“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 38

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issue – 38

20 January 2016

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.

It’s a new year with loads more “Talking Sailing” to come. The year has already opened with some exciting stuff, especially the first ever 470 African Championships in which an Angolan team qualified for the Rio Olympics.

ISAF closed off 2015 in poor light, and has yet to redeem itself for not intervening in the glaring case of discrimination at the ISAF Youth Worlds in the last few days of 2015.

My plea to all readers of “Talking Sailing” is to please forward every issue to your sailing mates as the more people who are “Taking Sailing” the better our sport will become. Enjoy 2016
Here are some New Year Resolutions. Which apply to you?:
• New year. New boat.
• May your troubles last as long as your new year’s resolutions.
• This year, let’s resolve to make better bad decisions.
• To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.

In this issue we “Talk About”…
• Our Olympic Sailors – Omitted from the Last Issue in Error
• SAILING Magazine’s ‘Sailor of the Year’
• Letter to Santa
• ISAF Re-Brands – Now World Sailing
• World Sailing Announces New Chief Executive Officer
• World Sailing Discrimination Disgrace
• RaceAhead – A Squad to Be Proud of
• Oceana Power Boat Club
• 470 African Champs – Angola Win Rio Olympic Place
• Who Takes Responsibility for the Water Quality in Rio?
• Two Incidents of Piracy in the Caribbean. BEWARE
• South African Rand. One of 8 Coins Welded to the Keel of the New Silver Muse
• Weathering Change in the Arctic
• A Yacht Club in the Desert
• Licence to Thrill
• That Bastard the Race Officer!
• Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
• 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”

Our Olympic Sailors – Omitted from the Last Issue in Error
In the last issue this piece was left out in error. Apologies, but here it is – better late than never!

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 African 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!

SAILING Magazine’s ‘Sailor of the Year’
For those who don’t read SAILING Magazine nor follow its website or Facebook pages, our Sailor of the Year was Stefano Marcia.

Our four anonymous judges had a tough time in selecting the winner. There were four World Champions, two Olympians and other really worthy monthly winners in the mix.

The clear winner though was Stefano Marcia.

The judges rewarded consistently hard work and youth in coming to their decision. Stefano qualified the country in the Men’s Laser division for this year’s Rio Olympics, no mean feat in such a tough class. But he had hammered away all last year, climbing the ISAF World Rankings, and eventually had his hard work rewarded in selection for Rio 2016, and being SAILING Magazine’s Sailor of the Year.

Marcia is a humble man who is clearly focussed on where he is going in sailing, and what he wants to achieve. Plus he is not afraid to put in the hard yards on international sailing waters while duelling with the best Laser sailors in the world.

I have already mentioned the four judges who deserve special praise and thanks as they adjudicate each month’s nominations before deciding on a winner. Believe me, there have been some worthy candidates nominated who simply have not made the cut. My message therefore to ALL sailors and supporters out there – please keep the nominations coming, and remember that ANYONE can nominate their favourite sailor. There are no restrictions in this regard.

Mention must also be made of MDM Marine Services; North Sails and Southern Spars who sponsor the ‘Sailor of the Year’ award, and have done since its inception. Their sponsorship provides our Sailor of the Year with a handsome cash prize, while the ‘Roll of Honour’ reads like a who’s who of top South African yachties.

Letter to Santa
Although Christmas is done and dusted, the following is simply too god not to use – courtesy of 48°North.

Letter to Santa from the Race Committee
Dear Santa,
The race committee has been very good this year. We have run lots of races and we have tried to do a good job. Sure, some of our lines might not have been completely straight, but the wind shifts (surely a flying-sleigh-pilot like yourself should understand that). We might have blown an errant horn on occasion or raised the wrong flag once in a while. But, we tried really hard, we hope to have avoided the naughty list. We deserve more than a lump of coal!

