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issue – 33
20 August 2015
by Richard Crockett
Publisher & Editor of SAILING Magazine
Since we were last “Talking Sailing” our Hobie sailors have covered themselves in glory, winning two world championships – and possibly even a third. Plus, in one of those victories there was an all-RSA podium!
We have had young sailors across the globe competing in various events, from RS Teras to 29ers and even a young team in Qingdao on a Chinese Exchange programme, sailing keelboats, and who finished on the podium.
There are also a bunch of South African sailors competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race.
Enjoy this issue as we Talk About…
• Hobie Worlds – Two World Titles for RSA
• Rolex Fastnet Race
• 1979 Fastnet Race Recalled
• Western Cape Youth Compete in China
• Our Olympians
• SAS Grand Prix Series
• Are Cruisers Welcome to Our Shores?
• Drug Peddlers Not Welcome
• False Bay Yacht Club Expanding Marina
• The Future of Yacht Recycling
• Appropriate Right Here!
• 1983 the America’s Cup Film
• Young Sailors Complete Tough Ireland Circuit In Drascombe Lugger
• How Are the Dates of the Four Seasons Worked Out?
• Grant Dalton: for Love, and Money
• The Boy Ben
• Bart’s Bash – Don’t Forget to Register
• Sailing Humour – BOAT
• 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”
Hobie Worlds – Two World Titles for RSA
In the last “Talking Sailing I mentioned that Blaine Dodds had won the Hobie 14 Worlds. Well the RSA contingent went on to win the Hobie Tiger Worlds too – where South Africans took all three top podium positions.
The winner was William Edwards, sailing with his son Douglas. Blaine Dodds was second sailing with his son Peter-Blaine, and third was Sean Ferry with Lee Hawkins as his crew. What a sight it was to see the podium packed with South African sailors – and the good old rainbow nation flag flying high.
We have always had top Hobie sailors in our country, and they always seem to do well on the international stage.
Just a pity that the Hobie is not an Olympic class boat!
In the intro I did mention a possible third ‘World’ Title.
This went to William Edwards sailing with his wife Lucinda, who won the Sylt regatta in Germany to which the 10 top Hobie sailors were invited.
This is an invitation only regatta where the best Hobie sailor from selected countries is invited to compete in a shoot-out which was won by William and Lucinda.
It’s a magnificent achievement, and one closely aligned to winning a world title.
Incidently, the Edwards’ are sponosred by Clemen Gold – so get lots of these delicious fruit quickly as it certainly has ‘go-fast’ properties!
Now, we have some really good Hobie Sailing waters along our coastline. Maybe there’s an opportunity to have a ‘Champion of Champions’ Hobie event every year – come on board as sponosrs Clemen Gold! Maybe this is something the Hobie fraternity should look into?
Rolex Fastnet Race
This race, in its 90th year and with 370 entrants and some 4000 sailors, is in the news right now as it is in the home stretch as the fleet begins to finish. Light winds have plagued the fleet from the start.
The monohull line honours result was a close affair with ‘Comanche’ (100′) finishing just 4 minutes ahead of ‘Rambler’ 88 (88′). That’s close, very close for these massive super-fast boats.
There are a bunch of South Africans sailing too. These are some of them:
Mike Bartholomew and his team on ‘Tokoloshe’ are in IRC 1.
Adrian Kuttel is on board ‘Silvi Bell 2′ in the Class 40s.
Paul Wilcox is on board the 100′ ‘Leopard’ which was 3rd over the line.
Marc Lagesse, Mark Sadler and Dave Rae are on ‘Black Pearl’ in IRC Z.
Phillippa Hutton-Squire, Sean Pammenter and Mike Giles are also competing, as well as others we may not be aware of.
1979 Fastnet Race Recalled
This race, ravaged by gale force winds and massive seas, became known as the “Fastnet Disaster’ after lives and boats were lost.
Few people know that a team from Algoa Bay Yacht Club were competeing in that fateful race 36 years ago, and finished too, despite the tragedies unfolding around them. They also finished 4th in their class after 6 days at sea.
