“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 30

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issue – 30
19 May 2015

by Richard Crockett


In the last issue I promised to be more diligent and publish “Talking Sailing” more often, but the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry! Let me simply say that these plans were scuppered and that my intentions still remain true!

I was involved in the Vasco da Gama Ocean Race from Durban to Port Elizabeth and was delighted to see so many boats pull through after an agonisingly long, cold and wet beat. Ocean racing is tough, but more on this later.

Talking About…
• Current Format of “Talking Sailing”
• Volvo Ocean Race
• Championing the Cause for Ocean Racing
• Vasco Da Gama Ocean Race
• Nsri – Boat for Sale
• Foiling World Cup
• An ‘Olympic’ Bouquet
• the Vaal Dam to Become A Cesspit Too?
• Adam Swales in Dire Need of Help
• Northern Region Sas AGM
• the America’s Cup
• Hurricane Names for the 2015 Atlantic Season
• Reviving the Ocean Economy
• Yacht Harbors of the World Via An App on Your Smartphone
• Sailing Humour
• How True! This Simply Needs to Be Said!
• I Like This!
• A Lasting Gift – A Subscription to Sailing Magazine
• Sailor of the Month – Submit Your Nomination Now
• Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”

Current Format of “Talking Sailing”
Initially when “Talking Sailing was launched it was my intention to simply mail it to subscribers. This has become an issue as the mailing list has grown beyond expectation and is north of 5500 subscribers.

I have tried sending it out via different mailing programmes (like this one and the last two), and feel that in this current format , with the text not in the message section of the mail, it is not being read as widely as it should.

As a result, please let me have your feedback as to whether you preferred the old format or the current format? This would be appreciated – your views to: editor@sailing.co.za

Volvo Ocean Race
The race is currently on its 7th leg with boats on a sharp dash across the North Atlantic from Newport to Lisbon where they will be joined by Vestas Wind again.

Remember her, the boat which hit an Indian Ocean archipelago and was virtually wrecked. She has been re-built and will continue the race from Lisbon, but with a new navigator! I am sure all readers wish Chris Nicholson and his team safe sailing for having the courage to continue after such a catastrophic experience.

However I digressed there. It is interesting to receive comments from around the world, and the competitors, about the race. Most of the skippers are unanimous in the fact that the boats are slow, very slow, compared to the old VOR 70. But they temper this with the reality that had the one-design concept not been adopted for this race, there may have been only two boats competing.

As it is, this year’s fleet will be able to compete in the next edition, as well as any new boats which are built, so the numbers may well be up in the future.

More interesting are the comments about one-design ocean racing. There are feelings that the race has become boring due to the boats being so close to each other all the time, and that with AIS (Automatic Identification System) allowing each boat to track exactly where the competition is all the time, that there is too much ‘covering’ and ‘following’ rather than raw seat of the pants sailing by the navigator and tacticians who have difficult calls to make all the time.

I have enjoyed the closeness of the racing, but do at times find that it has become a little ‘ho-hum’.

Ocean racing is often about ups and downs, perseverance and determination. The crew of Dongfeng have shown this in bucket loads during the race. They started as underdogs due to the fact that there were many unknowns in the crew as well as some Chinese crew who were on a very steep learning curve. But, they have shown immense character and have been a real threat to the heavies.

I met their skipper, Charles Caudrelier in Cape Town. He was positive about his ‘learners’ and their ability, and was emphatic that they were not a hindrance in any way. Their followers were devastated when they broke their mast before Cape Horn and were forced to retire from that leg in order to make the start of the next one. They managed to get a new mast to the bottom of South America and the boat to Brazil with a few days to spare, and then won the next leg by three minutes. What a come-back and what a well deserved victory for a team that could so easily have been down-and-out.

They are back and fighting for an overall podium position as the race moves into the final few legs. I wish them luck and hope that they succeed as theirs has been the success story of this race so far.

Championing the Cause for Ocean Racing
Let me get this out in the open up front. Ocean racing is tough, very tough. And don’t let anyone kid you that it is not. One has to be a special breed to take on the rigours of ocean racing, to take the long hours, the hard work, the cold and wet conditions all the while having the ability to ‘vasbyt’ as well – and this is when the chips are down. When the going is good, life is good, it’s fun and the bad time pale into insignificance.

Well that’s certainly how I felt during my ocean racing heydays, and to this day find it very difficult to dredge up the bad times as there were simply too many good times to remember.

