“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 37

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issue – 37
8 December 2015

by Richard Crockett
Publisher & Editor of SAILING Magazine

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

Readers are encouraged to forward this to their sailing mates.

As many readers have started winding down for the festive season, I have squeezed this issue in before the mid-December shutdowns to get out before the holidays commence. So enjoy this shortened version.

Here are some Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

If there is nothing above you would like to give as a gift, how about a subscription to SAILING Magazine – and Christmas will come 12 times next 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.

Have a festive season!

In this issue we “Talk About”…
• SAILING Magazine’s ‘Sailor of the Year’
• Our Olympic Sailors
• Amlin International Moth Regatta
• Sponsorship
• Yacht Racing Forum – Interesting Thoughts
• Prose and Cons
• SAMSA – Again!
• A World First. Rounding Cape Horn in A Foiling Catamaran
• The Two ‘Pips’
• ISAF CEO Resigns after Five Months!
• Ocean Racing Etiquette – NO -ONE
• Sailing Humour – Heaven and Hell
• How True! This Simply Needs to Be Said!
• I Like This!
• Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
• A Lasting Gift – A Subscription to Sailing Magazine
• Sailor of the Month – Submit Your Nomination Now
• To Subscribe to “Talking Sailing”

SAILING Magazine’s ‘Sailor of the Year’
The monthly winners have all been announced, our four anonymous judges have scratched their heads, and after some deep thought have cast their votes.

The winner is announced in the January issue of SAILING Magazine, but as this issue comes out a little earlier than normal, the announcement will made just before Christmas. So keep an eye on the SAILING Magazine (www.sailing.co.za) and SAILING Gybeset (www.sailing.co.za/gybeset) blog pages for the announcement.

Our Olympic Sailors
As Christmas approaches, and a new year in which the Summer Olympics will take place, spare a thought for our Olympic Sailors as their preparation time for Rio 2016 is simply on-going and with little respite.

For those who think that being selected for the Olympics means that the goal has been achieved, and one can slow down, think again. Our guys are hard at it, putting in tons of time on the water and putting their final plans into place for next year.

Stefano Marcia is in Melbourne for the 2015 Sailing World Cup- Melbourne. He will be in Aus for some time before heading off to events around the globe in preparation for Rio, so Christmas at home with family will have to wait for another year.

Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim are not travelling this December as they are putting in time on Cape Town waters, as well as organising the 470 Africa Champs which take place in mid-January on Table Bay. But from there on they have a gruelling schedule of regattas and training events right up until the Olympics. They will hardly be at home for the first seven months of 2016 – which is tough if you have young families which they both do.

The build up to Rio will be tough and testing, so let’s all give them our FULL support in 2016 and encourage them all the way until their final race in Rio – or the medal podium!

Amlin International Moth Regatta
I am always in awe of those who take on huge sailing challenges, especially when they are up against some of the best sailors in the world – many of whom are ‘professionals’ and who have America’s Cup experience. But that is what Jof Heathcote is doing again in his Moth right now in Bermuda.

Following his success earlier this year in the Moth Worlds, he has now bought himself a new boat, and is in catch-up mode. In his words a few days ago he said “I’ve got a new boat here and have had almost 5 months out, so its not going to be a flash regatta for me”.

For someone who always keeps a low profile, the first day of racing saw him finish 19; 15 & 18 to be 16th overall in a fleet of 50-plus boats.

Despite currently living in the UK, Heathcote never forgets his roots and always enters his home Club as the Point Yacht Club. Go Jof!

Last month I mentioned sponsorship, and cover the topic again as I feel it so important that everyone understands exactly what sponsorship is.

Having always had an interest in the subject, and having studied Sports Marketing, I receive a lot of info on the subject, but one which caught my eye recently was entitled: “Why ABSA and BMW pulled out of sponsoring the Springboks”. It was written by Chris Moerdyk in The Media Online.

Space does not permit me to use the entire text, so I have used what I think are pertinent points worth understanding.

“My personal opinion is that if anyone at ABSA or BMW did the maths, they would have found that the return on investment for these sponsorships was actually appalling.

The thing is, sponsorship is both difficult and expensive to quantify.

Those who get it right look at event sponsorship as part of an overall and on-going marketing strategy. They know that it is highly unlikely that just having billboards dotted around the field will do the job.

Sponsorship, they’ll tell you, is about long-term brand recognition and loyalty as well building relationships with customers, suppliers and employees. Sponsorship works only when it is persistent, consistent and leveraged to the point of getting blood out of every possible stone in sight.

And it also only works when enough budget is put aside to use good old-fashioned qualitative and quantitative research, using a big enough sample of the target market to measure attitudes, awareness and perceptions.