Rod van der Weele was the skipper, with crew Vaughan Giles, Paddy Skelton, Renee Furter, Alexander and Tony Abrahamson. They charterd a 3/4-tonner named ‘Tronadour’, and also competed in Cowes Week.
From what I can remember, and what is in my archives, they shredded a spinnaker, and eventually ended up with just a storm jib. When this too was in tatters, they lay a-hull, battened down for ten hours, and manned the pumps as they were taking an alarming amount of water over the deck.
But finish they did which is what would have been expected from a hardened crew used to braving the conditions off our coast.
Skipper Rod van der Weele said at the time: “I’ll go back again any time – it was absolutely fantastic”.
I was lucky enough to have lunch with Rod and Vaughan at ABYC during the Vasco da Gama Race finish. They are in fine spirits too. Can anyone shed any light on the rest of the crew?
Western Cape Youth Compete in China
Five young sailors represented Western Cape at the 7th Qingdao International Sailing Week. They were selected from over 68 sailors in the region.
The invitation is the result of an agreement between the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and the Shandong Province, which hosts the Qingdao Sailing Centre – the centre that trains China’s Olympic Squad. The support to the sailing community from the Provincial Department of Cultural Affairs & Sport (DCAS) has been overwhelming. Anroux Marais, the MEC responsible for sport, recreation and cultural policy in the province, together with the officials in the department made their particpation possible.
MEC Anroux Marais expressed her well wishes to team Western Cape for the prestigious international yacht race in China. “The selected five sailors have already and will undoubtedly continue to make us proud as they represent the province internationally”, MEC Marais said.
“The allocation by MEC Marais of a special grant of R100,000 to ensure particpation of the Western Cape in this important international sailing competition is warmly welcomed by South African Sailing” said Saths Moodley and “we are hoping that the MECs of Sport in the other provinces, take the lead in supporting the only sport that integrates the sexes and ethnicity.” We applaud Galactic Gear, the company that specialises in extreme sailing apparel, for kitting out Team Western Cape.
The team of Nina Pienaar, Paul Vivian, Daniel Agulhas and Theo Yon aquitted themselves well and finished 3rd overall. Saths Moodley was the SASWC Representative and Sieraj Jacobs the manager.
We have three teams training hard to compete in Rio next year. These guys tend to keep out of the limelight, their heads down and focussed on doing what is required – that’s being on the water putting in quality time.
It’s tough out there as to really prepare properly they have to compete internationally – and we all know just how mickey mouse our currency is right now, making it exceptionally expensive for them! But this does not prevent them putting in the hard yards.
Young Stefano Marcia (Laser) has qualified the country for Rio 2016. The other two, the teams of Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson (470) and Graeme Willcox/Andrew Tarboton are still attempting to get that qualification under their belts.
The 470 guys have their last real chance of qualifying in Israel at the world champs from 10-18 October. Ranked 20th in the world, and with some good results under their belts, this is no certainty as there is such tough competition in the class. It’s also tougher this time around as six of the places have been taken from international qualification, to regional qualification. Basically there are 6 continental slots available with one for Africa. The problem here is that our Olympic bosses have indicated that qualification via Africa in any sport is not acceptable for qualification to Rio. But with their world ranking, their determination and exceptional raw talent they will, I am sure, qualify in October.
Willcox/Tarboton are in a similar boat, and have their last realistic chance very late in the year.
Incidently, sailing in the Rio Test Event this week, Marcia was placed 3rd in one race – even beating multiple world and Olympic champion Robert Scheidt. Well done Stef and keep up the good work.
I can only ask all readers and everyone with any interest in our Olympic sailors to give these guys as much encouragement as possible – in every way possible. Show your support with messages on all the available forums, and if there is a financial benefactor out there I am sure they would be happy to hear from you. They do after all need all the support possible as we the landlubbers need RSA teams to cheer on the (polluted!!) waters off Rio next year.
SAS Grand Prix Series
SAS Western Cape has successfully run the Southern Charter Grand Prix series for a few years now. It’s a really good event which has been built to become one of those ‘must-do’ events despite some reluctance in the early stages from some negative types. Numbers and interest from positive people far outweigh the negative ones who eventually have to either like it or lump it. I believe that many of the ‘negatives’ now compete – which is all anyone wants.