So Santa, here is what the Race Committee would like for Christmas this year:
• We would like all the racers to read the Sailing Instructions (SIs) before the race (crew too!).
• Can you have them register for the race before the race, preferably at least a day in advance and not when they are on the water, Santa? Especially the dinghy sailors! Can you let them know?
• The right sail numbers on the sails is always nice. You know the ones they register. And if they have to change sails that is OK. Just let us know the numbers change, preferably in writing. We also don’t like white sail numbers; they are really hard to see.
• Read the SIs – did we ask for that already?
• Oh, if a boat quits a race, especially a long distance race, could you have them radio the committee boat. We are listening! I promise we will respond. If we don’t it is because we didn’t hear you. They can call again when they get closer.
• We aren’t supposed to give information to sailors from the committee boat. So have them read the SIs so we don’t have to act like we are being smug.
• We would love to have people volunteer on the committee boat, just one or two days a year. Skipper or crew members are welcome. We have fun. And, they will learn something
• We would love it if all our equipment worked. It seems something is always breaking down.
• Perhaps you can bring the racers a little extra sympathy this year when we do have that inevitable equipment failure.
• And beer, we always like beer.

So Santa, there are probably a few other things we would like, but that will do for now. What we really want is good racing and for everyone to have fun. We promise to try to be good again in 2016.

Merry Christmas to everyone!
All the Race Committees on Puget Sound
P.S. Oh, did we mention having the sailor read the SIs?

ISAF Re-Brands – Now World Sailing
The governing body of sailing worldwide, formerly known as ISAF, has officially announced its rebrand to ‘World Sailing – A Sport for Life’.

At the heart of the federation moving forward is a significant focus on change for the better. More transparency, better communication, stronger governance and greater accountability are the four main aims of the new leadership team and the rebrand to World Sailing represents their commitment to those aims.

Sailing is one of the most inclusive sports in the world, regardless of gender, age or ability of a sailor, there is a boat for anyone and everyone to train and race in. It’s not unusual to see men and women racing alongside and against each other, grandparents sharing a boat with their grandchildren, or able-bodied and disabled sailors going head-to-head – all can compete on equal terms and this is what makes the sport unique.

Not only will the federation have a refreshed look and focus, the new motto – ‘A Sport for Life’ – also reinforces the team’s dedication to the whole world of sailing, from an individual’s first step in a boat to the day they choose to hang up their salopettes.

Malcolm Page, Chief Marketing Officer of World Sailing, said, “We are really looking forward to a new era of sailing governance and I and the team are determined to make World Sailing the best that it can be.

“It feels natural to develop our brand as the organisation evolves. The new identity satisfies all of the existing positive expectations of what our previous mark stood for, whilst moving the brand forward to acknowledge the maturity, functionality and diversity of sailing.

“We have great history and tradition and of this we are justifiably proud. However, in some areas, we were stuck in the past. Only by thinking and acting together, acting now, sharing one clear powerful message, can we move beyond this, remain relevant and grow as a sport.”

The future of World Sailing will see a united sport from juniors venturing onto the water for the first time to champions competing at the Olympic Games or in the Vendée Globe. Greater value will be provided to Member National Authorities, Class Associations and Continental Federations, alongside initiative developed to grow and broaden participation in sailing.

World Sailing Announces New Chief Executive Officer
World Sailing has appointed Andy Hunt (GBR), former CEO of the British Olympic Association and a non-executive Director of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Hunt (52) has most recently been Chairman & Managing Partner of Progressive Media Group, an International Media & Business Information group of companies, as well as serving as a non-executive Director of England Hockey & Gloucester Rugby. Hunt has had a highly successful career across both sport and business over the past 30 years.

World Sailing President Carlo Croce said, “I am delighted that we have found an outstanding candidate to fill the role of CEO. Andy combines exceptional business leadership credentials, with an excellent track record in sports administration, a deep understanding of the Olympic & Paralympic movement, strong relationships with the IOC and ASOIF and enjoys a lifelong passion for Sailing. Andy will work closely with me and the Executive Board to continue to deliver on our vision and strategy for World Sailing.”

“I am delighted to have been selected by the Executive Board to lead World Sailing,” commented Hunt. “It is a real honour to be able to serve a sport that I have participated in since an early age. I look forward to working with all of the stakeholders within our sport to further drive the organisation and sport forward.”

World Sailing Discrimination Disgrace
The world of sailing was shaken at its foundations when Malaysian authorities excluded Israeli sailors from the Youth World Championship at the very end of last year. Outrage reverberated around the world, and continues to do so long after the fact – yet World Sailing (formerly ISAF) appeared to do absolutely nothing despite being the controlling body of the sport of sailing!