In his ‘Comments by Rick Nankin’ columns in the May and June issues of SAILING Magazine, Nankin mentions that there are moves to resurrect the golden days of coastal races in Cape waters. This was a vision the late Rob Meek had, and which is now being championed by Ted Kuttel, a stalwart ocean racer himself. Our sport needs more people like these, and more people to participate in coastal ocean races.

We don’t need the negative types who proffer distorted views and have an ability to turn coastal ocean racing into a negative.

Vasco da Gama Ocean Race
I have been an ardent supporter of this race every since doing my first one in 1977. It’s a classic coastal ocean race steeped in history and tradition, and has blooded many a fine crewman over the years.

But this year was different as the course went southward from Durban to Port Elizabeth – a distance of 389 nautical miles. It was the first Vasco race between these two cities, so history was made by all who entered, and especially all those who finished.

The course change was embraced by sailors across the country and even a boat and crew from Gariep Dam. Willie Pretorius overcame many an obstacle to get his boat from Gariep Dam to East London by road, and then on its own bottom to Durban for the race. He has since gone on to take it to Cape Town. His crew are all members of the Free State Yacht Club, although most had genuine sea time under their belts. The Cape guys sailed a distance of almost 2000 nautical miles for a 400nm race! That’s dedication yet positive commitment to the change in course. And let’s not forget the two Port Elizabeth boats and the Richards Bay boat that all sailed significant distances to compete.

Why then was there so much negativity and even rumours of boycotts surrounding the race?

There are many people who simply cannot accept change. There are others who simply bury their heads in the sand and refuse to accept change in any shape or form. And there were those who put the fear of god into people and declared the course ‘dangerous’.

If those people are not man enough to do the race, please don’t put others off due to your own inabilities.

Ocean racing is a healthy sport, and does not need to be jeopardised by a few.

But back to the race itself. Competitors had a really good 18 hours of fast, exhilarating downwind sailing from the start – until the South Wester hit them off the wild coast, about half the distance sailed. Forecasts showed that the westerly would last just a few hours and then go light, but this simply never happened as the fleet beat the rest of the way to the finish.

Despite this, I have never seen so many people come off the water with smiles on their faces and brushing off the rigours of the long upwind slog they endured. This was almost to a man and is positive stuff which augers well for the race in the future.

AL Mount Gay Rum, skippered by Rob van Rooyen won the race overall in convincing style. At one point he was in contention for line honours, but that honour went to Gumption skippered by Nicholas Mace who was 38 minutes ahead of AL Mount Gay Rum.

The standout ‘performance’ of this race was the trackers – supplied by YB Tracking in the UK. They worked tirelessly to bring the race into the homes of all followers, and by simultaneously ‘pinging’ every 15 minutes let those landlubbers following the race have a very accurate picture of what was going on out there and how their loved ones were doing. The fact that boat’s speed, VMG, line positions and overall handicap positions in all classes were updated every 15 minutes made it compelling following.

The trackers were sponsored by Phil Gutsche and GIMCO (Gutsche Investment & Management Company).

Already many of the competitors have committed themselves to next year’s race, so despite being a tough event, this is not preventing them giving it another go.

A full report on the race is in the June issue of SAILING which will be on sale on 1 June.

NSRI – Boat For Sale
The National Sea Rescue Institute has a 14.4m boat for sale. Here are the details:

Proudly designed and built in South Africa in 2008, she has served as a deep sea rescue craft in the NSRI fleet since 2010.

• Engine hours 650.
• Onan genset, 4.5Kw.
• Two aircon units (wheel house and fwd cabin).
• Fuel capacity: 1500Lt per tank, 1 tank port, 1 tank starboard.
• 10 man life raft.
• Three Garmin chart plotters, two VHF radios, HF radio, AIS.
• 25 tons
• She has a valid SAMSA LGSC

Engine details :
• Detroit 6 cylinder model # 6063HK32 s/n 06RE121986  600hp after cooled turbo charged Marine engine fitted with a Twin Disc MGX 5114 SC gearbox
• Detroit 6 cylinder model # 6063HK32 s/n 06RE121985  600hp after cooled turbo charged Marine engine fitted with a Twin Disc MGX 5114 SC gearbox.

Contact: Ian Wienburg to view 021 434 4011 or ianw@searescue.org.za

Foiling World Cup
A new global sailing series on double trapeze foiling multihulls is on the way……

Close action, engrossing battles, slick commentary, short races, legendary skippers, wild rookies and all starting exactly on time – all aboard innovative double trapeze foiling multihulls.

The new full carbon Formula Foiling Multihulls (20 footer) will have a “box rule” to allow innovations and cost control. Every boat builder is welcome to join the race with his design.

Events are so far planned in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East.

