“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 22

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issue – 22
21 August 2014

by Richard Crockett

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Talking About…
An Important Week for Sailing in South Africa
SAS Awards
Dennis Connor Invitational Regatta – SA Team Wins
The Blazer Brigade – Forgetting their Constituents
Sandefjord : Her Voyage Around the World – DVD Available
Is the SA Government Finally Understanding the Value of the Local Boating Industry
A Bandana Can Give Someone A Future
A Lasting Legacy for South African Youth
An Outsider’s Perspective
What has happened to coastal offshore racing?
I Like This!
Some Boating Humour
Nautical Superstitions
Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
The Bitter End

An Important Week for Sailing in South Africa
Friday 8 August was a sad day for sailing in Durban as the Royal Natal Yacht Club members voted 43 in favour and 55 against merging with the Point Yacht Club.

The merger was all about sailing, and should have been about nothing but sailing. The merged entity would have brought all sailors together, united them, and seen the best people and brains entrusted with the betterment of the sport in the city. There was something very special which could have been achieved for the sport should the clubs have merged. A good opportunity has been lost.

The brigade who banged on about the ‘royal’ aspects of the Club, and how important it was to maintain those at all costs, may well rue this in the long term as the maniacal manner in which they cling to royalty is perhaps inappropriate in today’s political climate.

There is always a ray of light after bad news and this came exactly a week after the RNYC negativity when SAS (South African Sailing) elected a new President and Chairman.

Philip Baum was elected President, and Peter Hall Chairman.

Much of what is done in SAS is done at a rarified atmosphere within the confines of Government, sports bodies and the Olympic movement. There is absolutely no one better suited to this role than Philip Baum who besides being a top-notch businessman, is also a fine yachtsman who has possibly done more than most, but in a low-key manner. Some highlights from his CV are:
• A keen and accomplished sailor in both keelboats and dinghies for more than four decades – lived in the Northern Region for 40 years before moving to Cape Town in 2012.
• He is recognized as a man who thinks carefully, has a positive and optimistic approach to life and its challenges, and displays particularly strong inter-personal skills. He also understands clearly the urgent need for transformation at this stage of our sport’s history.
• A 35 year career in Africa, Europe, North and South  America and Australasia in mining, minerals, heavy industry and financial services. He retired in 2009 from Anglo American plc as Chief Executive Officer of its Ferrous Metals Division and a member of its Executive Committee
• A Director of Pata Finns Africa, a trustee of the Paleontological Scientific Trust and the Tigerkloof school, and an alternate director of the San Sebastian Coastal Reserve.
• Sailed for South Africa in the 1973 Youth World Championships, placing 11th overall in the Laser class. Selected to represent South Africa at the Finn Gold Cup in America in 1983, but sports boycott in a pre-Olympic year intervened.
• Finn Gold Cup in 1981 and 1982
• J22 World Championships in Italy (2003) and South Africa (1993, 1997 and 2007). Best place 6th in Durban in 2007.
• Four times SA National champion- Sprog (1973) and J22 (2001, 2007 and 2009)
• Multiple podium finishes at National Championships in the Sprog, Finn and J22 classes as well as many Provincial champion titles in these classes.
• Sailed in every Finn World Masters Championship between 2003 and 2014, with a best overall position of 17 in 2007.
• Finished 3rd over the line on Rampant 2 in the Cape to Uruguay race in 1984.
• Finished 5th over the line on Rampant 2 in the 1985 Sydney-Hobart race.
• Finished 9th on handicap (3rd L34) in the 1989 Mauritius-Durban race.
• Numerous podium finishes in the Rothmans Week regatta in Cape Town on board Assegaai- 1985 to 1989.
• Current owner of a Finn, 49er, Sonnet, two Hobies, three Optimists and two windsurfers, and a regular crew on the J111 Mwah sailing out of RCYC.
• Imported Finn moulds to build internationally competitive Olympic Finns in South Africa.

Peter Hall, the new Chairman, brings some new young blood to the table. He is an active sailor, a mover and shaker in sailing within the Western Cape, and a man known for simply ‘getting things done’.