I often find that inter-provincial rivalry prevents a sharing of good ideas to the detriment of our sport.
So it was good to see that SAS KZN had embraced what their Cape counterparts do so well, borrowed from them and staged a SAS KZN Grand Prix event here in Durban. It was a success – although some keelboat sailors would have liked to be included. Maybe next time?
Are Cruisers Welcome to Our Shores?
It was reported recently that a round-the-world cruiser on his passage along our coast developed engine problems, and specifically gearbox problems.
There is an air of mystery surrounding the actual true events here as it was reported that he was given notice to leave the country immediately as he had overstayed his welcome, despite not having fixed his engine. Whether this is true or not, cannot be established which is why I remain on the fence on this.
To us yachties, the cruisers who choose to come around the Cape of Good Hope and stop in our ports and yacht clubs, are generally interesting and colourful characters – obviously with the few excpetions. They share their knowledge and experiences, enjoy our country and spend money too. So the authorities need to be aware of this and not treat them as some form of outer space aliens – which they sometimes do.
The bottom line is, when a foreign cruiser enters our country aboard his boat, the following applies:
A foreign vessel entering SA needs a temporary import permit to sail through our waters. This permit is valid for 6 months, from entering say at Richards Bay and leaving again from Cape Town. For emergency circumstances this permit may be extended by 6 months. After this 12 month period, SARS (Customs) require the owner to post a bond of 10% of the value of the boat plus 14% VAT, as if the vessel has been imported. When eventually leaving the bond will be refunded.
Drug Peddlars Not Welcome
Drug peddlars are not welcome in any country, so the following story is pertinant. The justice dealt may be questionable, but it is a massive deterrent.
Kenya blew up a yacht seized while smuggling heroin across the Indian Ocean, the interior ministry said, as the East African nation tries to crack down on a rise in drug trafficking.
Kenyan police seized the yacht in April after 6.7kg of heroin was found on board, Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said in a statement.
“Any vessel, vehicle or plane found ferrying drugs or ivory under my watch will be destroyed,” Nkaissery said, after the boat was sunk off the Indian Ocean coast.
“Kenya will not be used as a transit country nor will it be used as a drug trafficking base.”
Police said the small yacht – called ‘Baby Iris’ – was used to ship drugs from between the Seychelles, Tanzania and Kenya. It was seized while at anchor in Kilifi, a sleepy Kenyan port, around 70km north of Mombasa.
It is the second time Kenya has sunk a drug smuggling boat, after President Uhuru Kenyatta watched the scuttling of a merchant vessel found with 377kg of heroin in August 2014.
So, beware and don’t say you have not been warned!
The above is also interesting as there are indications that the Police in Durban believe that yachts are a key to massive drug smuggling in this country. I personally hope that they are misguided in their judgement of yacht owners?
False Bay Yacht Club Expanding Marina
FBYC is planning a new breakwater on the western edge of its marina which will make available some 40 new berths.
Berth sizes in meters are 15×4: 17×5: 20×6: 25×7 but in practice fingers can be positioned to suit individual needs.
If you are interested in acquiring one of these new berths, please mail the Marina Mangager (email@example.com) expressing your interest together with the size berth you will require or the dimensions of the vessel you wish to berth.
If not already a member of FBYC, the purchase of a new berth will require your successful application for membership at FBYC.
This is such a positive move as it means there is demand for marina space, and that the Club is prepared to address the matter. It also shows that the sport may not be shrinking as some of the more negative voices around seem to think.
The Future of Yacht Recycling
The above headline caught my eye as there is a conference set to deal with this matter in November.
A yachting industry forum – The Future of Yacht Recycling – will seek to address the considerable challenges and opportunities presented by what has become known as ‘End-of-Life Boats’.
In recent years most nations with ownership of significant numbers of leisure yachts amongst their population, have been turning their attention to the ELB phenomena which has been exacerbated due to the boom years of the ‘70s and ‘80s, when large numbers of yachts were mass produced from long-life composite construction materials. And due to the fact their average life span is 30 to 50 years, they are now presenting the yachting industry with some economic and environmental challenges, in fairly large and annually increasing numbers.
