“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 27

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issue – 27
22 January 2015

by Richard Crockett

Reader response is welcome – send to: editor@sailing.co.za

I opened the last ‘Talking Sailing” at the end of 2014 with the following words: ‘Tis the season to be jolly!

And it still is the season to be jolly, midway through the first month of 2015, as the new year brought us two new pairs of world champions – what a way to herald in a new year!

Firstly the Dart 18 Worlds on the Vaal Dam saw Alan & Fiona Kernick being crowned World Champions.

Not wanting to take anything away from their achievement in any way, I felt that the Mirror World Title Michaela and Ryan Robinson won on Theewaters was simply the best for a number of reasons.

They successfully defended the World title they won in Ireland in 2013 to win their second successive title. But to me, and the most impressive thing is that in Ireland Ryan Robinson helmed the boat, while this time on Theewaters Michaela helmed the team to victory. This means that both Michaela and Ryan have now helmed the team to victory – showing just how versatile this dynamic duo really is at the ages of 14 (Michaela) and 18 (Ryan).

The big question is can they win three in a row?

Incidently, both the Kernicks and the Robinsons have now both earned themselves TWO world titles each.

So can the local 505s keep this ‘home’ world championship record alive in Port Elizabeth in April?

A New Year’s Message
May all your troubles last as long as your New Year resolutions.

Talking About…
• A New Year’s Message
• Sailor of the Year
• Team Vestas Wind – What went Wrong?
• Someone With a Warped Sense of Humour!
• Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
• Vasco da Gama Ocean Race
• Message In A Bottle: Forty Two Years and 5000km Later
• Remember the Seagull Outboard?
• Sir Robin Knox-Johnston wins Yachtsman of the Year Award
• Honour for Bart’s Bash Initiative
• Getting Knotted
• Star in Your Own Movie!
• A Lasting Gift – A subscription to SAILING Magazine
• I Like This!
• Nautical Superstitions
• Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”

Sailor of the Year
SAILING Magazine’s ‘Sailor of the Year’ for 2014 was Blaine Dodds.

Blaine Dodds was our deserving winner. A more loyal competitor and promoter of our sport in the multihull fraternity will be hard to find. Dodds has an incredible record in Hobie sailing with some 32 national titles to his name, national colours on many occasions and recent acceptance into the Hobie Hall of Fame.

What’s more, he’s a family man who sails with family as often as he can. He races Hobie 16s with his daughter, Hobie Tigers with his son, while his wife accompanies them to events and sails too. The family aspect of Dodds’ award is what makes our sport so very special, as it is a family sport and one in which people can compete for a lifetime.

He was interviewed in the January issue of SAILING Magazine, so get a copy to read what makes him tick.

Our last multihull winner of this award was Shaun Ferry in 2005.

PLEASE NOTE. I am amazed that on occasions specific good performances go unrecognised as no nomination is received for the ‘Sailor of the Month’ award. This award is driven by you the sailors and readers who make the nominations. ANYONE can make a nomination, and there is no sanction needed from a Club, Class or anyone else.

If you think there is a sailor worthy of nomination, simply send the nomination with a motivation and a photo of the person to – editor@sailing.co.za

Team Vestas Wind – What went Wrong?
Since the last “Talking Sailing” much has been written about Team Vestas Wind hitting the bricks! Much with sympathy although others had some very harsh words.

Nick Leggatt, a man with a ton of experience racing around the world and with world records to his credit is one who is very critical of what happened. He has no sympathy and says why in a very well written article that will be in the February issue of SAILING Magazine (due on the shelves at your favourite book shop or Engen forecourt shops countrywide from Monday 2 February).

It’s a very good read so get it as it’s simply too long for this news forum.

The good news on this whole sorry situation is that the boat has been salvaged from the reef and is in the process of being rebuilt to compete in the last few legs of the race.

Someone With a Warped Sense of Humour!
The sailing results are in:
The USA took gold,
The UK took silver,
and Somalia took a middle aged couple from Weymouth.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
If you did not watch the start of this classic race you missed something sensational as ‘Comanche’ powered away from the start at such speed that the skipper of ‘Wild Oats’ was clearly heard shouting the following to his crew: “Look at that thing go!

My people have asked why ‘Comanche’s’ mast was so far aft?

I contacted her designers and received the following response:
Xavier Guilbaud from Naval Architects VPLP design answered this question succinctly as he was the lead designer on the project.

The reason why the mast is so far aft comes from our work done on the multihulls in the past 20 years and more recently on the Imoca 60s.

We like having a centre of gravity far aft for reaching and downwind performance and this allows (the boat) to have a high aspect ratio main with a shorter boom, which makes it easier to handle.

On top of that, it gives bigger angles on the headstays which creates more vertical lift and helps us having a bow up attitude.

So there we have it! It was very different seeing this boat with its mast so far aft and the mainsail traveller right aft on the transom.

Vasco da Gama Ocean Race
The Vasco da Gama Ocean Race is the oldest coastal ocean race on the South African sailing calendar and will be sailed for the 44th time this year. It is open to both MONOHULLS and MULTIHULLS with details in this regard being available in the Notice of Race.

