel the way you write.

Let’s acknowledge that the entire exercise was just another tax collection mission!

ED. If the writer had not supplied her name I would not have bothered replying, nor publishing the letter.

●  Some thoughts re “SAMSA” – I agree with you that imposing merchant marine regulators on ‘consumer’ activities has simply escalated compliance bureaucracy, with questionable end benefits.

Two personal examples:
1. I recently bought an old motor (ski) boat, without fully understanding the regulatory compliance costs, like “flotation and certification”, and “annual Certificate of Fitness surveys”; ref the mandatory equipment on a motor boat, I see no value in an anchor + chain + rope, where one never intends to anchor in the water, and have you ever tried to fix a big outboard motor on a dam (so why a mandatory tool kit?), or even rowed a motor boat (but must have “oars” on board)? Crazy, excessive specifications with no relevance to the actual use of the boat!

2. Ref. SAMSA office. I emailed them to ask whether my sailing qualification (Coastal Skipper) entitled me to pilot the small motor boat. Many months later I am still waiting for a reply.

●  Just read the rabid response from your reader re: SAMSA! This seems quite unwarranted and it incensed me as I am sure it did you!

I am not from South Africa, but came to work here recently. Previously I have sailed in many parts of the world, none of which had the set of proscriptive rules set out by, not just, SAMSA but other organisations pertaining to recreational boating (SARS, SABS, DTI amongst them)

There is a significant problem in South Africa in that different sets of legislators create regulations and rule sets that are not complimentary. Witness the SARS import duty on boats over 10m while SAMSA regulations deal with boats over 9m. Would it be so hard to have the same measures!? Don’t get me started on length based criteria for safety and tax legislation either, what a ridiculous idea – I have never heard of it being used in relation to yachts anywhere else! Not using displacement proves unequivocally that the legislators had absolutely no clue.

This aside and speaking as a professional accountant where both Proscriptive rules sets and Principle based rules have been used by various countries around the world – it is without doubt that a principle based approach is far superior. It is impossible to legislate for every nuance in either accounting or boating, while a set of principles based on common sense suits almost all situations.

For example, a boat like mine, light displacement and greater than 9m metres but without a cabin (ie a large dinghy) has to carry items such as heliographs, two anchors, balls and cones (despite the fact there is no engine so a cone is redundant) etc…but nowhere am I required to carry a paddle. This because 9m boats cannot be paddled right? Well mine most certainly can!

Under the current rules anyone can sail a Hobie-Cat to Madagascar but one needs a skippers licence to sit on a 9m floating log.

I am thoroughly despondent at the propensity for legislators and rule-makers to invent rules and regulations which actively damage safety rather than reinforcing it.

●  Totally agree with your viewpoint on SAMSA. Your lady critic is over-reacting … and in a very unpleasant way too. The sea is no respecter of anyone’s rules, certificates, or politics.

●  Wow thank you for a good read

The Bitter End
Those who declare our sport ‘unsafe’.

The ‘Bitter End’ is the inboard end of an anchor chain or rode which should be attached to the vessel so as not to be lost overboard in it’s entirety. In terms of “Talking Sailing” it’s things about our sport which get up peoples noses!

“Talking Sailing” is written by Richard Crockett, the Publisher & Editor of SAILING Magazine, South Africa’s monthly sailing mag.

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Check Also

“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 50

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