“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 23

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issue – 23
24 September 2014

by Richard Crockett

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Talking About…
• “Talking Sailing” – 1 year down the line…
• Bart’s Bash
• 69 Yachts for Spring Regatta at FBYC!
• Here’s An Initiative to Assist the NSRI
• Route du Rhum
• SAS – Some Food for Thought
• The World’s Largest Rum Tasting!
• The Bitter End – Videos
• (Hunter) Squib Class Dominates One of the Biggest Regattas in the World
• A Lasting Legacy for South African Youth
• RNYC & PYC Merger – Reader Response
• Memberships Give Merger the Go-ahead
• I Like This!
• Nautical Superstitions – No Bananas On Board
• Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
• The Bitter End

“Talking Sailing” – 1 year down the line…
This newsletter blog has been around for a year now, and has touched on some very thorny yet important issues in our sport. It is lapped up by some who simply cannot get enough “Talking Sailing” and loathed by those who have identified themselves as the ‘perpetrators of crimes against sailing’ (shall we call them POCAS? – although ‘palooka’ may be more appropriate!)

So as I continue my leisurely cruise into this column’s second year of passage-making, the question is simply this – has “Talking Sailing” made a difference to our sport? Only you the readers can answer this, and the feedback I continue to receive is mostly positive with requests for more, much more.

The proof of the pudding always lies in the eating. “Talking Sailing” has a shade under 6 000 unique subscribers which is worthy support indeed.

Enjoy the passage – but more importantly, please continue with your feedback. It’s all good for our sport and keeps people “Talking Sailing”.

Bart’s Bash
This international event was staged last weekend and was a grand success. 21 South African Clubs took part, and an international entry of some 20 000 people competed. But more importantly it achieved its goal by setting a new Guinness World Record as the Largest Sailing Race ever held.

This was a great initiative as it galvanised a wide range of people to get on the water and remember Bart, but more importantly reminded people that they own boats and should sail them more regularly.

I know that in Durban, where I competed, there was a record number of boats on the water – a positive sign for this area which is well-known for its sailing apathy.

This is what Bart’s Bash achieved:
• Bart’s Bash was set up to remember Olympic gold medallist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, to inspire the next generation of sailors, to encourage clubs to open their doors and to fundraise in support of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation’s charitable programmes.
• Set the new Guinness World Record for the Largest Sailing Race (24 hours).
• There were 768 venues taking part in 68 countries.
• The record was achieved after processing the results of 3,600 boats, who have sailed over 10,000,000 metres in total, which equals 13% of the data the organisation expects to receive in the coming days.

“The event has proved a huge success and we are delighted to announce that, subject to ratification, we have set the new Guinness World Record. And we have done it in style with 87 % of the results still to be processed,” said Richard Percy, CEO of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. “The turnout on 21st September exceeded our expectations and we are very happy that we provided a truly global opportunity for people to come together and enjoy sailing. We hope this event will become a regular feature in the global sailing calendar.”

The following 21 South African Clubs participated:
Aeolians Club
Algoa Bay Yacht Club
Boskop Yacht Club
Emmarentia Sailing Club
False Bay Yacht Club
Florida Yacht Club
George Lakes Yacht Club
Glenwood High School Yacht Club
Imperial Yacht Club
Knysna Yacht Club
Lake Deneys Yacht Club
Milnerton Aquatic Club
Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club
Point Yacht Club
Pretoria Sailing Club
Redhouse Yacht Club
Royal Natal Yacht Club
Stilbaai Yacht Club
The Catamaran Club
Transvaal Yacht Club
Witbank Yacht and Aquatic Club

The top 3 local clubs in terms of entrants were:
Point Yacht Club                  54
Lake Deneys Yacht Club     44
Imperial Yacht Club            43

69 Yachts for Spring Regatta at FBYC!
I continue to be in awe of sailing in Cape Town as little seems to dampen their enthusiasm and stop them from sailing. To have this number of keelboats in one regatta is enviable – and should be a lesson to all outside of the Cape and something we can all learn from.

Best of all though is that a man who has always been a very generous benefactor of the sport in terms of sponsorship, is leading the IRC Division with 2 wins after 2 races on his Corby 49 ‘Nitro’. Well done Mike Hayton and may your time in big boats be long, enjoyable and rewarding.

Here’s An Initiative to Assist the NSRI
I have said this before, and I don’t mind saying it again. It’s simply this – in Durban we have a great annual NSRI fund-raising drive which between the Durban Clubs can raise in excess of R100 000 in a single day – and ALL of which goes to the NSRI.