As far back as 1999 the US based naval architect Eric Sponberg wrote an article entitled Recycling Dead Boats, in which he said: “Boat builders cannot produce a new boat that is competitively priced with its used counterpart. And added to that, “the industry has ‘shot itself in the foot’ by building boats out of such a durable and almost indestructible material as fibreglass (GRP.)”
Sponberg elaborated further: “What we need is a disposal pipeline for old boats. Take them out of the market, cut them up, grind them into little pieces and use them for something else. If old boats go away, the market and marinas automatically have space for new boats, and business booms. Recycling of course is the answer.”
More recently a study carried out by ICOMIA (The International Council of Marine Industry Associations) has estimated that there are more than 6 million recreational craft in Europe alone. This also revealed that historically, disposal methods have been crude, and generally involve chopping up composite structures and reducing them to fragments that can be sent to landfill, which is considered unsustainable in the long run. So again, recycling is the only realistic option for the future…
So, now there is a new technical and commercial process in the yachting industry that will undoubtedly develop and expand into the future. Not only that, but naval architects, designers, boat builders and their sub suppliers will start to think more creatively about how to construct yachts, taking into account the eventual prospect of sustainably recycling them.
I wonder if these guys have had a real hard look at the local fleet which is really old in world terms?
Appropriate Right Here!
“The best material to use in building a boat is common sense, and she should be well fastened with sincerity”. L. Francis Herreshoff.
1983 the America’s Cup Film
What a day it was with worldwide celebrations and few commiserations when the Aussies beat the New York Yacht Club to win the America’s Cup – and break the American stranglehold.
SEA-TV Productions has just made “The America’s Cup 1983” film available online for digital download and digital rental. “Previously available only on DVD, “The America’s Cup 1983” will now be made instantly accessible worldwide at a very reasonable price,” said SEA-TV owner, Chip Croft.
“This is our latest 30th Anniversary Edition with a feature on “The Making of the America’s Cup 1983” plus a never before seen exclusive interview with victorious ‘Australia II’ skipper, John Bertrand. John talks about what it took to win the Cup under tremendous pressure, the winged keel, plus the psychology of winning in sports and in life.”
Often called, “the America’s Cup that changed everything,” ‘Australia II’ skippered by John Bertrand beat Dennis Conner’s ‘Liberty’ to end the longest winning streak in sports history.“The America’s Cup 1983” offers a unique view of Newport, Rhode Island and the Aussie victory shot before the big networks dominated the Cup coverage.
“The America’s Cup 1983” digital download to own costs $10.99US and digital rental for 48 hours costs $5.00US. Running time is 1 hour, 29 minutes. They are available at:
“America’s Cup 1983” trailer
Young Sailors Complete Tough Ireland Circuit In Drascombe Lugger
This is another headline which caught my eye as I did not really think that anyone would be stupid enough to do this – and then I remembered Ant Steward who circumnavigated in an open boat! But that’s another story.
The Ogden brothers of County Cork took 8 weeks to complete their circuit of Ireland with their 18ft Drascombe Lugger. They had initially hoped to take 4 weeks.
The minimum distance you can possibly sail, simply going headland to headland, is 704 miles. But when you add in the course diversions, to ports of shelter which a boat like this has had to make to overnight, or to ride out gales as a succession of wind-bringing depressions followed one another, you can very quickly get to a total of more than a thousand miles.
And at the end of each day’s sailing, they had to find warmth, comfort and sleep as best they could in a tent rigged over the boat. Though they did have help from supporters along the coast, and on two particularly adverse weekends they very sensibly secured Lughnasa in a snug berth and went home to recoup their energies.
As for the speeds they sailed at, four knots is good going for a Drascombe lugger, but it was often much less than that – sometimes very much less. And going to windward is not Lughnasa’s strong suit. Yet when it has to be done, it just has to be done, and they particularly remember twelve hours of beating to windward off the Clare coast.
The Drascombe story starts in the early 1960s with John Watkinson, a former Royal Navy officer, building a boat for himself and his family. John’s requirements were for a daysailer, capable of being trailed, stable (to counterract his wife’s tendency to seasickness), and safe; but capable of giving an experienced sailor a lively and exciting sail. The boat that John hand-built in a barn on his farm at Drascombe Barton was inspired by the working boats of England’s North-East coast, which themselves can trace an ancestry back to the Vikings.