Will this catch the attention of our top cat sailors and force an event here. Let’s hope so.

An ‘Olympic’ Bouquet
In the last issue mention was made of the quality of the water off Rio that the 2016 Olympic Games sailing will be on.

This is now becoming an issue worldwide and there are calls for the venue to be changed, and for officials both within the IOC and ISAF to be fired. It’s a hot topic, and an issue that can only become hotter as the Olympics draw nearer and officials don’t front up with answers.

The Vaal Dam to Become A Cesspit Too?
It looks as if the Vaal dam could be heading in the same direction as the waters off Rio. Reports reveal that a so called sanitation project for the massive settlement called Refengkhotso will pump sewerage waste directly into the Vaal Dam. This will cause major contamination to humans and all wildlife in this massive area of water.

There is a petition on which one can register your concerns and which could ultimately save the Vaal Dam. See it here:

Adam Swales in Dire Need of Help
Richard Booth has informed me that Adam Swales, a former Point Yacht Club member and previous SA Optimist National Champion suffered a tragic accident while in Canada. While treating a head injury doctors discovered a cancerous tumour the size of an orange in Adam’s head.

He’s been in hospital for a week and after being in a coma for two days has had most of the tumour removed. The cancer has spread though and he will need ongoing chemotherapy.

His family have started a fund (http://www.gofundme.com/u39wmk) to help with his rapidly growing medical expenses.

“I just really want the South African sailing fraternity to get behind one of their own. Adam was a great asset to youth sailing in the 1990s and helped coach a number of younger sailors while succeeding in his own sailing endeavours” said Booth.

Northern Region SAS AGM
I have said it on numerous occasions, and can only say it again in response to a mail I received recently regarding the SAS AGM in the Northern Region. It is simply this: “Our sport is only as strong as its leaders”.

The gist of the e-mail goes as follows:
“The lack of enthusiasm regarding the upcoming NR AGM is almost palpable. The only competition I have noticed is the competition to see who will have the best excuse for not being there and for not being elected!

However, there are exciting things happening in sailing, and within SAS in particular. Most important of which, is the revision of the makeup of SAS to include District Committees. Effectively, this means that each set of clubs within a Municipal District will have the right to form a District Sailing Authority.

The concept of the District Sailing Authority is an exciting advance, as it brings sailing management a lot closer to home, and allows a group of clubs to take care of the particular interests that affect those clubs in that particular District.

This concept also opens the door to funding from Local Government sources – which we hope will be a lot more accessible than before.

This news is hot off the press, and quite honestly, the early date for the Northern Region AGM has taken me a bit by surprise…..

But, if the system is going to work, the new NR executive should accurately reflect the interests of the various Districts. In other words, for it to work nicely, each group of clubs in a District should have a vibrant representative on the NR committee to ensure that that group of clubs (District Authority of the future) stays actively in the loop to properly enjoy the benefits that the new dispensation may offer.

So, to give you an example, the Deneysville clubs (LDYC, DAC and Seal Point) will all be members of a District Authority, as will the Ekhuruleni clubs (Benoni and VLC). Each should be represented by an enthusiastic person, not mired in the past traditions, who will grasp the new opportunities that this change will bring about, for the benefit, firstly for the Clubs in his/her (future) District Authority, then for the benefit of the Northern Region and finally to the benefit of Sailing in general. (Maybe, the age limit should be 35, or at least the candidate should qualify for membership of a Youth League……….).

Of course, this missive is way out of line. But, on the other hand, there is no point in continuing with the situation as it exists at present.

So, work out who your district colleagues are, (Wits, Emerentia and possible Florida, for example) get together with the others, find a suitably young and vibrant candidate that you could rely on to ensure a bright future for your district, and ensure that this person is elected to the NR committee. It’s as simple as that”.

Apathy is no excuse. We need strong people and a strong administration to see our sport succeed. So instead of believing that ‘someone’ else will do the job, be pro-active and either do the job yourself or find good people. But, ostriches and people who have not performed in the past should definitely not be considered.

The America’s Cup
It’s mired in controversy again! But that’s nothing new.

The boats are now down in size, smaller than last time, from AC62s to AC48s. As one pundit said “Never before in the more than century and a half of history of the America’s Cup has the boat class been switched in midstream”.

This change has caused one of the best financed and most experienced to pull out after spending tens of millions of US dollars. That team is the Luna Rossa Challenge.

After skippering two French challenges in 1977 and 1980, Bruno Troublé identified the opportunity to enhance the importance of the challenger selection series of the Cup. In 1983, he worked to create the Louis Vuitton Cup series, which continued until 2007, to select the Cup challenger.

