“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 39

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issue – 39
22 February 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

As usual there’s lots to chat about, and the Dabchick 60th anniversary this year is something which excites me. It’s a totally homegrown design which was the spring board that launched the sailing careers of many of our top sailors.

With the Olympics less than 6 months away now, our Olympians continue to hone their skills at sailing events around the world – so catch up on them.

There is also an interesting piece on Electronic Charts which the USCG now sanction as being on a par with paper charts.

And who knew that Cape Horn was first rounded 400 years ago?

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.

In this issue we “Talk About”…
•  Dabchick – 60th Anniversary
•  Olympic Sailors
•  Ex- World Sailing CEO: I Was Fired For Trying To Move Rio Event
•  Sports Parenting in 10 Sentences – This is a MUST read!
•  USCG Approves Official Electronic Charts
•  Hugo Boss – Lost and Found
•  Volvo Ocean Race Halves Cost to Compete
•  Second to None
•  Solar Sailcloth – Thinking Outside the Box
•  A Cruiser’s Historical Recollections of South Africa
•  The Scourge of Social Media!
•  Guaranteed Sea Sickness!!
•  Sailboat Lightning Strike Caught On Camera
•  Port Owen River Race
•  Politics Interfere with Sailing
•  Cape Horn Discovered 400 Years Ago
•  Missing Catamaran. Bouquets and Brickbats
•  Marine Inspirations Indeed!
•  Historical Dates of Interest in February
•  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”

Dabchick – 60th Anniversary
There are still a few old salts around who will remember the launch of the very first Dabchick, and more around who are younger than this classic youth boat.

I admit up-front to my admiration for the ‘Dabbie’ as I was introduced to sailing in January 1968 on a Dabbie – and I have never looked back. The huge bonus then, was that the boat was raced two-up, so EVERY time a Dabbie was on the water there were TWO people enjoying the sport.

It’s very sad that today it is almost exclusively a singlehanded class.

I intend to give this class some fairly extensive coverage in SAILING Magazine in the build-up to the Dabbie Nationals during the Youth Nationals at the end of the year, to mark its historical significance.

I have a good selection of old pics in my archives, and have many friends who cut their teeth on these boats, and which shaped their love of sailing. I appeal to everyone who has sailed a Dabbie to let me have their thoughts on the boat, some of their early memories sailing it, and just interesting anecdotes from events -and of course any old pics they may have. Send to: editor@sailing.co.za

I have even managed to dig out a pic of myself on my Dabbie!

I also have the full co-operation of Gerhard Koper whose father, Jack, designed the boat, plus pics from his archives.

He recently sent me a copy of the original plans. On studying them, I had to chuckle as there is just so much in the detail in these plans which gives one a laugh, as follows:
• Mast Section. Mast and boom made in two halves, hollowed out, glued together. Outside shaping after glueing.
• Mainsheet (and jibsheet) approximately the thickness of a pen.
• Canvas toe strap.
• Chain for adjustment of the shrouds.
• Wooden Fairleads.
• Aluminium rudder blade.
• Diamonds. Two spreaders needed. Shaped in wood as below.
• Mainsail. 2,03oz Terylene.

This is just such good stuff as today it’s all about aluminium, stainless steel and exotic materials, with the top boats being considered those built in Fibreglass.

The first Dabchick was not allowed to cost more that £25.00 to build. The plans cost just R1.75 with postage extra.

Olympic Sailors
Our Olympic sailors have their heads down in preparation for Rio 2016.

Currently Stefano Marcia, SAILING Magazine?s Sailor of the Year, is in wet and windy Auckland in training and preparation for the Sail Auckland regatta.

Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim are in South America where they are competing in the 470 World Championships taking place from the Yacht Club San Isidro – Argentina.

These two will be sailing on their brand new boat for the first time in this championship. They held off buying a new boat until after they qualified for Rio 2016. There is a massive difference in speed between new and old 470s, so let?s hope that they get up and running FAST immediately and without teething problems, and that they establish themselves at the top of the fleet.

Below is an interview with Roger Hudson after the last event he and Asenathi Jim competed in ? the Miami World Cup just a few weeks ago.

You started out with a race win? Can you tell me a bit about that race and how it felt making such a great start?
It felt great to start the Miami World Cup event and the 2016 Olympic circuit season with a race win. We basically managed to execute our strategy of working the right side of the first upwind leg which got us to the first mark in second place behind the Chilean. We stuck with him on the first downwind leg and then made a tactical attack to the right of him on the second upwind and got through for the lead at the second upwind mark. On the second downwind leg we had good pace and extended away from the Chilean and the chasing pack to win the race fairly comfortably.