At the Earls Court (London) Boat Show in 1968, the first wooden production Drascombe Lugger named ‘Luka’ was sold within 29 minutes of the show opening to the public. ‘Luka’ is now located in the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
The Drascombe Lugger has a length of 18 ft 9 in (5.72m); a beam of 6 ft 3 in (1.9m); weight of 748 lb (340 kg) and a sail area of 132 sq ft (12.26 m²).
How Are the Dates of the Four Seasons Worked Out?
Ever wanted to know the answer to this? Well the SA Weather Service website (http://www.weathersa.co.za) reveals all.
One finds disagreement on the starting dates of the seasons at both the scientific and the lay level. There are however three basic ways in which starting dates may be assigned. South Africa does not really experience four distinct seasons. Throughout South Africa the transitional seasons of Autumn and Spring tend to be very short. Most analysis of climate is done using the assumption that January is mid-summer and July mid-winter.
The instances at which the solstices and equinoxes occur can be accurately calculated. Earlier astronomical textbooks often defined the four seasons as starting on the dates of the corresponding equinoxes and solstices. But more recent books avoid defining the seasons in any way: two new editions of earlier books have in fact deleted their previous definitions. Moreover, expressions such as spring equinox and summer solstice are no longer used in astronomy. Instead, the four astronomical instances are identified as the ascending and descending equinoxes in March and September respectively, and the northern and southern solstices in June and December. One reason for these changes is to avoid the inevitable confusion of northern and southern hemisphere seasons: the ascending equinox in March is the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, but the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere.
Thus the earlier astronomical definitions of the starting dates of the seasons are no longer relevant, and their use should be discouraged.
A further failing of the earlier astronomically defined seasons is that they simply did not describe the real seasons as actually experienced. As one of the contributors to this article expressed it, summer does not start four days before Christmas. A climatological definition of the seasons would obviously be more realistic. In the temperate latitudes of Europe and North America the climatological seasons are conventionally defined as shown in Table I (see end of article below). The equivalent seasons in the southern hemisphere are of course six months out of phase with those in the northern hemisphere, and are also given in Table I.
The use of intervals of exactly three calendar months for the conventional temperate latitude seasons is a matter of convenience rather than climatological reality. For example, in England the latter part of November is wintry rather than autumnal, with cold, foggy days occurring fairly frequently. Elsewhere in the world the disparity becomes even worse. Climatologists therefore ignore the conventional seasonal nomenclature and use labels which are more appropriate to the climate of a particular region: for example hot season, cold season, post-rainy season, etc. The durations of these seasons depend on the climate of the region, and have no direct relationship to either the astronomical seasons or the calendar months. Thus September is spring-like in Gauteng, with cool mornings and warm afternoons, whereas it is still winter-like in the Western Cape, with the possibility of snow on the Eastern Cape mountains. Unfortunately the lay public would find it too confusing if a different set of seasonal dates was adopted for different parts of the country in order to encompass this variability.
Phenological phenomena (this is, those relating to the natural seasonal behaviour of plants and animals) are the most fundamental markers of the changing seasons. This can be seen from the etymology of the names of the seasons in various languages. Thus in English, spring, from Anglo-Saxon for rise or burst forth, is the season when sap rises and plants put out buds. Autumn, from early Latin for ripen, is the season when crops reach maturity and can be harvested.
Unfortunately, an appeal to the phenological seasons merely confounds the confusion. In parts of Europe the phenological seasons are taken to occur one month earlier than the conventional climatic season, where in other parts and in the USA the two systems coincide. In any case, May Day (1st May) rather than the first day of spring, however that may be chosen, seems to be the preferred date for celebrating this season in Europe.
In South Africa, the wide range of climatic regions and phenotypes (compare coastal KwaZulu-Natal with the south-western Cape) also adds to the difficulty of defining a clear-cut seasonal calendar based on phenology.