He has been involved in sailing since an early age, starting his sailing in Optimists and very quickly moving onto Dabchicks, Tempos, Lasers, Finns and more recently 29’ers and the Musto Skiff class. In addition he has been involved in numerous keelboat regattas including winning Lipton Cup, Rothmans week and offshore sailing including the Mauritius to Durban race and the Double Handed Miura race from Cape Town to St Helena Island and back. Peter has represented South Africa in the Laser and Finn classes and in ISAF Keelboat World Championships in the J24 class. Despite his racing background one of his memorable sailing experiences is cruising with family and friends in Croatia.

He has been involved in sailing administration from his university days as Commodore of UCT Yacht Club and Dinghy Chairman of WP Sailing following that. Peter and his family returned to South Africa two years ago after spending 12 years in the UK and since then he has been involved in SAS at both a regional and national level.

Peter is actively involved in the business world where he has held various leadership roles across large and small businesses in a variety of sectors. He is currently working at Inhep Electronics on a new business initiative that will change the way that people interact with their alarm systems. Peter is married to Janet and they have two children, Max and Rebecca.

“I am very excited about the challenges and opportunities ahead of us in sailing in this country. I believe we are at the beginning of a very exciting phase and I am very heartened to see large numbers of sailors competing at all levels across all disciplines overseas at the moment. Although this is only a small part of what sailing is all about it, is an important part of the cog as it inspires, motivates and encourages others to participate” said Hall when I spoke to him this week.

With these two at the top, SAS is in good hands.

It is appropriate to mention the two outgoing members, being Rob m’Crystal and Mike Dixon who have stood down as President and Chairman respectively.

Both have put an immense amount of time, passion and effort into the organisation over many years. They took SAS to new heights and have left the organisation on a sound footing.

They both deserve the thanks of all sailors for their dedication to duty.

SAS Awards
SAS have some magnificent trophies which are awarded each year. All have a long history and depict a who’s who of sailing in the country. The awards for the 2013 calendar year, announced at the SAS AGM last weekend, went to:

Gordon Burnwood Trophy
Gert van der Linde for his ocean passage from Durban to Antarctica and back to Cape Town.

Owen Asher Trophy
Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson for their highest ranking of 9th in 470 fleet, 2nd in Sail Melbourne, 3rd in SB20 worlds – that was their 14th podium of which 13 included diverse teams.

David Butler Trophy
Alex Burger and David Wilson for their 8th overall at the 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds

Stan Jeffrey Trophy
Jointly awarded to Rob M’Crystal and Mike Dixon for their huge contribution to the administration of yachting in South Africa.

“Congratulations to all these winners and thank you for being an inspiration to all yachtsmen in this country” said the newly elected SAS Chairman Peter Hall.

Dennis Connor Invitational Regatta – SA Team Wins
A Royal Cape Yacht Club team won this event in New York. Sailing J24s, a boat foreign to them, their L26 experience stood them in good stead, and saw them thrash the opposition.

Of the 8 races their two worst were a 5th and 7th – the other six being 1s & 2s.

Andrea Giovannini told me that they had completely re-rigged their boat and put in the systems they knew worked on an L26 – so in effect they were the odd men out! But it worked, so maybe some of the opposition should come and witness L26 sailing at its best in this country.

The team was Andrea Giovannini, Markus Progli, Henry Daniels, Shane Elliot and Duncan Matthews.

The team was known as Vulcan Racing Powered by Choose Life High Performance Sailing. They represented the RCYC and the 9 individuals who supported them financially. To win was a bonus, not just for the team, but to those who saw their potential and supported them.

The Blazer Brigade – Forgetting their Constituents
I enjoyed my early morning e-mail session recently when a mail from Len Davies simply stated this:
“Love this morning’s editorial – the blazers have once again forgotten that they don’t exist without those who get their feet wet!”

The editorial he is referring to was in that morning’s Scuttlebutt news and was headed “Administration of Olympic Sailing needs a Reboot”

American Morgan Reeser, a two-time 470 class Olympian and an Olympic silver medalist, has been equally successful as an Olympic coach for Greece and Great Britain. The following is an abridged version of what he said:

“There is no doubt in my mind that Rio 2016 can be the best sailing Olympic Games ever, with challenging conditions on a number of very different course areas all surrounded by stunning scenery. However, the one thing that can detract from the great performances that we will see at Rio 2016 is the ever growing “over administration” of the Games.