But shifting sands has seen the Louis Vuitton brand lose interest, and while Bruno continued to work tirelessly to maintain the magic and tradition of the America’s Cup, he no longer recognizes what it has become.

He says: “All those witches and sorcerers trying to do good to the America’s Cup are instead slowly killing her. There have been so many mistakes over the last couple years!

Golden Gate Yacht Club, and their Oracle Team USA, are great sailors but hopeless guards of the Myth. They managed to kill the style and elegance which prevailed for decades, those unique aspects of the America’s Cup for which was our main aim at Louis Vuitton for 30 years.

They have discouraged the high level partners and put an end to the exclusive positioning of THE Cup. They have betrayed the long saga of incredible personalities who made the Cup so special. And they are now organizing a one design catamaran contest with no style and anonymous people beyond the sailing circles.

What we have now is a vulgar beach event smelling of sunscreen and french fries. This is definitely NOT the Cup”.

Strong words indeed. Will the America’s Cup attract as much attention as it has in the past, or will it simply be the fact that it is the America’s Cup catch people’s attention, irrespective of the controversies? Time will tell.

Hurricane names for the 2015 Atlantic Season
There are six lists of Atlantic hurricane names that are decided well in advance of the current year and get rotated every six years. If a storm is memorable and its name is ‘retired’ by the World Meteorological Organization, that name is replaced on the list the next time it cycles around.

There are always 21 names on the list, in alphabetical order, with a few letters getting skipped. The ‘gender’ of the storm name rotates, too. Notice the ‘A’ storm is a female name, ‘Ana’, followed by a male name, ‘Bill’. Next year, in 2016, the ‘A’ storm will be a male name and ‘B’ will switch to female.

If more than 21 storms form in one season (like happened in 2005), the Greek alphabet is used to name the additional storms in that year. This info is courtesy of: http://www.wesh.com/weather/hurricanes

Here are the hurricane names for 2015:
Ana; Bill; Claudette; Danny; Erika; Fred; Grace; Henri; Ida; Joaquin; Kate; Larry; Mindy; Nicholas; Odette; Peter; Rose; Sam; Teresa; Victor; Wanda

Reviving the Ocean Economy
The ocean’s wealth rivals those of the world’s leading economies, but its resources are rapidly eroding, according to a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report.

“The oceans are our global savings account from which we keep making only withdrawals,” said Ack. “To continue this pattern leads to only one place – bankruptcy. It is time for significant reinvestment and protection of this global commons.”

See more at:

Yacht Harbors of the World via an App on Your Smartphone
The yachting portal marinamap.com, one of the biggest harbour directories on the internet with about 2,000 registered yacht harbours in 95 countries, has released a free smartphone app for Android phones.

The app uses the GPS data from the smartphone to display the closest marinas, harbours and anchorages in the user’s vicinity on a map. App users also have access to the social network of marinamap.com where they can communicate with each other, publish reviews or advice regarding berthing in harbours and anchorages, or where they can follow all user contributions of particular locations.

Registering additional harbours or anchorages on marinamap.com is quite simple using the app. The user’s geographical coordinates and country are detected automatically, only the name of the location must be typed into the smartphone.

Berths and anchorages that are free of charge are marked as such on marinamap.com. “We would love to see yachtsmen exchange tips and information where berthing free of charge is possible”, explained Thomas Hillebrand, founder of the platform.

More info and screenshots here:

App on Google Play Store:

Sailing Humour
Pee Fever
(with apologies to John Masefield)

I must go down to the heads again, to the broken seat and ask why
Does the lid not fit and the pump not work, however hard I try ?

And the valve’s stuck, and the vacuum’s gone, and my guts are crying
For a peaceful ****, with a detailed book on lunar alts rising.

I MUST go down to the heads again, I can no longer be denied,
It’s a wild call and a clear call, though I still retain my pride.

And all I need is one small container, perhaps a black rubber bucket,
A dash below, and then on deck, to leeward I will chuck it.

I MUST GO down to the heads again, the seal is quickly mended,
And the pipes are all cleared, and the outlet works as intended.

All I ask is that the suction sucks, and the smile upon my face
Will ‘clipse the sun rising; it’s not surprising, the heads is a calmer place.

How True! This simply needs to be said!
Even duct tape can’t fix stupid … but it can muffle the sound!

And we ALL know people like this!

I Like This!
The biggest lie I tell myself is …”I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.”

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.

Sailor of the Month – Submit Your Nomination NOW
SAILING Magazine, in conjunction with MDM Marine Services, North Sails and Southern Spars, back the ‘Sailor of the Year’ Award.