Having rebranded ISAF as World Sailing I was shocked that ‘the suit & button brigade’ at World Sailing did not stand up as a man and condemn these actions. It would, simply, have been the right thing to do, especially as they chose to rebrand their organisation ‘World Sailing – yet did absolutely nothing to justify that title and the fact that they are the sports’ controlling body. They missed an opportunity to show their mettle here.

Sadly, in an official report into the discrimination at the Youth Worlds, World Sailing appears to have taken the easy way out and will take no substantive action. Malaysia will simply receive a letter from World Sailing. One assumes they will be advised of the fact that they broke sections of World Sailing’s constitution and regulations! Now that’s a limp-wristed slap if ever there was one!

Likewise, Israeli sailing authorities will also receive a letter, and one can only speculate as to its contents.

The International Controlling body of our sport should rule effectively and fairly, and deal with issues as important as discrimination quickly and with a rod of iron. Maybe ‘the suits’ are there for their own self-glorification, and not the betterment of the sport. If that’s the case the nations who elected them need to think long and hard as to who represents them, and put in people who have the sports’ best interest at heart.

We South Africans are no strangers to discrimination in sport as we have a ‘lost generation’ of yachties who were excluded from many world championships and other international competitions until we were reintegrated into the world in the early ‘90s. Many a local sailor was turned away from events, others snuck in under the radar and kept a low profile, while others simply chose not to represent a country to get that important international experience. That’s history now of course and no longer worth being uptight about.

Regrettably the World Sailing official report is too long to reproduce here, so read it HERE

RaceAhead – A Squad to be Proud Of
Having spent a few days in Cape Town just before Christmas, I was privileged to have been invited by Roger Hudson to spend the day with his RaceAhead squad as they trained in Granger Bay.

Hudson, some time ago, identified Granger Bay as a really good training spot for he and Asenathi Jim to train for the Olympics when not on the international circuit. He also identified the Oceana Power Boat Club as an ideal launch facility – and the club hierarchy embraced him and RaceAhead and gave them what appears to be free reign of the facilities. This is a phenomenal venue as the sailing waters are pretty much protected from the souther easter, and just a few minutes away from the slipway – so they can be training within minutes of launching.

Hudson has been honing a squad of up-and-coming sailors for some time now, taking them to international competitions, and basically providing them with all the building blocks required to be competitive on the international circuit. His reward is a dedicated and highly talented squad who have shown a quantum improvement, and who are absolutely committed to becoming better sailors.

Roger Hudson, very much like his father David, is a quiet man who lets his actions rather than words speak for him. Quiet and unassuming, he is fully focussed, innovative and intelligent enough to offer variety and guidance that make his squad want to come back for more. This is no ‘same-old, same-old’ routine, but a variety of routines all done with the sole purpose of ensuring the guys have the necessary skills when competing internationally.

The day started with Hudson having an informal briefing which included welcoming the first two girls to squad training. They were Jemima Baum and Elsje Djikstra, both up-and-coming youth sailors in Dabchicks and Laser Radials respectively. He was quick to point out that they would not get any special treatment, and that the deep end was where they would start, BUT that all the rest of the squad were ‘big brothers’ who would willingly assist, guide and impart their knowledge when off and on the water. That was a genius!

As this was a few days before Christmas, Roger had promised them a short training session as there was a lunchtime braai awaiting them as they closed off the year.

On the water there was a series of short and sharp races, but as there was one two-person team too many for the number of boats available, the last team in each race would swop with whomever had sat out the previous race. With Dave Hudson in charge of the duck and some buoys laid in Granger Bay, the races commenced – and they went on, and on and on… !

Racing was intense, close and cut-throat and lasted about 15 minutes each.

Why I laboured the point of them going on an on is simply that the enthusiasm of all on the water would not say die, and despite these being permanently hungry growing lads and lasses, their time on the water was far more important to them. Regularly Roger would call for the last race, yet their collective infectious enthusiasm saw a few more races sailed, and then a few more…!