Apart from rejecting the astronomically-based seasons in compliance with modern astronomical usage, there are no firm grounds for choosing one set of dates rather than another for the starting dates of the seasons. There is certainly no official designation of the starting dates. On broad climatological and sociological grounds, however, choosing the dates in Table I would have the advantage of conformity established conventions.
On the basis of these conclusions, the following recommendations are suggested:
Adopt the seasonal calendar given in Table I (below) for the southern hemisphere.
Emphasize strongly that these are conventional or traditional dates, and that an official calendar does not exist.
Southern Hemisphere Calendar Dates Northern Hemisphere
Autumn 1 March to 31 May Spring
Winter 1 June to 31 August Summer
Spring 1 September to 30 November Autumn
Summer 1 December to 28/29 February Winter
Grant Dalton: for Love, and Money
The New Zealand Herald recently ran a comprehensive interview with Grant Dalton – and it makes interesting reading. The interview was written by Dylan Cleaver
Here are some extracts – although the full story should be read to really understand the man. Read it HERE:
After the agonising America’s Cup loss two years ago, Grant Dalton endured a litany of accusations and barbs. In his most revealing interview ever, he talks to Dylan Cleaver about the end of his marriage, his bust-up with Dean Barker, the personal toll the America’s Cup has taken and why he refuses to quit.
The man who was one win, one puff of wind, for goodness sake, from the keys to the City of Sails has, instead, been subject to a barrage of criticism that can be compared only to World Cup-losing All Black coaches. Through it all, Dalton has remained not so much stoic, but grim-faced.
Dalton doesn’t really like the America’s Cup, certainly not the way it is rigged to make it difficult for challengers. In a convenient, yet apt, analogy, he’ll point out that just because the All Blacks won the World Cup, it doesn’t mean they own the next event, which is effectively what happens in the America’s Cup. Despite having a reputation for seeking rather than circumventing conflict, he hates the needle, the angst and the way the event fosters enmity.
“I’ve spent 25 years in a round-the-world environment, which is a pure environment,” Dalton tells Cleaver during one of two lengthy interviews at their makeshift base in Portsmouth. “Your best friends are your competitors because they’re the ones who are going to haul you out of the Southern Ocean. In the America’s Cup your competitors will bury you – legally or any other way they can. Kevin [Shoebridge, Team NZ chief operating officer and Dalton’s closest colleague] and I dislike it in that respect, but we deal with it because we have to.
The Boy Ben
I always enjoy Bob Fisher as he does come up with some real pearlers! In his latest “Fisher @ Large” column in SAILING Magazine (September issue) when lamenting about the America’s Cup, he concludes with the following:
“When I commune with the spirits of the Old Salts, who were responsible for stimulating my interest in this event, I have little doubt that I shall learn of their displeasure towards the current management of the America’s Cup. One can almost hear them saying: “The boy Ben better get his act together so that we can sort out this mess.”
Hear Hear Bob! You’ll have to get the September issue to read the full column.
Bart’s Bash – Don’t Forget to Register
Don’t forget that 20 September is Bart’s Bash day.
So far the following RSA Clubs have signed up:
Algoa Bay Yacht Club
Imperial Yacht Club
Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club
Point Yacht Club
Redhouse Yacht Club
The Catamaran Club
Zeekoe Vlei Yacht Club
If your venue hasn’t already signed up please do so NOW at: www.bartsbash.com
An acronym for BOAT – Break Out Another Thousand!
How True! This simply needs to be said!
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill.
Could this in fact be a reference to Yacht Club members too?
I Like This!
Take care of your thoughts when you are alone and take care of your words when you are with people.
A Lasting Gift – A subscription to SAILING Magazine
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Sailor of the Month – Submit Your Nomination NOW
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Monthly winners are featured in SAILING Magazine, with the overall ‘Sailor of the Year’ receiving a substantial cash prize.
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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 – email@example.com
Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
● Thanks Richard, a good read as usual. Congratulations to the SA contingent doing so well racing abroad.
I wholeheartedly agree with your comments about being tired of windward/leeward racing. It is the most boring type, both to sail in and to watch. It also disadvantages planing hulls if racing in a mixed fleet, removing their best point of sail from the race despite it being included in the rating on which they have to compete.
● Thanks for my fix, Captain! Another thoroughly enjoyable edition!
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