Event sponsorship is now a very serious business. So much so that no country will get past first base in its bid to host the Olympics or a World Cup if they don’t have ambush marketing legislation in place. And then be prepared to apply the law with gusto. As South Africa did with the Cricket World Cup and Soccer World Cup. With lawyers threatening to sue everyone making use of the world cup logos.

Getting back to the nitty gritty, I am convinced that many of the world’s major sports bodies, such as SARU here in South Africa, have pushed their sponsorship rates far too high. So much so that companies such as ABSA and BMW simply cannot justify being involved”.

This final paragraph by Moerdyk is important and one which everyone seeking sponsorship should fully understand. Sponsorship is a business deal – it’s also not an easy way to boost Club coffers as this will simply chase the sponsors away – something our sport in this country has done so well at times.

Yacht Racing Forum – Interesting Thoughts
The Yacht Racing Forum is the leading annual conference for the business of sailing and yacht racing, and is always well attended by top sailors, many of whom are guest or keynote speakers.

Below are some ‘tweets’ which are interesting as well as frightening:

Ian Walker, Olympic medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper
• Are kids getting over coached at youth level, so they leave the sport early?
• A lot has changed for the better in sailing, but are any more people taking part in the sport at grass roots level?

Volvo Ocean Race
• Hakan Svensson: We spent 9m euro on Puma in the Volvo Race and it took us 18 months to get 100m euro return on investment. I think that’s OK.

• Marketing director Gabriella Ekelund: Team SCA met or exceeded most of its Key Performance Indicators in the Volvo Ocean Race.

• Volvo Ocean Race’s Nick Bice: We used to be reactive in early days of VO70s, but now we apply expertise in different areas much earlier. We knew the sailors were going to treat the VO65s like a rental car, we had to overbuild them. Has seen three of the latest IMOCA 60s in build. He wouldn’t want to race them round the world in Vendee.

America’s Cup
• America’s Cup World Series UK director Rob Andrews talks about challenges of selling tickets at sailing events, especially when no racing. 40% of spectators at America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth were between 45 and 64 years old. Useful data for tailoring the America’s Cup spectator experience.

• Andrew Hurst, Seahorse editor: We are absurdly over coaching young sailors, few Optimist champions have gone on to win silverware.
• Andy Tourrell, Extreme Sailing Series event director: Extreme Sailing Series is constantly evolving, but always true to concept of ‘stadium sailing’. Going foiling must not compromise proximity to the shore.
• James Abraham, Sunset & Vine: The average age of a Facebook user is 38 years.
(The above was reproduced from Scuttlebutt Sailing News issue 4476).

Two comments from two very different sailors are, to me, key in summing up youth sailing. I have always believed that we simply place too much emphasis on racing, and not enough emphasis on having fun in boats. I firmly believe that we should be promoting sailing amongst the youth as a lifetime sport, not one in which you simply learn to race, and then hate the sport before being out of your teens!

Interestingly enough, the three separate pieces on youth and fun sailing in “Talking Sailing” issue 36, drew responses which are covered in the ‘feedback’ section below.

Prose and Cons
This was sent to me by Hilary Ralph who found it in her archives. It was written by a ‘landlubber’ journalist who went to sea in a small boat for the announcement of the Point Yacht Clubs centenary celebrations in 1992.

One useful benefit of word-fowling is the ability to use impressive terminology to mask shortcomings in the practical department. Or to put it another way, as politicians so often demonstrate, sounding knowledgeable is excellent cover for ignorance.

Thus when Prose and Cons went to sea last weekend a glossary of nautical terms was enough to convince the land-lubbers on board that here was an old salt, wise in the ways of the ocean and seasoned by several voyages round Cape Horn in a square-rigger.

Meantime, the novice crew members learned the ropes (as the saying goes) attending to the hard work of hoisting and lowering sails, enabling Wordsworth to relax and splice the mainbrace while giving forth on the derivation of port and starboard, and the now obsolete larboard.

Avast, belay, caught in stays, taken aback…all were experienced by the crew until eventually – as the grog ration became depleted – they became three sheets to the wind as well.

The wealth of sea-fairing terms which are now in everyday English usage has been discussed in previous columns, but during last weekend’s off-shore deliberations an interesting specimen arose which is worthy of closer examination.

That is regatta: commonly applied to an organised series of yacht races.

In the original Italian dialect from which it stemmed, it meant ‘s strife or contention or struggling for mastery’. Eventually it came to be applied to gondola races in Venice.

The first recorded usage in English dates to 1652, when an early package-tourist observed: “The rarest show that ever I saw as a costly and ostentatious triumph called a ‘regatto’ on the Grand Canal”.