Roger and Asenathi would give the teams advice after every race, as would Dave Hudson from his perspective on the coach boat.

I’ve used the word enthusiasm often already, but that’s what makes these guys ‘tick’ and what will get them to the next level pretty darn quickly.

What I did notice was that the entire squad is super-fit – and one has to be to hang out on a trapeze all day or hike while helming. The fittest of them all by far were Roger and Asenathi – who never showed any signs of fatigue and who gave it their all with ease. These are all super-fit and finely tuned athletes.

The girls, Jemima and Elsje, were literally thrown in at the deep end, but quite quickly cottoned on to the vagaries of a 470 spinnaker trapeze dinghy, and certainly did nothing to disgrace themselves. They also had the privilege of Jemima helming for Roger, and Elsje crewing for Asenathi in the final few races. We followed Jemima and Roger up a long hard beat, and one could literally see Jemima grow with confidence and improve her helming techniques as Roger advised her. Lucky girls – but they are talented sailors in their own right anyway.

Once ashore, after a few more ‘just one more before lunch’, the squad quietly packed away their boats and then got down to the business of the braai. This is a squad who are learning and appreciate the opportunity they are getting. None are loud-mouths, none strut their stuff and none are arrogant – they are all simply a well drilled great bunch of people.

Roger, Dave and Asenathi, along with all their supporters have an amazing set-up which gives one serious hope that soon we will have a bunch of talented sailors on the international circuit, and podiums around the world. They all have that thirst and ability.

Will Oceana Power Boat Club soon become the Oceana Power Boat & Sailing Club? Dinghy sailors need a dedicated venue like theirs?

Oceana Power Boat Club
One often hears the old adage that “oil and water don’t mix” which is why sailors and power boaters rarely live in harmony!

Well there is always an exception to this rule – and the Oceana Power Boat Club is it as they have embraced the RaceAhead project as well as our Olympians Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim by opening their club and launching facilities to them.

In their latest newsletter, the Editor, Mike Binder, said: “Those members who come down regularly will have seen our Olympic sailing pair of Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim practising daily for next year’s Olympics. OPBC has been chosen to host the first ever Olympic Continental Qualification event in South Africa and first ever such 470 African Championships. This event should be very interesting for our members to observe. It is to be held at our club between 12th and 17th of January 2016. The Angolan team has already been here for 3 weeks and another few teams will be arriving soon. Let’s all make them feel really welcome during their stay in our country.

“Oceana Power Boat Club has always been there to promote all forms of water sports from racing, fishing, sailing, jet skiing as well as paddle skiing and even swimming. We also assist athletics, cycling and any sport body that needs a great venue to promote their sport. We have become an integral part of sports in Cape Town and can be proud of what we have achieved.”

Their newsletter reads more like that of a yacht club as there is a lengthy profile on Roger Hudson, plus a welcome message from the President of South African Sailing (SAS), Philip Baum and the formal request from SAS for the OPBC to host the inaugural Africa 470 Champs.

And there’s more too. Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim are their Sportsmen of the Year.

Well done all at the Oceana Power Boat Club for embracing our sport and sharing your facilities with our yachties. In today’s world it is simply too easy to retreat and become insular and exclusive.

470 African Champs – Angola Win Rio Olympic Place
The 470 African Championship was a ground-breaking moment for sailing in Africa, as the event marked the first ever 470 African Championships and first Continental Olympic Qualification Event.

Eleven races and five days of competition saw Asenathi Jim & Roger Hudson crowned the inaugural 470 African Champions and Angola claim it’s place on the starting line at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Jim & Hudson jostled for the Championship title with team mates Sibusiso Sizatu & Alex Burger, who put up a good challenge and continuously pushed the Olympians around every step of the race track. These two teams dominated the leader board and the overall lead exchanged hands between them on a daily basis.

Onto the final day, and advantage to Jim & Hudson who carried a 2 point advantage, and their clean win of the 25 minute Medal Race, put victory nicely in the bag. “It’s pretty special for us to win,” grinned Jim. “And for our other teams that we train with almost every day to come second, third and fourth means a lot to us. They are some of the many people supporting us. It shows how much training we do as a team, it makes us feel proud, it shows a lot of progress in terms of what we’re doing, and trying to do, here in Cape Town.”