For the next three years the race will once again go south from Durban and finish in Port Elizabeth, adding an additional 100 nautical miles to the distance, making it a 410nm ocean race.

There are so many positive aspects surrounding the race this year that there is every chance it will be a record breaker in so many different ways. Already there are 9 entries, with interest indicating the possibility of a fleet between 20 and 30 boats.

It has caught the imagination of Cape yachtsmen, and if just half the number of potential competitors from the Cape make it to the start line, this race will have more Cape entries than at any other time in its history.

But more importantly than this, it has caught the imagination of so many different people who are itching to compete.

“At the Cape Town Boat Show I was chatting to a guy and his wife from Bloemfontein. I enquired where people in that area sailed, and he simply said Gariep Dam. He then went on to say that on Gariep Dam there are a number of biggish keelboats which race once a month, his being a Jeannea Sun Fizz 40 named ‘Star Spirit’. The essence of revealing this is that Willie Pretorius is planning to take the boat from Gariep Dam to the coast for the race. He hopes to be able to compete in the Mykonos Race with his crew, before heading for Durban and the Vasco Race”.

Another great story is that from Tony Bailes who submitted the third entry. He entered ‘Malgas’ an L34 which he has been prepping for serious racing for some time. But, having entered, the bug bit hard and he thought he would rather sail something a little bigger, so has bought the Fast 42 ‘Nemesis’ which is being prepped in Cape Town. Tony plans to compete in RCYC Summer Regatta, Fling Regatta and Mykonos Race before taking her to his home port of Port Elizabeth for additional crew training prior to sailing to Durban for the Vasco start.

”I am getting some items updated and the bottom cleaned in Cape Town” said Bailes. “She has caused some interest in PE with everyone now keen to get on her and go for a sail. All of this can be attributed to the Vasco Race which certainly got me motivated to get a bigger boat and get back into the racing circuit. I am really looking forward to the Vasco. The challenge is on for the family teams from ‘Nemesis’ and ‘Ray of Light’ – last years line honours winner” said Bailes.

These are just two ‘feel good’ stories which are sweeping the country and which will make this years Vasco da Gama Race the best ever since the days when it went to East London

The race starts in Durban on Saturday 25 April, and entries close at 17h00 on 27 March 2015.

Information from the Race Secretary, Lucy de Freitas – 083 340 3089 or sailing@pyc.co.za

Follow the race build-up, news and excitement surrounding this race on FACEBOOK at:
https://www.facebook.com/VascodaGama2015

Message In A Bottle: Forty Two Years and 5000km Later
A message in a bottle has been found 5000 kilometres away from where it was tossed into the ocean, a whopping 42 years later.

Scottish fisherman John Souter said he threw the old lemonade bottle into the North Sea in 1973, and it was found by a German tourist on a recent trip to the United States.

The tourist, Michael Scholz, took the bottle and its note back to his home in Germany and then posted it back to Mr Souter’s former address.

By the time Mr Scholz had found it, the bottle had travelled around 5300km to Jones Beach in Nassau County, New York.

When he got home, her returned the message, along with his own note explaining how he found it.

The moral of the story is simply this: If you have ever tossed a message in a bottle into the sea, don’t give up hope.

Remember the Seagull Outboard?
I cannot recall having seen a working Seagull outboard on a tender in this country for decades. Do any exist locally?

My abiding memory of these workhorses was seeing old salts in their tenders continuously pulling to get them started! They appeared to have a habit of being ‘non-starters’, but were relied on by many and spoken about with pride.

The reason for mentioning this is that a reader sent a link to a website (www.seagullparts.co.za) and it is interesting to know that there is a guy in the Western Cape who has an interest in these old work-horses and who lovingly restores them and sings their praises. Plus he says he has the best selection of parts available anywhere.

He does not mention his name, and his story fascinated me – so go and check it out as it’s worth a read.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston wins Yachtsman of the Year Award
75 year-old Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has been named British Yachtsman of the Year by the Yachting Journalists’ Association.

Sir Robin’s outstanding sailing exploits impressed the Country’s foremost sailing journalists, as members of the YJA (Yachting Journalists Association) voted him the eventual winner from a closely contested shortlist that included ISAF sailing world champion Giles Scott from Weymouth and Hamble based solo transatlantic sailor Miranda Merron.

At the age of 75, Sir Robin’s achievements last year culminated in an astonishing third in class finish in the renowned Route du Rhum solo transatlantic race. Today marks the fourth time the Portsmouth based sailor has been crowned Yachtsman of the Year – the first dates back to 1969, when he famously became the first person to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation.

Accepting his award, Sir Robin said: “At last I’ve caught up with Sir Ben Ainslie having now won my fourth award. The other two nominees have performed fantastically and both deserved to win – so I would like to thank everyone who voted for me.”