The first English regatta was held on the Thames in 1775, when the Public Advertiser noted: “The regatta will keep at home many of our Nobility and wealthy Commoners”.

Less than a century later, regattas had become firmly established and a publication called British Rural Sports recorded in 1856: “Sailing regattas are held in many of our rivers and lakes, but chiefly in Cowes, Kingstown, and other seaport towns”.

When Point Yacht Club, celebrating its centenary this year, Durban will have no shortage of its own regattas over the next few months. If you see a strange-looking gondola on the horizon, you’ll know it’s the Prose and Cons flagship demonstrating the true meaning of the word. Me old shipmate Henry Field is welcome on board at any time.
Natal Mercury 18/5/92

SAMSA – Again!
SAMSA have just published Marine Notice 26 of 2015. It regards SAMSA Approval of Lifejackets and Buoyancy Aids and the Compulsory Standards for Lifejackets used on South African Vessels.

The Summary of this marine notice reads as follows:
• This Notice is a general advisory notice to the industry regarding the amended process by which
lifejackets and buoyancy aids are approved for sale in South Africa.
• This Notice also explains SAMSA’s current policy with respect to the use of the new lifejackets and
buoyancy aids in lieu of the fact that existing maritime legislation has not as yet been amended to
accommodate these new changes.
• Surveyors and safety officers must be guided by the attached summary of allowed lifejackets and
buoyancy aids listed in paragraph 6 when inspecting vessels for compliance.

The law is an ass!

Some of the best compact self-inflating PFDs available in the world, and used by most of the Volvo Ocean Race crew, cannot be sold in this country because, as stated below, once SAMSA is satisfied that the item is desirable and meets the needs of the industry; the item then has to be forwarded to the NRCS who will satisfy themselves that the items intended for sale meet the national standards. The NRCS is also responsible for ensuring the continued quality of the product.

The particular PFD I am referring to has been approved by SAMSA, but the NRCS has, more than two years later, refused to approve it. WHY?

1. SAMSA “Approval” and Requirements for Meeting Compulsory Standards of Quality and Performance
The Merchant Shipping (National Small Vessel Safety) Regulations 2007 and the Life Saving Equipment Regulations 1968 require that all life jackets and buoyancy aids supplied to ships and boats as part of the prescribed safety equipment “approved” by SAMSA.

In addition, a new statute came into effect on the 6th April 2009 which makes the ISO (also read European) standards relating to all Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) compulsory in South Africa. The new statutes consist of an enabling set of regulations and ten SANS compulsory standards covering all types of lifejackets and buoyancy aids.

It is therefore illegal to sell any PFDs in South Africa which do not comply with these new standards. In addition there is a “National Regulator for Compulsory Standards” (NRCS) whose responsibility it is to ensure, inter alia, that PFDs which do not meet the national standard are not stocked or sold to the public.

Manufacturers and importers of PFDs first have to satisfy SAMSA that the items are “fit for use” by way of design and have all the features considered necessary by SAMSA to qualify for SAMSA approval and subsequent use as mandatory equipment aboard South African vessels regardless of their size or area of operation. Once SAMSA is satisfied that the item is desirable and meets the needs of the industry; the item then has to be forwarded to the NRCS who will satisfy themselves that the items intended for sale meet the national standards. The NRCS is also responsible for ensuring the continued quality of the product.

Control is effected in two ways, firstly at each inspection by surveyors and safety officers of the safety
equipment of vessels, as well as by the NRCS through the statutory requirement to obtain approval to market these items of safety equipment before being allowed to sell the PFDs to the industry.

The visible proof of having obtained both approvals is indicated on the garment firstly by the SAMSA “Approval” stamp (whether screen printed onto the item or actually stamped onto it) and secondly by the unique number: issued by the “Regulator”.

We live in an ‘nanny’ state where loads of regulations and laws are made, and few policed. In this case this is over-policed as I would far rather see people wear a lifejacket or PFD of ANY kind, than nothing at all!

Again, I believe that boating in this country is being targeted for ‘special’ treatment.

A World First. Rounding Cape Horn in A Foiling Catamaran
Franck Cammas, one of the most successful French sailors in the world, has done what no one has done before: he rounded Cape Horn in a foiling catamaran – a world first!

As part of the Julbo Sail Session, Franck Cammas rounded Cape Horn in a Nacra F20 Carbon FCS accompanied by a novice sailor from Germany -Johannes Wiebel.

Weather conditions were good, with 15 knots of wind and 2.5-metre waves.