“We feel fantastic!”, chipped in Hudson. “First of all, we are really pleased that the inaugural 470 African Championships has been hosted here and that it was such a fantastic sailing event, that we had such a great variety of weather and so many people pulled together to make the event possible.
“From a personal point of view, we are extremely pleased to have won the regatta, and it was really wonderful to see our training partners push us all the way to the end. That’s something we could only dream of a few years ago, and we’re so pleased that they’re doing so well. As we set off to go back on the international circuit tomorrow, we’re just so pleased to have had this wonderful event in Cape Town.”

Teams from Algeria, Angola and South Africa competed in the 470 African Championship, which saw the race course set right off Cape Town’s popular waterfront area and in front of the iconic Table Mountain.

Angola’s Matia Montinho & Paixao Afonso opened their assault with a strong 3rd place in race 1 and soon held their advantage over team mates Francisco Artur & Edivaldo Torres and the Algerian pair of Hakiim Djoulah & Samir Ksouri. A consistent score line rewarded them with a sixth place overall to give Montinho & Paixao Afonso’s the honour of securing their nation’s place to Rio and a massive celebration of success for Angola. Their achievement marks the first time Angola has competed in the 470 Men event since the 1992 Olympic Games.

Philip Baum, President of South African Sailing was instrumental in achieving the goal of Africa hosting the African Olympic Qualification Event on its home waters, rather than at an off-continent venue.

“We’ve hosted a very successful inaugural 470 African Championships,” Baum said, “and shown that we can pull it off. In Europe, sailing can become out-of-sight-out-of-mind, but for us here it is real and tangible, and we’ve managed to get it into the main media streams, on prime time TV news and major newspapers. We are fortunate to have a gem in the RaceAhead Foundation, that is doing really great work, and are helping to produce the next round of Olympic sailors.

Recognizing the critical step along the road to future development of the 470 Class and sailing across Africa, Baum continued, “If we can work together and collaborate across the continent, Africa can become a formidable force in sailing, and can host multi-class international regattas going forward.”

470 African Championship – Final Top Ten Results
1. Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson (RSA1) – 17 pts
2. Sibusiso Sizatu/Alex Burger (RSA11) – 27 pts
3. Brevan Thompson/Alexander Ham (RSA12) – 31 pts
4. Taariq Jacobs/Joshua Rubenstein (RSA111) – 45 pts
5. Ricky Robinson/Brennan Robinson (RSA8) – 53 pts
6. Matias Montinho/Paixao Afonso (ANG1) – 55 pts
7. Ryan Barnardo/Daniel Spratley (RSA13) – 77 pts
8. Francisco Artur/Edivaldo Torres (ANG2) – 88 pts
9. Sabatha Gayeka/Alex Lehtinen (RSA10) – 99 pts
10. Hakim Djoulah/Samir Ksouri (ALG8) – 119 pts

Who Takes Responsibility for the Water Quality in Rio?
Dorian van Rijsselberghe is the defending Olympic Windsurfing Champion for Rio 2016. The Dutchman lives in Laguna Beach CA and spends lots of time training and racing on Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, preparing for the Olympic Games in August. In December he competed in the Copa Brasil de Vela, a sailing regatta held on Guanabara Bay, and is very concerned about the water quality. His Blog, translated from Dutch reads:

I am an athlete, not a magician who can solve the water pollution problems in Guanabara Bay. I wish I was, because the water quality is disgustingly filthy and dangerous and no one cares enough to change it.

Research shows that just a few drops will make you seriously ill. As athletes, we were promised repeatedly that the authorities, the local government and the Olympic Committee would solve the problem.

No one has done anything. Alarm bells rang, but nothing has changed and we are now just months away from the Olympic Games. I recently trained and raced in the Bay and have only once seen ONE clean-up boat. I had plastic caught on my fin on many occasions. My training partner encountered this as many as thirteen times in one single race.

We had to sail back during the race to get this floating debris off our boards. How is that gonna be during the Olympics? Windsurfers and sailors going backwards to win a race. This is what will occur if no one is willing to take drastic measures to change this ongoing pollution of local waters.