“The Olympics is such a great event; it is just a pity that the athletes keep getting in the way” – Olympic official Atlanta 1996.

If Olympic organizers took a step back to reminisce and remind themselves why they originally got involved in the Olympic Games, I would hope it would be to support and witness great athletic performances. Unfortunately, by all appearances, this has been forgotten for the sailing events.

The administrators, from ISAF to the Rio 2016 organizers to the race managers, have taken complete ownership of the sailing competition. The athletes, who are the true owners in this sport, have been taken out of the loop.

The focus needs to return to the athletes, as they are the reason we are all involved. To insure great performances, the athletes must be respected, listened to, and given proper communication of what will happen next. Instead, the athletes are generally treated like mushrooms – kept in the dark and fed dung. Current decisions are poorly thought out, made last minute, and inconsistently communicated.

Ensuring that the sailing venues can provide great performances must be a mandate.

The growth of regulations for each Olympics has been startling. As German Olympic sailing legend Jochen Schümann said when leaving a Team Leaders meeting in Athens 2004, “I believe that I had more freedom growing up in East Germany than we have in this Olympic Marina.”

At the 2012 Games in Weymouth, the athletes were presented with the regatta rules, most of which came about a week before competition, all in separate bound booklets.

They consisted of:
• Notice of Race
• Sailing Instructions
• Coach Boat Regulations
• Competition Area Regulations
• Timing and Tracking Instructions
• Onboard Camera Instructions
• Provisional Course Allocations
• Race Management Policies
• Jury Information to Athletes
• Medal Race Information to Athletes
• Equipment Inspection Schedule
• Equipment Inspection Policy
• Blogging and Social Media Guidelines
• Anti-Doping Rules
• Guidelines regarding Authorized Identifications

And the most important rules of all, at least to the organizers were:
• ISAF Discretionary Penalties
• ISAF Standard Race Committee Penalties

You can still peruse them at www.sailing.org/olympic_documents_london_2012_about.php

All told, if my memory serves me correctly, it was 147 pages of regulations that the London 2012 Organizers decided the athletes obviously needed in order to be controlled. I am highly confident that unless we stop the madness that is Olympic Sailing, regulations for Rio 2016 will top 200 pages of rules and penalties.

I coach at the Olympic level because of the sheer passion with which the athletes compete. Olympic sailors do it to challenge themselves, and dream of winning an Olympic Medal. The competition is pure and simple.

The Olympic sailing organizers need to remember why they first got hooked on the Olympics – to support and witness the great performances of these sailors. If all the decisions for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games are based on if they will positively improve the athletic performances, or detract from them, then management decisions will be clear and positive, and Rio 2016 can truly be the best Olympic Games sailing event ever.

I hope that is the case.”

How true! Need we say more other than to warn the ‘suits’ that their days may well be numbered unless they make good decisions for the athletes and NOT themselves.

Sandefjord : Her Voyage Around the World – DVD Available
This DVD is now sold in aid of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI). The cost is R100 per disk – and orders can be placed by e-mailing: info@searescue.org.za

This DVD tells the story of six spirited adventurers – five young men and a woman – who refitted a battered 50 year old ketch in Durban and sailed her westward; through the islands of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian; around the world in 627 days.

The disk is sold as film maker and crewman Barry Cullen designed it in 1990 after he transferred the original 1967 vintage 16mm movie to digital. For those who love sailing it is a collector’s item … and for those who do not understand why people sail … this will have you hooked.

It is quite simply a beautifully told story.

In February 1965, Sandefjord was ready after a complete refit. She was provisioned for 400 days and with her complement of five young men and a girl, she sailed from Durban on what proved to be her greatest adventure yet.

Through the West Indies, Panama Canal. .. and on into the mighty Pacific. Sandefjord made her landfalls in the exotic South Seas in much the same way as Cook and other early navigators. Without exception, she was well met at all her ports of call. She made friends easily … for herself and her crew … as loyal and devoted a crew as any ship could ever wish to have.