“It’s been a really great and successful adventure,” Franck Cammas said after getting back on land. “It’s unusual to have a weather window in 10 days for a boat like this to round Cape Horn. It’s my third passage and it’s really uncommon to do it with such a small boat.”

The Two ‘Pips’
Not since the likes of Bertie Reed, John Martin and JJ Provoyeur have we had anyone seriously interested in shorthanded sailing. Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire raced around the world together a few years back on an Open 40.

Phillippa has caught the bug and attempted a singlehanded race, The Route du Rhum earlier this year. Her attempt was short lived as bad luck saw her involved in a collision which ultimately led to her retiring.

More recently she teamed up with Pip Hare and completed the 5400nm Transat Jacques Vabre – finishing in 9th place in her class.

Well done to you both.

The question I keep asking Phillippa is simply this: “When will you be doing a Vendee Globe Race”? She simply side-steps it every time! I wonder why?

ISAF CEO Resigns after Five Months!
ISAF have announced the resignation of their Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Sowrey who held the position for just five months.

Popular opinion believes that it is the painfully slow decision-making process within the organisation which led to his decision.

It appears that painfully slow decision making by sailing administrators is a common trait, not just at ISAF level, but all levels.

It’s a pity as we have a dynamic sport – but cannot seem to match that with dynamic administrators!

Ocean Racing Etiquette – NO -ONE
When it’s getting a bit dicey, for he’s cut it rather fine
with half a minute still to go, three inches from the line –
Remember, keep your trap shut, though you may be in the cart.
For NO-ONE ever chatters to the helmsman at the start.

Except of course the owner and, naturally his wife
And the old friend of the family who’s been sailing all his life:
That type who comes to navigate, the first and second mate,
And that son of those nice people someone stayed with in the States;
A chap who came to cook and can’t, two girls who can’t and do
And lastly those two regulars who form the proper crew.

When you’ve overhauled the leaders and the fleet is far behind
Don’t imagine this small triumph is the signal for a blind,
For you simply must remember whatever ship you’re in,
That NO-ONE, unrequested, ever helps themselves to gin.
Except of course the owner, his girlfriend, and her brother.
And someone, someone else mistook for someone else’s mother
A deb who came to sunbathe, an aunt who came to sketch;
The hanger on who cadged a berth because he sold his ketch;
The boy who knows boats inside out: the one without a clue
Not forgetting those two regulars who form the proper crew.

And when you’re romping through the night beneath the glittering stars
If you feel the urge to sing and shout and twangle on guitars
Or bawl out bawdy stories – don’t – a desert silence keep
NO-ONE natters in the doghouse when a watch is trying to sleep.
Except of course the owner, and his pal – the square rig man
(Twice round the Horn in Clippers, three times to Japan)
That youth who’s mad on aerofoils, his fiancé, who’s just mad,
And the poodles she brought with her, plus a ginger headed lad
And one who did a pier-head jump and brought a squeeze box too,
And also two old regulars who form the proper crew.

When things get out of hand below, the sink is full of scum,
The sleeping-bags are sodden, the saloon is like a slum,
However tough the going, however rough the day –
NO-ONE ever leaves their gear about in other people’s way.
Except of course the owner and the man he met in Spain,
Plus his girl, who is in ballet, and her cousin who’s in pain
A bloke someone knew in school – or was it in the war?
And somebody’s old uncle who is known to be a bore.
Also an undergraduate, who’s supposed to be a blue
And that gallant pair of regulars who form the proper crew.

When it blows up even harder, and the hull is leaking fast,
The sails have split, the rigging snaps, you think you’ll lose the mast,
Don’t forget – though it’s a miracle the damn thing stays afloat
That NO-ONE while they’re racing ever finds fault with the boat.
Except of course the owner, and his doctor and a niece,
The one who’s plain and sensible and her girl friend who’s a piece,
That boy who’s got invited by hanging round the club
And the couple who before the start were dragged forth from the pub,
And what’shisname, and Mrs Thing, and good old you-know who,
And then those two stout regulars who form the proper crew.

And when the race is over and the deck is like a shambles,
And you’ve got her on her moorings, having got her off the Brambles,
Remember though you’re safely back and all is lost and won,
That NO-ONE ever goes ashore till stowing up is done.
Except of course the owner and his daughter and her child,
And somebody’s tame actor, and the wife he brought who’s wild,
His God-Mama, who’s wealthy, a son-in-law who’s not,
His sister who’s a sweetie, her boy-friend, who’s a clot –
That writer who wants watching, in case he’s watching you
And lastly the two poor regulars who form the proper crew.
(Reproduced from SAILING Magazine – September 1984)

Sailing Humour – Heaven and Hell
After one particularly difficult passage, a famous cruising couple find themselves at the Pearly Gates, where their lines are taken by St. Peter himself.