Guanabara Bay contains so many plastic bags that the world’s population could do its Xmas shopping with them; assuming they were even fortunate enough to do Xmas shopping. In short, the water is disgusting and dangerous.

A member of our coaching staff almost puked while entering the Olympic harbor. Raw sewage. The athletes do not talk about it. ‘If I don’t talk about it, it doesn’t become my problem either’. That is what most of the other athletes think. As athletes, they must focus on the job at hand. They are not there to challenge the world’s environmental issues.

But the athletes are all concerned and deeply worried.

So this is what it is. And that is sad. Humanity cannot even clean up one bay, let alone clean up the plastic soup in our oceans. We need to save our environment and pass it on to our children. Their opportunity to enjoy mother earth depends on what we do now.

If we can not solve an issue like this, what does that say about us? That we can never get a cleaner world?

I am happy I won last week. Maybe I won because I had the least amount of debris on my fin. Looking back, winning in plastic soup does not fill me with joy.

Not at all!

I am a windsurfer. Not an environmental activist. We race in Rio because we are athletes. That is what we do. Others must now step up and take their responsibility for the dangerous and horrendous water quality. All of us must start to recycle plastic now.

Two Incidents of Piracy in the Caribbean. BEWARE.
Two incidents of piracy were reported in the closing days of 2015 in the vicinity of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) has taken a proactive stance in working with regional authorities to combat this threat to the yachting community.

OCC Commodore John Franklin has issued an alert to vessels sailing in waters between Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada. In the last 10 days there have been reports of two incidents of piracy against sailing vessels north of Trinidad. Both took place in daylight and involved local (assumed Venezuelan) 18′-20′ pirogues with powerful outboard engines (120-130hp). Each craft had 5 or 6 pirates aboard, several of them armed with assault rifles and each craft carried a spare powerful outboard and additional fuel in barrels.

In each case the sailing vessel was boarded by armed pirates and the boat ransacked for valuables. Stolen items included cash, passports, boat papers, cell phones, watches, computers, other electronics and clothing. Fortunately, there were no injuries or loss of life. Reports of each incident as well as a report of a meeting of the YSATT which contains Coast Guard advice on communications and passage planning can be found on the OCC Forum. Please consult this advice if sailing in these waters. Also, please log in to the OCC Caribbean SSB Net for updates.

About the Ocean Cruising Club
The Ocean Cruising Club exists to encourage long-distance sailing in small boats. A Full Member of the OCC must have completed a qualifying voyage of a non-stop port-to-port ocean passage, where the distance between the two ports is not less than 1,000 nautical miles as measured by the shortest practical Great Circle route, as skipper or member of the crew in a vessel of not more than 70′ LOA; associate members are committed to the achievement of that goal. This standard distinguishes the OCC from all other sailing clubs. It’s not about what you are or who you know, but simply what you have done, that matters.

Our membership as a whole has more experience offshore than any other sailing organisation – in the number of circumnavigators, in the range of extraordinary voyages members have completed, and in the number of solo sailors and female sailors among our ranks. This is what sets us apart from other organisations, even as it draws us together as a group. We bring the spirit of seafaring to our association by always being willing to assist any fellow sailor we meet, either afloat or ashore.

With a central office in the UK, though it has no physical clubhouse, the OCC is, in a way, the “home port” for all of us who have sailed long distances across big oceans. With 48 nationalities and Port Officers in as many countries, we have a more diverse membership and a more international reach than any other sailing organisation. Our Port Officers and Regional Rear Commodores represent the frontline interaction with our existing members and the recruitment of new members.

South African Rand. One of 8 Coins Welded to the Keel of the New Silver Muse
Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises recently celebrated the milestone keel-laying ceremony of its newest ship, Silver Muse, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy.

The ceremony is a long-standing maritime tradition celebrating the start of a ship’s construction. The action of welding a coin into the keel of the ship is said to bring good luck during the build and to the captain and crew during her later life. Silversea has taken this one step further by welding eight coins into the keel of Silver Muse. Each coin represents one of the seven continents that Silversea ships sail to, along with a specially designed commemorative Silver Muse coin. The coins are:
• A South African rand
• An Australian dollar
• A US half dollar
• A Brazilian real
• An Italian euro
• A Singapore dollar
• A commemorative Antarctica trust coin
• A specially designed Silversea Silver Muse commemorative coin

Silversea Cruises are officially represented in this country by Cruise Vacations.