Monthly winners are featured in SAILING Magazine, with the overall ‘Sailor of the Year’ receiving a substantial cash prize.

Who can make nominations?  Anyone (individuals, clubs, class associations or administrators) may submit nominations.
What are the criteria?  The award is strictly for ‘sailing excellence’ or in exceptional circumstances, for ‘dedication to the sport’.
What is the procedure?  All nominations must be fully motivated in writing, and must be accompanied by a head-and-shoulders picture of the candidate, plus an action sailing pic aboard his/her boat (unedited hi-resolution (300dpi) digital images are required). Motivations must include current performances, a brief CV of the nominee, and other pertinent, personal background information (age, school, employment, home town etc) so that an interesting editorial on the winner may be written. Failure to submit the required material will result in the nomination not being considered.
Deadlines. Nominations must be received by the 1st of every month, although this may be extended at the Editor’s discretion, so it is recommended to submit them as soon as possible.

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

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
● Solings: I sailed on one (in very non-Olympic style) on Vaal Dam when I was ‘banished to Boksburg’ by Unilever in the early ‘80s. To the best of my knowledge there are two lying/floating (unused) in the Cape Town area – one at Gordon’s Bay YC (on the marina without mast) and another on the hard at Isivunguvungu in Simon’s Town. I will try to find out some more details.

● Durban ‘Shingles Club’: I recall what I think is the story that Hilary Ralph is referring to, but with slightly different detail. At some stage before I began sailing in 1976 there was a story in the press about a Portuguese guy who had built himself a boat with which to sail single-handed to Brazil. All the ‘experts’ (I can imagine Bob Fraser among/leading them) maintained that he should not be allowed to leave harbour, but the day duly arrived when ‘half’ of the Portuguese community in Durban gathered at the International Jetty to see him off with much hailing and wailing – only to see him sail straight onto the first sandbank at the end of the Silburn Channel. According to the article, the boat was towed back to the marina, never to be sailed again. True or not, I don’t know, but it makes a good story.

● Sailing for Fun: a subject near and dear to my heart – probably because I have to sail for fun, having started far too late in life to be any good at serious racing.

Two Classes that one does not hear that much about in the ‘popular sailing media’, but which are enjoyed by quite a lot of Club sailors in the Cape Town area are the Flamenca and the Miura (both designed by Oswald Berkemeyer in the ‘60s and ‘70s). Royal Cape had 12 different Miuras participate in their most recent Twilight series at various times while False Bay Yacht Club has had seven. In addition, the Flamenca is enjoying a major ‘re-birth’ at FBYC with dirt cheap old boats being spruced up, equipped with a few modern fittings and some new sails. The resulting performance (and, more important, enjoyment) is a joy to behold. In anything up to 15 knots they are faster through the water than their bigger ‘brothers’ (or should it be sisters?) but lose out once the wind gets above 20 knots.

I’ll try to dig out a few more facts, but thought that you might appreciate the ‘heads-up’ in the meantime.

● Talking Sailing Issue 29 – Very Good!!

● I found the article by Chris Caswell of particular interest because it mirrors my own experiences from childhood in the ‘50s and ‘60s through to the present. I too have been ringing this bell for years and had discussions with many others about it. Almost without exception the older sailors, whether UK, USA or elsewhere, are saying the same thing, that the kids are no longer allowed the freedom that they need to learn to love their boats.

As kids we were able to sail or row anywhere that we wanted on Zeekoevlei and none of us drowned. The only time that I ever had to be assisted was in a formal race that was in winds that I knew to be stronger than I could manage but there were multiple rescue boats. I knew better than to try to sail in those conditions without the club rescue boats in attendance. Maybe the main problem is that people administering these programs are soccer-mom types, who feel a need to micro-manage the leisure hours of their children until they no longer qualify as leisure hours.

Speaking from within USA and observing the results of all this child management, I say to SA please don’t follow this example, it will only get worse. Kids don’t get time to take responsibility for themselves and to learn the results of taking inappropriate decisions. Kids who grew up with that system now, as adults, still expect someone else to always be watching their backs. Adults who get run over on the streets because nobody taught them as kids that they must walk facing the oncoming traffic. If you usher the kids around like sheep throughout their formative years, that is what they become as adults.

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

If you know someone who would like to receive “Talking Sailing” either forward this mail to them and let them subscribe, or simply send an e-mail to sailing@iafrica.com with the words ‘SUBSCRIBE TO TALKING SAILING’ in the subject line – and the e-mail address in the message section. Readers are welcome to share this with friends and colleagues.

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“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 50

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