My ambition has always been to turn this into a single NATIONAL NSRI fund-raising day, and it could be on a similar basis to Bart’s Bash with clubs competing against each other on a specified day to raise much needed funds for our rescue service.

Are there any takers as I believe that this will work and, like Bart’s Bash, will get people across the country on the water for a good cause. Plus, there may even be a record in the making?

Let’s have feedback as I will personally push this hard to come to fruition.

Route du Rhum
Held every four years the Route du Rhumb is a 3550nm singlehanded race from Saint-Malo (France) to Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe). It is open to multihulls and monohulls which are split into several classes according to their overall length.

News recently in is that Phillippa Hutton-Squire has qualified to compete in this race on an Open 40. The boat is ‘Swish’, the same boat in which Nick Leggatt navigated to a world record in the recent Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race.

There are nearly 80 competitors registered so far in five boat classes.

It appears that Phillippa will be the first South African to compete in this event. Not since the days of Bertie Reed, John Martin and JJ Provoyeur have we had any serious singlehanders competing under the South African flag, so Phillippa’s participation is noteworthy and worth following closely. Plus she will, I am sure, become South Africa’s first woman singlehander.

Incidently a few years ago Matt Trautman competed in the Mini Transat – so we can add him to the list of our singlehanders despite not having done a circumnavigation.

SAS – Some Food for Thought
The Royal Yachting Association recently conducted it’s biennial membership survey of members, lapsed-members and non-members.

“The membership survey provides us with a crucial insight into what the boating community feels about RYA membership, members’ attitudes towards membership and potential ideas for the future, all of which contribute towards shaping the RYA membership offer and help us develop plans for membership growth”, explained Conor Swift, RYA Membership Development Manager.

Of the thousands of survey respondents 41% stated the main reason they joined the RYA was due to the RYA’s globally recognised training, certification, personal and professional qualifications, followed by almost a quarter (24%) stating they joined to add their voice to the existing 102,000 members to ensure legislators, regulators and other authorities understand, and take account of, recreational boating activity.

When asked what the single most valuable benefit of RYA membership was 25% of respondents stated access to advice, information and knowledge from RYA experts.

I passed this information on to the new guys who were recently elected to run South African Sailing (SAS). They did respond positively and I am sure that during their strategy sessions on how to take SAS forward into the future, they will take cognisance of the above.

Follow this link to see more: http://www.rya.org.uk/Pages/Search.aspx?k=membership%20survey

The World’s Largest Rum Tasting!
Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell is inviting rum fans to become official record breakers as he bids to take the title of ‘World’s Largest Rum Tasting’. Taking place on Thursday 9 October as a precursor to RumFest (http://rumfest.co.uk), enthusiasts will be treated to a tasting experience at London’s ILEC Centre, where they will be able to sample and discover rums from six prestigious rum brands.

The event will be officially adjudicated by a Guinness World Records representative and hosted by Ian Burrell.

If you are a rum afficionado and in London on 9 October just get there. And have a drop for me too please!

The Bitter End – Videos
I received this message from Alan: “G’day Richard. I know you enjoy the bitter end, so check these out.”

Check them out indeed as they make interesting viewing:

(Hunter) Squib Class Dominates One of the Biggest Regattas in the World
An overall win of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week for the second year in a row has further endorsed the Squib’s reputation as one of the most successful, versatile and affordable small racing keelboats on the market.

Corinthian sailors Malcolm Hutchings and crewman Andy Ramsey sailing Lady Penelope not only won their class at Cowes Week from a highly competitive 31-boat fleet, but also won White Group overall, and were deemed overall winners of the week from the 800 plus fleet beating Adam Gosling’s Corby 36 Yes! – winner of Black Group – for the second year running.

While there is no doubt that Hutchings and Ramsey’s impressive sailing skill and teamwork led to their ultimate win, their passion for the 47-year-old class is what really spurs them on. As fine class ambassadors they have proved once again that winning the biggest regatta of its type in the world is not all about spending big bucks but more about good, consistent competition and maintaining a healthy class status within a fleet.

With over 500 members including a strong youth contingent, 35 fleets around the British Isles, plus boats in France, Denmark, Germany and the Caribbean, the Squib class is booming. The recent appointment of Rondar Raceboats as the new builder is good news too because it means more used boats are likely to be on the market once production of new boats is underway.