You had some good races after that, but unfortunately the finish wasn’t , I’m sure, what you wanted – what happened?
Yes, our overall result was brought down by inconsistency, no question about it. We said going into the event that we would be satisfied with a top 10, happy with a top 5 and delighted with a medal. Looking back on the event I’d say we had the pace and skills for a top 5 result and our best races demonstrated this. The reason we didn’t finish top 5 was primarily on account of a few big mistakes, which really cost us, specifically two OCS starts (over the start line early, effectively DSQs) and a very poor final race where we made a major tactical error within the first minute of the start which put us in a position that was very hard to recover from.

I think that the reasons behind these mistakes was that we were a little ring-rusty not having raced on the international circuit since early November 2015. Our 10-week training stint at home gave us a lot of pace and fluency, especially in the big breeze, but we probably fell short in terms of the tight judgement calls needed in the typically intense Olympic circuit racing. Normally we do the pre-event in Miami which allows a bit of race-sharpening, but this year we had an important event in Cape Town at the same time, so we could only fly to Miami in time for a couple of days of training and then went straight into the event. Still, the major purpose of the event was as preparation for the upcoming World Championship in Argentina in February and to that end it was extremely valuable preparation.

What will you be changing/working on for next time?
Well, first and foremost, starting errors that lead to OCSs have got to be cut out at major events, for example the upcoming World Championship in Argentina in February. Miami is famously tricky in terms of the starts because the wind can be very light and the current can be quite strong. This means that whilst positioning in the pre-start period (5 minutes) there is a risk of being swept over the start line whilst not having enough wind power to manoeuver and maintain the boat behind the line before the start gun goes. The flipside approach is to be extremely conservative in the pre-start, but starting behind the pack obviously makes the rest of the race very difficult. So starting spot on the line and with maximum pace is a massively important skill but most of all our judgement and focus on the day need to be 100%. We definitely have the starting skills, but I think our judgement and focus were a shade off at this event. So that?s what we need to look at going forward.

What positives will you be taking from this experience?
Firstly, our traditional forte is big breeze sailing, but in the 2015 season we didn’t cash-in at the major events in these conditions because of some technical deficiencies with our boat and rig set-up. We’ve worked hard with our team at solving these technical issues and we also trained very hard in the big breeze in Cape Town over the summer. When the breeze came on in Miami we were super-fast, which is great news for us.

Secondly, our good races came in a variety of conditions, for example we had a race win and a 3rd in light-wind conditions and scored a 4th and 3rd in moderate and windy conditions. We’ve worked extremely hard over the last 5 years to have an all-round game, to be strong in all conditions. So for us to be scoring good races across the spectrum is positive.

Finally, at the Miami event we had one of our key training partners, Alex Burger (19), with us in the dual role of understudy and coach/support. The effect was extremely positive on two fronts, in that Alex gave us amazing support and feedback from the coach-boat and off-the-water, and he also really learned a lot and gained a massive amount of experience. We are going to expand this concept with another key member of our training squad, Brevan Thompson (22), at the upcoming World Championship in Argentina and going forward in the 2016 season.

Alex and Brevan, as well as Sibu Sizatu (24) and Taariq Jacobs (25), train with us a great deal and are very close to our Rio 2016 campaign, contributing significantly from various angles. They guys are smart, accomplished sailors for their ages, and full of potential. On top of this they have great energy and enthusiasm for the Rio 2016 campaign and the overall project.

Where do you go to from here and what?s coming up in the next few months leading up to Rio?
The next big target is the World Championship in Argentina, February 22-27. After that we have two key events in Spain in March and early April and then another major in France in late April. From May to July we will predominantly spend our time getting finely tuned in Rio at the Olympic venue.

Ex-World Sailing CEO: I Was Fired For Trying To Move Rio Event
The former CEO of World Sailing says he was fired for pushing to get rid of polluted Guanabara Bay as the sailing venue of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Peter Sowrey tried to change the venue, or at least have a “B plan” but says “I was told to gag myself on the subject.”

Sowrey proposed moving the event to Buzios, a coastal resort about 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Rio that has been host to large sailing events. Of course, it’s too late now for that change.

“The board felt I was way too aggressive,” Sowrey said. “They basically voted me out. I didn’t resign. The board finally told me to leave.”

Sowrey said looking at Guanabara Bay on “fact-based, data-driven models we would never consider sailing in that quality of water.”