Honour for Bart’s Bash Initiative
At the same Yachting Journalists awards (as above) there was also a special Lifetime Achievement Award for Iain Percy, OBE. This recognised his contribution to the enormously successful Bart’s Bash charity initiative to raise funds for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

Receiving his award via video-link, Iain commented: “I am very honoured to have been given this award. Bart’s Bash has turned out to be such an amazing event that has already introduced many people to our sport. It is the perfect mix of racing, family and fun which is why I believe it has been so popular. The event is a huge team effort with so many people involved and I would like to recognise everyone for making this happen including the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation which has been instrumental from the very beginning.”

Bart’s Bash was well received in RSA with many Clubs taking up the challenge.

Getting Knotted
The info below was sourced from Dave Jones Sonnet Sailing – South & East Cape newsletter.

While weather forecasts on TV/radio and the data on internet weather sites give wind-speed in a number of different ways such as km/hr or m/sec, serious sailors tend to prefer knots when measuring both boat-speed and wind-speed and with very good reason.

The knot is a curious measure, derived in the days of sail largely by trial and error. But it is a speed measure expressed in nautical miles per hour and thus very directly and very usefully linked to navigation because a nautical mile is exactly 1 minute of latitude. It is called the “knot” because a sailing ship’s speed was measured by chucking a standard-sized plank of wood over the stern which then reeled out a light line with evenly spaced knots tied in it and held overhead in a spool. This exercise was called “streaming the log” and the ship’s speed was determined by the number of knots in the line that passed over the stern within 30 seconds as measured by a simple hour glass/egg timer. Very easy and very accurate.

Because the distance elements in other ways of expressing speed were derived in different ways and have no direct link to navigation, a direct conversion is difficult.

The kilometre is one 10 millionth of the distance from the equator to the North Pole, but sadly measured incorrectly at the time.

The English mile is, believe it or not, eight times the distance a medieval ox could plough before needing a rest. This was 220 ploughman paces and called a furlough (rest period) for those who can remember that far back.

The continental/Roman mile, still in use in Italy as in their famous Mille Miglia (1000 mile race), was more usefully 1000 paces of a marching Roman Legionnaire.

The official conversion factor is 0.5399 nautical miles to the kilometre, which provides a satisfactory rule of thumb for converting km/hr to knots.

To convert km/hr to knots, just divide by two.

To convert knots to km/hr, multiply by two.

Easy and as accurate as any weather forecast will be !

Star in Your Own Movie!
From Dan Mathee
Early in my life I made a decision, reinforced by my old mentor, a Jewish Gentleman in Cape Town who said and I quote: “All my friends tell me that they are saving for their retirement to go and do the things they want to do (today we call it a bucket list!!!). My philosophy is to do it while you can and live with the everlasting memories. Retirement may never come and if you are lucky to get there you may be too old to do what you could do when you were younger”.

As I sit back I am very grateful for the courage bestowed on me to actually have gone out when I was young enough and silly enough to seize the opportunities and have the balls to take the opportunity and convert it into a memory. Those memories are mine. One day, God forbid it happens, I may be stuck in a bed or a wheel chair, I can play those memories back, like watching a John Wayne movie in black and white!!!

AND you know what is great about all this – you are in that movie as well as many of my other ‘mates’.

So, go and do it now – later may simply be too late!

A Lasting Gift – A subscription to SAILING Magazine
Need a gift for a loved one, sailing friend or crew? A subscription to SAILING Magazine will last the whole year round as we produce 12 issues per year – and it costs just R250 per year.

Call 031-7096087 or e-mail: derri@sailing.co.za

Subscriptions are available as a printed magazine OR a digital e-zine. Your choice.

I Like This!
Of course I talk to myself. Sometimes I need expert advice.

Nautical Superstitions
Pay Your Dues. Seamen that hadn’t paid their debts were blamed for storms and any other misfortunate events that would occur on the ship.

ED. So be very careful who you choose to sail with!

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
●  We thought, if you haven’t already, that it would be really good to hear from the new SAS hierarchy what their plans are for the future. I know they have been having some serious debating about where SAS is going but lesser mortals like me have not been privy to this and I am sure the general membership of SAS would like to know what their thoughts and feelings are and even who they are and who is in what position? I don’t think this has been well publicised as yet.

●  Thanks Captain, lots of fun reading as usual! My monthly fix!

● Thank you Richard for an amazing year of great news.

●  It says something about the state of US society that it is considered derogatory to call women “girls” or “ladies”. No matter what terminology you use, someone will be offended by it. It is long past time for people to put unreasonable sensitivities away and just “get a life”.

●  With my tongue in my cheek, I must say that I am surprised that you were so easily intimidated by this American “woman” regarding the use of “Girls” and “Ladies” !! In my humble opinion, the reference to girls and ladies is perfectly in order, provided that it is not used in a deliberately derogatory way, and I do not believe that your reference to them was in any way derogatory.

The Americans are great at sitting on their high horses and dictating what is politically correct or incorrect. For example, much of the wonder of Christmas in the USA has disappeared since they stopped saying “Merry Christmas” in favour of “Happy Holidays” in case they should offend someone!!
I say “up with the Girls !!”

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

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