Sandefjord sailed 30,279 nautical miles in 21 months in this memorable circumnavigation, receiving a thrilling homecoming welcome in Durban, Tuesday, 8th November 1966.

This film is dedicated to the Crew of the Sandefjord.

For copyright reasons NSRI regrets, this movie is not available in the USA, Canada or Caribbean Islands.

Is the SA Government Finally Understanding the Value of the Local Boating Industry
The following statement was issued by the Minister of Trade & Industries, Rob Davies.

It is critical that SA retains and builds its capacity and engineering and technical capabilities to manufacture a range of “working” vessels to required global standards, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said.

The National Treasury has issued instruction notes that local procurement requirements are binding on all government departments at national, provincial and municipal level and all state entities.

“Research indicates that government and state owned companies (SOCs) have spent R19bn on working vessels since 1994, but only R900m of this total was spent on local procurement,” said Davies.

“The designation of boats for local procurement is a significant step towards greater support for the industry. The designation also makes provision for the importation of components not produced in SA.”

However, the department of trade and industry (dti) will be stepping up its work with boat-builders located in South Africa.

This is to ensure that further effort and conditional support measures go into increasing local manufacturing capabilities, especially with respect to components higher up the technology and value chain.

Davies said boat building has been identified as a strategic industry with strong and extended linkages for economic growth and with significant employment multipliers.

ED. While this is good news, one can only hope that the honourable Minister has not narrowed his vision to the commercial market only, and forgotten the leisure market. We have some top class catamaran builders in this country whose products are equal to or better than many builders around the globe. They too need to be included in the above initiative.

A Bandana Can Give Someone A Future
“We all have Hopes and Dreams. By purchasing a bandana for R25 you could make a difference and offer those fighting leukaemia and other life threatening blood disorders a chance of a future” states Tarryn Corlett, Chief Operating Officer for The Sunflower Fund.

This statement got me thinking as there is an annual Leukaemia Cup Regatta in the USA which was the brainchild of hot-shot sailor and sailing TV commentator Gary Jobson, himself a Leukaemia sufferer.

The blurb on their website says: “When you participate in the Leukemia Cup Regatta, you become eligible to win amazing prizes from our national sponsors, as well as a chance to sail with world-renowned sailor and ESPN commentator Gary Jobson, National Regatta Chairman, at the 2014 Fantasy Sail in Savannah, Georgia!”

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Leukemia Cup Regatta is a thrilling series of sailing events that combines the joy of boating with the important task of raising money to cure cancer. Since its inception, the Leukemia Cup Regatta has raised millions of dollars for lifesaving research and patient services, bringing help and hope to patients and their families.

At events held at yacht clubs across North America, skippers register their boats and recruit friends and colleagues to help crew and to raise funds. Crew members seek donations from friends, family, co-workers and employers to sponsor their boat. National and local event sponsors also support the Leukemia Cup Regatta.

• In the 1960s, a child’s chance of surviving leukemia was 3%; today, 90% can expect to survive into adulthood.
• Since the 1960s, Hodgkin lymphoma patient survival rates have more than doubled to 88%.
• 40 years ago, 1 in 10 myeloma patients survived. Today, that number has more than tripled.

Now isn’t this a worthwhile event and initiative?

More importantly, is there not an opportunity here for SAS, their regional committees or Clubs to do something similar and establish a sailing event that would raise much needed funds for a very worthwhile organisation? It may be too late to stage something on a grand scale this year – as 12 October is National Bandana Day in South Africa, although there surely must be some clubs who could make an effort – and next year we go all out with a full scale event.

I am sure that Gary Jobson, if contacted, would put his full weight behind such an initiative, and would give us the ‘keys’ to a successful event.

I will gladly do my bit to help and promote – but a champion of this cause is required. Are you up to it?

Incidently Tarryn was very enthusiastic when I mentioned the USA event to her, and would support every initiative locally to establish something similar.

So back home to our National Bandana Day on 12 October.

The Sunflower Fund encourages the public to buy a bandana from their nearest Pick n Pay or local Round Table, including Namibia and wear it to their show their support towards the brave fight that these patients face on a daily basis when they lose their hair from their chemotherapy treatments.

Funds raised through National Bandana Day go towards paying for the expensive tissue typing (DNA) tests for new donors to join The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR).