Weathering Change in the Arctic
The Russian icebreaker Vaygach recently completed a transit of the Northern Sea Route in just seven and a half days. Although it was hailed as a new record by some Russian media, it is the time the transit was made that is perhaps of greater significance.

The Vaygach, a nuclear-powered icebreaker, left from the Siberian side of the Bering Strait on December 17, covering more than 2,200 nautical miles before reaching the White Sea on December 25.

The vessel’s average speed during the transition was more than 12 knots, and the trip was made more than a month after the shipping season usually ends in the Arctic. Other transits are said to have been quicker – but in mid-summer rather than that time of year.

The timing of the trip is seen as an indication of changing ice conditions in the Arctic, a phenomenon that extends beyond the Northern Sea Route. Info courtesy of The Maritime Professional

A Yacht Club in the Desert
A yacht club in the desert in one of the most remote locations on earth is planning its first regatta in four years – but only if there’s enough water.

The Lake Eyre Yacht Club in South Australia sits on the shores of the continent’s largest lake and the thirteenth biggest inland body of water in the world. It is also dry most of the time and only completely fills about four times each century – the last time being 1974.

But seasonal rains are beginning to arrive in Lake Eyre after flowing to the salt lake through a network of rivers that drain into a basin covering a sixth of Australia – about the size of Spain.

Lake Eyre Yacht Club Commodore Bob Backway said boats had not been on the main lake since 2011, but the recent rains had members excited. “This rain has primed all the Queensland rivers, which is great. If we have what is considered another rain event in the first half of February then it would be fantastic,” Backway said.

“We’ll probably get boats out on the water in March because this time of year it’s just too hot…!

And to think that we have it tough here in South Africa during our drought!

Licence to Thrill
A groundbreaking racing license programme to ensure safety in the 2016 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) is proving a hit with competitors as they get to grips with the cutting edge M32 catamaran.

Under new rules introduced this season by the World Match Racing Tour, and the first programme of its kind to be introduced to the sport, every sailor racing in a WMRT Tour event is required to complete an intense three-day training clinic and be granted an official M32 Match Racing License.

The licensing programme is designed to teach sailors how to handle and race the high performance M32s, particularly in a close match racing environment similar to the America’s Cup. Importantly, obtaining the license is also a requirement of strict safety and insurance demands placed on competitors to ensure maximum safety levels on the water, particularly including VIP guests who will be given the opportunity to sail on board the M32s during live races.

The 32ft carbon fibre M32s are capable of hitting speeds in excess of 30 knots – up to five times faster than monohull yachts – so a new set of skills is demanded from the sailors to guarantee safety on the water and a thrilling show for spectators.

The 2016 World Match Racing Tour kicks off in Fremantle near Perth, Australia, from March 2 to 7.

And they think it a world first to have a licence? We in good old RSA also have to have a licence to thrill – even on slow cruisers – thanks to SAMSA and the ANC Government!

That Bastard the Race Officer!
All Race Officers without exception I am sure, have been called a ‘bastard’ or worse?

Yet the International Tornado Class Association has appointed a Bastard as its Official Tornado Class Race Officer.

Paul Bastard is now the man in charge.

He has been an international judge and race officer of World Sailing since 1987 and technical representative in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens, Olympic games. Sailors and collaborators praised his work as an excellent competition manager and sporting event organizer.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
This editorial is by former South African Brian Hancock who writes the Great Circle Sails Blog

Balance – the “real” winner of the Sydney Hobart Race

OK I tried to stop myself from writing this but I couldn’t. I kept my hands in my pockets so that my fingers would not walk their way to my keyboard but to no avail. I can’t help myself and I really wanted to start this year out on a positive, upbeat note. Before I knew it I was typing the words… “Does anyone even know what boat won the Sydney Hobart Race?” Does anyone? You would think that Comanche, that oversized, slab-sided, unimaginative super-maxi was the race winner but no, it was a TP52 by the name of Balance that won the race. Yes the overall winner was not Comanche but a boat just over half the size sailed by Paul Clitheroe, a British born money manager who apparently manages some $14 billion for clients. Nice work if you can get it but that’s an aside. I am sure he’s a nice guy and he and his crew were the true winners of the Sydney Hobart Race.