“There doesn’t seem to be much record of you, good or bad,” says St Peter. “So I’m going to let you decide for yourselves whether you go to heaven or hell. First let me describe them for you. On the one hand, you could spend eternity in cramped quarters, your beds a few inches shorter than you are, your food and water always rationed, and a bath something you could only dream of.”

“Now let me tell you about hell …”

How True! This simply needs to be said!
Beware of anyone who says they know. Trust me, they don’t, or they wouldn’t have to say they did. Harvey Fierstein

I Like This!
“In war, as in prostitution, amateurs are often better than professionals.” – Napoleon

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
● Reading this morning’s Scuttlebutt and the Yacht Racing Forum comments (see Yacht Racing Forum – Interesting Thoughts), it’s interesting to note the comments of Ian Walker and Andrew Hurst, both I believe to be suitably qualified to comment on the over-coaching of young sailors.

Despite having been party to a strong Oppie programme, in my humble opinion we are putting too much pressure on our young sailors and neglecting the fun element which was so much part of growing into sailing in our day – no Oppies then, only too grateful to be on the water no matter what boat!

Young sailors are frequently seen having to be pushed by parents to rig, or cajoled to launch or throwing hissy fits! This must surely be because they are not having the fun the parents wish them to have. Is this because too much pressure to achieve is being demanded of them?

My rant for the morning!

● Interesting and compact reading, even in the northern hemisphere! (-1 degrees today).

● What an interesting blog the above was (The Future of Sailing by Captain Alex Blackwell in issue 36). We’ve always heard the lament of our generation at the lack of opportunity for the kids to just bugger around in their boats. I’ve heard many stories of mates as kids messing around all day in the harbour in the school holidays. I think safety concerns these days are over emphasised in everything we do, as your other contribution from Brian Hancock pointed out. Clearly messing about in the harbour is not on, nowadays, but organised messing about is a great thought especially for the real youngsters and novices. Some development needed, me thinks. Great article.

● I think two further factors impact the kids participation; lack of parental support or involvement and as they move into upper school, Saturday school sport. I’ve tried a few times to move our Saturday sailing to a Sunday, but never get enough support for this one.

● Thank you Richard, once again a great treat. Love the “39 Steps To Being A Sailor”. This should be turned into a wall hanging of sorts and placed in our homes, offices, clubs etc. It just goes to show, that sailing really is a package deal with all of these life lessons included We are a blessed bunch indeed !

Also incredibly interesting that more and more, across the world, sailors are asking for fun to be put back into sailing …. Who is brave enough in the Western Cape to institute this I wonder?

● More great info, thanks Richard. Good to see that more and more voices are calling for the kids to have more freedom and fun in boats. Sailing bureaucrats (paid or not) around the world should take note.

● I agree fully with the blog post by Mugs Hancock about wearing PFDs and have voiced my similar opinion in various places. Inevitably some are strongly opposed to the point of becoming abusive and others are supportive. What has become clear to me is that inshore sailors seem to be mostly in favour of regulations enforcing the wearing of PFDs (and more likely to be abusive) and experienced ocean sailors are against it (and more in favour of people deciding for themselves). He makes a good point about taking responsibility for ourselves and also that we are less cautious if we rely too heavily on safety equipment. My Dad used to race in the Agulhas Race in the 1950s on a boat that had no guardrails. No crew were lost because all practised seamanship suitable to the equipment that they had. Yet the RCYC Safety Committee tried to pass a regulation in about 1992 that all boats had to have jacklines installed to even leave moorings. I campaigned against it and convinced the Safety Committee that we did not need jacklines to daysail in Table Bay. Oppressive bureaucracy, whether from clubs, government or world governing authorities, is not good for the health of sailing.

● My first experience of sailing from RCYC was about 1960 or thereabouts, with my uncle in his 18′ trapeze dinghy. The container dock wasn’t there; we sailed out of Duncan Dock onto the bay, no rescue boats in attendance, just us on a small boat on the bay. We did wear lifejackets, in those days the bulky kapok type.

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

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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.

The Roll of Honour so far this year reads as follows:
February Alan Kernick
March Jof Heathcote
April Michaela Robinson
May Peter Funcke
June Rob van Rooyen
July Simone Swanepoel
August Stefano Marcia
September Blaine Dodds
October William Edwards
November Alan Keen
December Roger Hudson

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

Check Also

“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 50

To Subscribe: Mail (sailing@iafrica.com) with the words ‘SUBSCRIBE TO TALKING SAILING’ in the subject line. …