The Sunflower Fund relies heavily on this fundraiser to continue testing donors to help patients suffering from leukaemia and other life threatening blood disorders, who require a bone marrow transplant in order to survive and live a longer and healthier life.

“Please support this campaign and help make a difference as together, we can save more lives and we cannot do this without your support” implores Tarryn Corlett, Chief Operating Officer for The Sunflower Fund.

For more information on National Bandana Day and The Sunflower Fund, call the toll free line on 0800 12 10 82 or visit www.sunflowerfund.org.za

A Lasting Legacy for South African Youth
Some 18 months ago I wrote in the ‘Log Entry’ of SAILING Magazine how privileged I was to have been invited to the dinner where the 8 crew to compete on the Clipper Race were to be announced. It was a very special evening for so many reasons. What stood out for me was how enthusiastic and articulate the youngsters were, and how they gave such a positive vibe that one could not help believe that with this calibre of youth around the future of our country would be in good hands.

When I received the release below it brought back memories of that evening, and it made me realise how our sport, the sport of sailing, can give people hope and opportunity. I’ve always known our sport is special, and the story told below is one which proves it again. Please read it to the end.

The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation is to provide a lasting legacy for South African youth in partnership with the world’s longest ocean race.

An ambitious campaign to support and develop young South Africans from challenging backgrounds, to both inspire others and achieve their personal goals, after participating in the world’s longest ocean race, has launched a Foundation to provide a long-term legacy programme.

The Sapinda Rainbow Project worked with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to select a group of young South Africans aged 18-23, who each took part in one of the eight legs of the 40,000-mile, 11-month long, global race, as part of an innovative personal and community leadership skills development programme.

Lebalang Molobele, a 22 year-old from Meadowlands, Gauteng, near Johannesburg, South Africa, who participated in the final leg of the race aboard Invest Africa, has recently been talking about her desire to inspire other young people following her experience and is taking up the role of spokesperson for her fellow participants.

Recently the newly launched Sapinda Rainbow Foundation supported Lebalang’s selection to attend the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture presented by Dr. Michelle Bachelet, the President of Chile, a respected women’s rights activist and the first Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

The lecture discussed building social cohesion through active citizenship, a subject very close to Lebalang’s heart: “I live in a society where young people are not united and functional which creates a problem as we cannot flourish. After listening to such an inspirational woman and talking to others like her, I have a dream to be an inspirational woman, a leader in my community, a young African woman who will bring change for young girls.

“I used to think my potential will always be limited by my background, but it is because of it I know how it is to eat dry bread and starch water for a month and now appreciate when I eat meat. I can relate to a person who suffers from poverty. It is also because I have lived in a house that was a shebeen (an informal licensed drinking place in a township). I have come to know that through education I can escape the chances of selling alcohol to feed my family.”

Lebalang is in the early stages of fundraising and growing her registered club Kganyo Training Institution. Kganyo meaning ‘brightness’ has been set up by Lebalang for youths in her community to help develop public speaking and debate to engage with one another alongside strengthening their life skills including computer literacy.

It has been a huge journey for Lebalang, who before hearing about the Sapinda Rainbow Project was struggling to find a job. After being selected for the project she went back to university and passed her LLB Law degree with distinction.

Lebalang, who has a self-confessed fear of water, took part in the final leg of the race from New York across the Atlantic to London.

The Clipper Race is the only global sailing event that trains amateurs to take on the adventure of crossing some of the world’s most demanding oceans; it has a proven track record of personal development, especially with young people from challenging backgrounds.

The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation will continue to mentor the participants from this year’s Clipper race, and will become involved in the next edition, hoping to build its youth leadership development further to other regions in Africa. Former crew including Lebalang will be involved in the selection process and organisation of finding future young Africans who can benefit from the personal development participation in the race offers.

Dirk van Daele, CEO of Anoa Capital S.A. and Founder of the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, participated in the 2009-10 edition of the Clipper Race when he first discovered how it developed young people from challenging backgrounds in building their confidence and leadership skills.

”Once we completed the first race, we knew we needed to keep on mentoring the participants to ensure they could build on the experience and we will continue to assist them in fulfilling their own objectives as well as giving back to the communities from which they came.”