Let me continue by saying that I have always been a fan of Ken Read, the skipper of Comanche, and I have never met Jim Clark or his lovely (I’m sure) wife Kristy Hinze-Clark, but it really gets my goat when it’s all over the news that she became the first owner to win the prestigious Sydney Hobart Race. Yes she was on the boat that was first to get to Hobart. Truthfully it would have been an embarrassment had they not arrived there first. Other than Ragamuffin it was by far the biggest boat in the fleet and stacked with more sailing talent than you can point a stick at. When you have someone like Jimmy Spithill (yes the same Spithill that won the America’s Cup) listed just as a crewmember you know you have a fairly talented team on board. And I give them credit, they did fix a damaged rudder (after retiring) and then asking to be unretired and then going on to be first into port, but did Regatta News, who in their final summation of the race, have to give Comanche well over twice the amount of ink than the boat that won the race? I think not.

You see I had my hands in my pockets and that was where they were staying until I watched live as Spindrift 2 crossed the line to complete their loop of the planet in their attempt to set a new Jules Verne record. Onboard Spindrift was another lady, not a trophy wife, instead one who inherited a bucket load of money. It’s not about the money, it’s not even about the trophy wife, it’s about giving credit where credit is due. Dona Bertarelli, the founder and owner of Spindrift Racing just sailed 29,000 miles non-stop around the planet. Now that’s an accomplishment worthy of some ink in the press. I am sure that she will get her fair share of accolades, but this is all missing the point.

Here is what I wanted to say and I am glad that my fingers found their way to the keyboard. I have been a massive supporter of women in sailing for almost 40 years. I recognized back when I started out as a professional sailor that there were some immensely talented women who were doing extraordinary things but getting no recognition. Remember Claire Francis? Probably not, but she was the first female to skipper a boat in the Whitbread Round the World Race. How about Naomi James? She was the first woman to sail single-handed around the world. How about Kay Cottee? Since we are talking Australian (you can’t find a report that does not name Kristy Hinze-Clark as the “Australian-born” supermodel) let’s remember that Australian Kay Cottee was the first woman ever to complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation. Not bad huh? I could go on and in fact I think I will. Who remembers Jessica Watson, the teenager who left Sydney (not to sail to Hobart) but around the world? She was 16 when she left and 16 when she returned after lapping the planet. Now that’s an accomplishment worthy of a cockpit load of ink.

So that’s my issue. It cheapens the accomplishments of some amazingly talented women when the press gushes that Ms Hinze-Clark was the winner of the Sydney Hobart Race. I call bullshit on it all and I salute Dona Bertarelli for sucking it up for 47 days with a bunch of smelly Frenchman to become the fastest woman to lap the planet.

Follow Brian Hancock HERE

How True! This Simply Needs to Be Said!
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

I Like This!
Life’s roughest storms prove the strength of our anchors.

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
● Richard, nice light reading with good humour thrown in!!! Well done.

● From Phillippa Hutton-Squire. The answer to your question is: “I would like to do a Route du Rhum and Barcelona World Race first and then a Vendee!! But I need funds!” Thank you for all your support!

● Thank you, Richard, for your efforts and hard work on behalf of the sailing community – and also for your good wishes.

● Nothing about Olympic sailors in here!! Enjoyed the poem though.
ED. As stated up front, the error is regretted, and the omitted piece is included this time. Enjoy.

● Another good one Crockett – have a great time off – well deserved.

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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.

Sailors of the Year
2015 Stefano Marcia
2014 Blaine Dodds
2013 Asenathi Jim
2012 Roger Hudson
2011 Stefano Marcia
2010 Asenathi Jim
2009 Taariq Jacobs
2008 David Hudson
2007 Dominique Provoyeur
2006 Craig Millar
2005 Shaun Ferry
2004 Justin Onvlee
2003 Dominique Provoyeur
2002 Golden Mgedza
2001 John Eloff

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