Hutchings and Ramsey, from Burnham-on-Crouch on the east coast, say that 13-year-old Lady Penelope is a fine example of the sort of results an ageing Squib can achieve: “Age is not an issue in the Squib class it’s all about keeping the fleet alive. Because she is a one-design, nothing really changes, so it is possible to pick up a relatively old boat for a good price and, and as long as it is maintained well, there is no reason not to do well. The key is to keep everything in tip top condition as this will ensure the Squib class is winning in years to come.”

With 31 boats on the water, the Squib class was the second largest one-design fleet after the X-One Designs at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week this year. Endorsing the ethos of the class, which encourages ‘sailing for all’, Cowes Week attracted eight under 25-year-olds including the youngest at just 12. Twenty-two of the boats had family members on board, and a third of the fleet were girls including five at the helm.

Steve Warren-Smith – chairman of the class association – crewing for Sarah Everitt on Aquabat, were the only team to beat Hutchings and Ramsey in a race during Cowes Week. Warren-Smith concluded: “Winning Cowes Week in a Squib is a bit like winning the Champions League with the local village team, or winning a Grand Prix in a go-cart. It’s the ability that counts, not the wallet!”

Editor’s Note: The Squib is very similar to the Hunter Class in South Africa. I asked a doyen of the Hunter Class locally what the difference between the two is. Craig Millar replied: “A squib is a 19′ fractional rig open boat. I guess like a bigger flying 15. it was designed by model yachtsman Oliver Lee. The Hunter 19 is a squib with a deck and cabin. The hunter has a masthead rig with a big overlapping genoa and masthead spinnaker. It was quite ahead of its time because it has a bulb and was designed more than 50 years ago.

Can we learn from this? Absolutely. We have an array of old classes in this country that can, and do, provide some really exciting sailing for those who do not want to spend big bucks and go like the clappers. Maybe more positive promotion of some of these classes would result in more ‘bums on boats’?

A Lasting Legacy for South African Youth
In the last issue I mentioned the 8 local crew who competed in the Clipper Race and that the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation was responsible for this.

I was reminded that Sail Africa in Durban was very actively involved in the entire selection process and some training of these guys.

RNYC & PYC Merger
Reader Response.
I am so sorry to hear about RNYC turning down the merger with PYC. This is a major step backwards for our sport/recreation in your region.

My boys (both were awarded NKA Colours recently) and I sailed a few MSC Weeks, and one Lipton, at PYC. This was mostly enjoyable. I shall not moan about what was wrong at the time.

We, as a family, were transferred to Durban for the period 1994 to 1996. We lived in luxury in company accommodation in Kloof (I spelt it “Cluph” at the time).

I joined Kloof Country Club. I had to play golf on Wednesdays and Saturdays to build my network. Most Wednesday evenings I invited my the young family to the carvery at the club. This was fun with my kids under the age of eight being able to use silver cutlery correctly (remember, from outside to in!). Old ladies with purple rinses came ooing and aaing around the small kids and the waiters spoiling them with chocolate Kruger Rands!

But, come 18H00, you shall sport a jacket and tie. If you were an innocent visitor to the club, an usher would take you out the pub to a cloakroom and fix your attire with clothing on loan. I found that strange.

Please excuse the detour to ‘Cluph’, but the story I just told is the essence of the yachting problem in Durban. Too set in their ways; must they depart before we can move on?

Surely these people are not yet accustomed to the new South Africa and the new (20 year old) ways of going about with your fellow South Africans. The clubs are 300m apart, the party goes either way. Royal has the best restaurant, Point has the better pub? Really, and this from a Vaalie.

I do not understand that only 98 voted. Is this an elitist society? What about the other members? Please see this comment against the ‘Cluph’ argument! Stuck thirty years ago? Sad.

The Queen is the queen to the UK, Australia and those other sheep lovers and has no bearing on us. I am pretty sure that she will not revoke the “Royal” title from RNYC if it merged with PYC. If the scare is real, just send the Queen a bottle of serious Gin.

Anyway, I got it off my chest. Sorry for the bitch. I enjoy both your sailing clubs, your city and the surrounds; and winter climate. Hope to see you all soon. Sleigh Haynes

Memberships Give Merger the Go-ahead
The merger between two of the UK largest yacht clubs – the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes – has been confirmed. At Extraordinary General Meetings of the RCYC (held on 24 August) and the RORC (held on 28 August) an overwhelming majority of members voted in favour of the merger to form one club, in the case of RORC 93% and in the case of RCYC (Cowes) 87% of members that voted.