Lebalang adds: “The Sapinda Rainbow Project has made me want more and believe that I deserve more. I am proud to be a part of it and am profoundly grateful for all the opportunities I have benefited from as well as the support, words of wisdom and encouragement.

“What the foundation has done for me is something no one can take away, today I write this with confidence that in the next five years I will do great things, and it all started with me crossing the Atlantic Ocean.”

The Foundation recently launched its official website www.sapindarainbow.com where there is more information about the Foundation’s objectives and the full text of Lebalang’s blog about the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Cape Town.

An Outsider’s Perspective
Reader Response. The author is known to me, and requested anonymity.

From an outsider perspective, the merger between PYC and RNYC has always made sense to me. The pooling of resources, the combining of the sailing knowledge (and there must be a lot of that), the focus on one sailing calendar – well that all make sense to me. I also believe with the developments that the Harbour authorities have in mind, the merger may be the only thing that will ensure that top class competitive sailing as well as recreational sailing will happen in Durban Port. It will be interesting to see how the voting members of RNYC vote.

I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the issue of Durban – is it a backwater of sailing in SA, and what has happened to medium to long distance sailing in SA. I have to emphasize that the opinions and thoughts that I am about to give are purely my own and in no way reflects the clubs that I am a member of, or alternatively the organisation that I work for.

The scheduling of yacht races, whether they are long distance, medium distance or round the cans races needs to be reviewed.

The Cape to Rio Race takes place every three years, why 3 years, surely we should look at the international calendars for guidance, and schedule this race every four years. This is an expensive race to take part in, and these days more often than not, cost is more of a prohibiting factor than time off from work.

Similarly the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race, this takes place every two years, and this means that it regularly clashes with the Cape to Rio yacht race, and though it’s relatively a cheaper race than the Cape to Rio Yacht Race, it still costs money, and it still requires people to take time off from work.

The Vasco Da Gama Yacht Race every year? Need I say more. It’s not in the league of the first race in terms of time and costs, and its not a cheap option either.

Then we have the annual events such MSC Week, IRC nationals, and the numerous regional events such as the Mykonos Yacht Race, Mid-Summer Fling, West Coast Yacht Race, Admiral’s Cup (trying hard to re-establish it-self) and not to mention yacht races such as The Beachcomber, The Double Cape Yacht Race, the Mossel Bay Race and the Continental Week that now are only a memory.

Now we have a proposal on the table for a new event, Durban to Cape Town, and Cape Town to Walvis Bay. With the decline of some of the regattas/yacht races as already mentioned, and the declining number of yachts that we see on the start line of the races/regattas we do have, the question needs to be asked do we really want another race or two on our calendars. Apart from the pleasure and thrill of participating there is very little incentive to get yachts to race, though our clubs are full of yachts that hardly ever move.

In short competitive sailing is expensive, and it continues to get more expensive, as does the day to day maintenance of the yachts that are raced. It was recently stated that sailing is a very cheap sport, unless you are a boat owner, and they are the ones who at the end of the day have the final say as to whether a yacht will compete, irrespective of the event.

Obviously what I have just said is not new, but I do believe that the time is right for the yacht racing fraternity to get together and to come up with a new look calendar that will entice boat owners and their crew to participate in regattas and yacht races. The scheduling of events, enticements, location of events, finishing venues of long distance races, assistance to participants, development sailing needs to be reviewed. We need a national strategy to be put in place and then most importantly the commitment of yacht owners, skippers and crews and dare I forget, their families.

I have been present at many forums, discussions and even pub sessions where this matter gets discussed, and yet we (the sailing fraternity) don’t seem to go anywhere.

What do I suggest?

I think that we should look at an annual programme that would move the racing fleet to Durban, where it would compete in a local event such as the MSC week, and then a short time later (maybe a month or so) race to PE/EL (Vasco Race). Then it’s Continental week in PE, before the fleet moves to False Bay for the Spring Regatta, Hout Bay for the Admiral’s Cup and then onto Cape Town for the Crocs Regatta and the Mid-Summer Fling. The programme would then finish with the Mykonos Race. All these events would be linked to a point system, so that we could recognise a national champion. All participating clubs though would have to come onboard by providing moorings for the fleet and assist crews with accommodation and transportation (anything to make participation cheaper). It would also be a very big plus if local yachts participated. Then linked to all of this a development programme for up and coming sailors. Provision would have to be made for our two international races, namely the Cape to Rio and the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race, and if the interest is there the Beachcomber Race as well.

I believe that in the interests of competitive yacht racing, be it long distance, short distance and/or round the cans racing, a national strategy and programme needs to be formulated. With proper planning and the buy in of all the participants (racing crews, boat owners, yacht clubs and SAS) I am sure we could get to see some very interesting events and developments in years to come.

I have so far only focussed on the offshore racing as that is really my main point of interest. That said though I don’t think that we should ignore the dinghy sailing, to the contrary, dinghy sailing is as important and also needs to reviewed in such a way that more sailors compete in more events at regional and national level. Guidance from SAS, in the form of a national strategy which highlight preferred boat paths, development and training programmes which culminates in a nationally supported participation in world championship events is essential.

Just some thoughts.

What has happened to coastal offshore racing?
Reader Response

Nicholas and Richard, I really support your efforts in trying to get offshore sailing moving in South Africa.

A few thoughts went through my head when reading the “Talking Sailing” this morning. I was wondering if an offshore series might not be a bad idea. RORC run this in the UK and around the world and it really works.

This is made up of short and long offshore races that are weighted. So if you do a long offshore you get more points.

I like your idea of a Durban to Cape Town race (ED. What was mooted is 3 legs from Durban to CT, not one leg), but I think we need to encourage some short offshore passages too. We are so lucky in South Africa to have so many places that we can stop. These places will take deep drafted boats too…. I think the biggest problem in South Africa is boat prep before going to sea. We seem to lose rigs, boats and people due to lack of prep. I think that if we did more short offshore races in order to qualify for a long offshore race we might prevent this.

I loved the Double Cape Race…. why don’t we sail that any more?

Part of my reason for moving to the UK is to be able to do more sailing. I leave work on a Friday start a race and come back on Sunday night. We do this at least twice a month whatever the weather.

Good Luck and I hope you get that race off the ground and on to the water….. I might even come home to sail that! From Phillippa Hutton-Squire.

I Like This!
There is a higher law than the law of government. That’s the law of conscience. Stokely Carmichael.

Some Boating Humour
The last issue had the following which raised many a laugh: “The skipper is always right. Misinformed perhaps, sloppy, crude, bull headed, fickle, even stupid, but never wrong”.

Here’s one which takes skipper arrogance to another level, and is entitled “How to satisfy a skipper”.

A Skipper is walking through town, looking for crew, when he sees a five-story building with a sign that reads, “Crew Association: Yacht Crew Available”.

Since he is without crew, he decides to go in.

The Security Guard, a very salty type, explains to him how it works. “We have five floors. Go up floor by floor and once you find what you are looking for, for crew, you can go there and make a selection. It’s easy to decide since each floor has a sign telling you who’s inside.”

Everything seems straightforward enough, so the skipper starts going up and on the first floor the sign reads, “All the crew on this floor are beginners.” The skipper laughs, and without hesitation moves on to the next floor.

The sign on the second floor reads, “All the crew here are experienced, smart but weak”. Still, this isn’t good enough, so the Skipper continues on up.

He reaches the third floor and the sign reads, “All the crew here are experienced, smart and strong.” He still wants to do better, and so, knowing there are still two floors left, he keeps going.

On the fourth floor, the sign is perfect, “All the crew here are experienced, smart, strong and former America’s Cup Champions.” The Skipper gets excited and is about to go in when he realizes that there is still one floor left.

Wondering what he is missing, he heads up to the fifth floor. There he finds a sign that reads, “There is no crew here. This floor was built only to prove that there is no way to satisfy a Skipper!”

Nautical Superstitions
Don’t Sail On These Days…

Don’t Sail On Thursdays, Fridays, the first Monday in April or the second Monday in August.

Fridays. Fridays have long been considered unlucky days, likely because Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday.
Thursdays. Thursdays are bad sailing days because that is Thor’s day, the god of thunder and storms.
First Monday in April. The first Monday in April is the day Cain slew Abel.
Second Monday in August. The second Monday in August is the day the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.