“This is an important milestone in the history and development of the RORC, which celebrates its 90th year in 2015,” said RORC Commodore Mike Greville. “The proposal to combine the two clubs evolved from a shared vision about what they could create together, which neither could achieve alone. For RORC this gives a permanent base and clubhouse facility at the very heart of UK yachting and for RCYC this creates a strong club at the forefront of international yachting, which can support its development as a preeminent Solent club. We are very encouraged by the huge level of support which this proposal has generated from members of both clubs.”

RCYC Vice Commodore, Amanda Dreyer was equally positive about the decision. “During our initial discussions with RORC earlier this year, we identified that both RCYC and RORC have similar cultures and long-term strategies for growth. With RCYC’s objective to be a vibrant club offering improved facilities, and RORC’s vision for a base in Cowes, there are powerful and mutual benefits for both great clubs. I am delighted the merger has the approval of our Members and in the confidence this gives to Cowes, to be at the heart of yachting.”

The combined Club will operate under the name of RORC although the Royal Corinthian name will be preserved for use in connection with the Cowes clubhouse and Solent-based inshore racing. The headquarters of the Club will remain at the London clubhouse in St James’s .

The effective date of the merger is to expected to be 10 November 2014.

I Like This!
The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow. – Seth Godin.

Nautical Superstitions – No Bananas On Board
At the height of the trading empire between Spain and the Caribbean in the 1700s, most cases of disappearing ships happened to be carrying a cargo of bananas at the time. One theory suggests that because bananas spoiled so quickly, transporters had to get to their destination much quicker.

Fisherman who have bananas on board don’t catch anything is another superstition.

Today many boat owners continue to avoid bananas at sea, some even avoiding banana smelling sun tan lotion! You have been warned.

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
●  Thanks again for a brilliant Talking Sailing Issue.

On the issue of transformation, I would like to add my 2 cents worth from experience at home. My son is 11 years old and my daughter is 7 years old. If you come to my house when the kids are finished with school or even on a weekend, it looks like the rainbow nation. These kids don’t see colour and they all have one thing in common, just having fun. My son asked me if I could take him and his friends sailing for his birthday instead of a party. I thought great because I get to go sailing and it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than a party for 20 children. All the kids enjoyed the day and they had lots of fun, especially with the tender and 5hp motor. (I could have left the Holiday on its trailer) The staff at DAC where I have applied for membership are extremely welcoming and hospitable to non-members and they have kid friendly facilities.

To cut a long story short, shouldn’t we use the kids mind-set to our advantage. I’m not saying we don’t need transformation in sailing, but by getting these kids on the water sailing Oppies or Dabchicks or whatever dinghies are available should be the first step. Transformation will sort itself out.

All these kids need is to experience the thrill of sailing on something small that doesn’t belong to dad and also something they can have fun on and make mistakes.(That don’t cost an arm or a leg) Eventually you will get the “Dad when am I going to get my own Oppie”.

●  Another good edition!!!

●  It’s definitely a sign of the times where most people are really not interested in the political aspect of clubs and especially in sailing. Only 98 votes for such an important decision. I don’t know what the membership of RNYC is but bet that it is at least 4 times that much?

●  I have been skipper, voluntary, of JML Rotary Scout, owned by the SA Scout Association, for the last 14 years and have seen so many Scouts benefit from the programme, but the more satisfying trips were the long distance ones such as the Governor’s Cups, 2010 and 2012, and C2Rio 2014 as well as the trip back. The satisfaction of seeing the crew develop into confident and competent sailors has brought me satisfaction beyond bounds. I have always been excited by the programme, but I fell ill after the Easter weekend, having helped with the Southern Cross Charter Dinghy Champs. I am still recuperating after having had Septicaemia in the hip, but find it difficult to motivate people that even though believe in the system to put in the time that I did. Great articles. Peter Bosch

●  How very sad. The sport of sailing is not in good nick. The merger between the RNYC and Point was essential to the future of the sport. I foresee some very unfortunate repercussions to this decision, not least is the renewal of leases with the Durban council and the solvency of the two clubs concerned.

People can be so stupid. Keep fighting the war!

The Bitter End
Those who simply cannot understand that cruising folk do not want to know the Racing Rules of Sailing, yet scream and shout at them on the water if they get in the way.

Bart’s Bash was spoilt for me when a competitor ‘vloeked’ a cruising cat which had minimal way due to the very light conditions. Could the idiot in the small manoeuvrable boat not have ignored the matter, as it was a fun race, and politely spoken to the errant skipper afterwards? We need more people on the water, and we certainly don’t need them chased off the water with boorish behaviour.

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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“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 50

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