Superstitious sailors believe that the only good day to set sail is Sundays.

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
●  Keep being forthright. You’ve had two great ideas lately. Bring back fun. The Hobie guys did a beach-to-beach dash and dare I say the RN sandbank series are a great start. Bart’s Bash could be the right medicine to kick off the new season.
Durban to Cape (and beyond) race: many sports have a ‘circuit’ so why not yachting, with a series of individual races and an overall ‘circuit’ winner?

●  Captain. Thanks for the pleasure I get from reading “Talking Sailing”. I trust that common sense will prevail on the 8th and that folk will put aside their years of antagonism and see the bigger picture.

●  Well said about the club merger. I can recall very clearly the vote when Bob Nuttal and Peter Collins were the respective Commodores – and both clubs turned the idea down.

●  I read the news about the merging of the two clubs in Durban with interest, and noted your comments about the diminishing numbers in the various fleets. I want to correct you on one part of your message. Although many people don’t even consider Hobies as real sailing, we in fact have a strong fleet in Durban that is growing rapidly. We recently held the KZN Provincials and had a 27 boat turnout. We will also be hosting the National Champs at PYC over Easter next year, and we are expecting a good turnout of 60+ boats.

We generally remain as far from sailing politics as possible (which is probably why our fleet continually grows) but for what it’s worth we hope the vote is positive for all and sailing is the end beneficiary.

●  “Skippers are always right.” All my life I’ve been sailing singlehanded even though I’ve had a crew to put up with!!!!! – David Abromowitz

●  East Rand Yacht Club. I am investigating what became of the East Rand Yacht Club. So far I have discovered that it was vandalized, found photos and that Wits used the club for a time. I learned to sail at the club before I came to Australia, and continue to sail in many offshore events up and down the east coast including 17 Sydney to Hobart races.

Some of the people sailing there at the time were Don and Sandy Ord, Conrad Saul, son of a sailmaker and Doug Hammerslag.

If you have any details of what happened or any records of the early times I would appreciate if I could get copies. Thank you. David Rees – dwrees@ozemail.com.au

●  Although perhaps not quite in the Formula 1 league, the Governor’s Cup race is still going (very) strong and, in my humble opinion, deserves to be included along with the Vasco and Cape to Rio races. On a number of occasions, the race attracted almost as many entries as the Rio event – particularly if the multihulls going along for the South Atlantic “ride” were not counted. I would submit that the format of the race gets pretty close to “putting the fun back into sailing”. Incidentally this year’s race will, almost certainly, be the last when yachts (and crews) can be shipped home. The RMS is due to end its career in 2015 as far as I know.

●  Agree with most of what Craig said – which is unusual as I usually do not agree with him. Incidentally, FBYC is almost certainly going to use “coastal” courses for the Miura and Flamenca classes during their Nationals in the upcoming Spring Regatta. This arises from the fact that last year 5 Miuras entered in the round-the-cans Div 2 racing while 4 chose the pure cruising class.

●  Just to help you update your records there have been three 505 World Championships held in Durban – 1979, 1994 & 2000.

● Midmar Open Days. The second of the two open days will be on Sunday 31 August and not 30th as quoted. Queries may be sent to: development@sailing.co.za

●  Not sure if there is a “Tool of the Month Award” for sailing a 40 ft Moorings charter boat in the manner depicted in the attached pic, but these guys (with a USA flag in their rigging) are fine contenders. This picture was taken next to St Anne’s island off Mahé on 10 August 2014, in the marine nature reserve. As you can see these guys also have all their lines out so not only are they disregarding the laws of physics by sailing their boat in this manner they are also breaking the laws of the land.

Anyway, whoever hired this boat, Registration number H384, at this time should get some form of award. Richard, maybe we could start a new section? ……….and to think their countrymen won the America’ s Cup !!!!!

ED. The pic showed a 40′ cat with its main strapped fully over to windward, and back-winding, while under power with fishing lines out. No-one was concerned nor any the wiser!

The Bitter End
The Blazer Brigade who have forgotten that they don’t exist without those who get their feet wet!

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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