Sports Parenting in 10 Sentences – This is a MUST read!
There are few aspects of life that aren’t trying harder than previous generations. Parenting has not been immune in this trend, which now interferes with a child’s development. When it comes to youth sailing, and the tendency to emphasize racing, this translates to a focus on performance and not play. Anne Josephson offers this advice for sports parenting…

1 word: Hi. Greet your child when they get in the car with “Hi” before you ask about practice, the score of the game or homework.
2 words: Have fun. In all likelihood you’ve heard this statistic: 70% of kids quit sports before they turn 13 for the primary reason that they are not having fun. Encourage and remind your kids to have fun.
3 words: Tell me more. Before forming an opinion or dispensing advice, ask for more information from your child. This will force them to tell more of the story and give you more information as to what is actually happening.
4 words: Good job. Keep working. Doc Rivers, head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers and parent of a NBA player suggests these four words. Rivers notes that as parents we are often tempted to say more and analyse their kids performance, but saying only this might be what’s best for the kid who simply needs support.
5 words: What’s new in your world? Ask your kids general questions that are not about sailing. Even if the reply is “nothing” it gives you the opportunity to share something about your day.
6 words: I love to watch you play. Best six words ever.
7 words: So what do you think about that? You know your opinion, so before you jump to tell your child what it is, ask what his/her opinion is. You are not only learning more about what your child thinks but are also helping develop critical thinking skills.
8 words: Is there something I can do to help? Before you give a solution or an action plan, ask if that is what the child really wants. Sometimes all the child wants to do is blow off some steam, and we jump directly to “solving” the problem.
9 words: You are more important to me than your achievements. You may be thinking that of course this is true. But remind your child of it. In the absence of hearing this from you, your children might think that one of the reasons you love them is because of what they do, not because of who they are.
10 words: No matter what, I’m glad that I am your parent. To be loved wholly and completely for exactly who we are, flaws and all, is the greatest gift one person can give another. Please give that gift to your child.

Anne Josephson is President and CEO of the Josephson Academy. Anne holds a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and a M.S. Ed. in Educational Psychology from USC, where her focus was on how children and adolescents learn best.

This was first published by Scuttlebutt Sailing News. www.sailingscuttlebutt.com

USCG Approves Official Electronic Charts
The U.S. Coast Guard has published guidance that allows mariners to use electronic charts and publications instead of paper charts, maps and publications.

The Coast Guard published Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, NVIC 01-16, on February 5 to provide uniform guidance on what is now considered equivalent to chart and publication carriage requirements.

Combining the suite of electronic charts from the U.S. hydrographic authorities and the Electronic Charting System standards published this past summer by the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, the Coast Guard believes official electronic charts provide mariners with a substitute for the traditional official paper charts.

This technology will also allow mariners to take advantage of information and data to enhance situational awareness during voyage planning and while underway.

“After consultation with our Navigation Safety Advisory Committee, the Coast Guard will allow mariners to use official electronic charts instead of paper charts, if they choose to do so. With real-time voyage planning and monitoring information at their fingertips, mariners will no longer have the burden of maintaining a full portfolio of paper charts,” said Capt. Scott J. Smith, the chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Navigation Systems.

The new guidance applies to vessels subject to U.S. chart, or map, and publication carriage requirements codified in Titles 33 and 46 CFR and provides a voluntary alternative means to comply with those requirements.

“Mariners have been requesting the recognition of this capability for some time,” said Smith. “When you combine the new expanded Automatic Identification System carriage requirement and the capability that an ECS provides, it should provide a platform to move American waterways into the 21st century.”

“Together, with our industry and international partners, we are leveraging modern technology to contribute to the safety, security and prosperity of our nation,” said Smith.  Read more HERE

Now, and a BIG NOW – are local authorities as forward-thinking as the USCG? Will they ever see the light and grant us similar dispensation?

Hugo Boss – Lost and Found
On 23 November 2006, when approximately 1000 nautical miles from South Africa, Alex Thompson abandoned his boat due to keel failure while competing in the Velux 5 Oceans Race.

Just recently, during a kayaking expedition on the Patagonian coast, her hull was discovered which meant that she had drifted around the bottom of South America and up the West Coast of South America where she was found in the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park in Chile.

That’s quite some passage pushed by wind, waves and current alone.

Volvo Ocean Race Halves Cost to Compete
At a time when rival major global sports events are struggling to contain spiralling costs, a report by independent auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has praised the 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race for halving the price of competing for sponsors.

Much of the credit for this has been ascribed by report author Manuel Díaz to the shared-maintenance facility – The Boatyard – which was among the changes introduced.

“A campaign now costs around 50 per cent less to run – in the last editions, the cost was between €20-35 million rather than €10-15 million for campaigns at the same level,” the report, Assessment of the Maintenance Operating Model, says.

The Boatyard has broken new ground in the offshore racing industry, pooling both human and equipment resources for the servicing of a newly-introduced class of boat. The Farr-designed Volvo Ocean 65 one-design broke with 40 years of tradition in an event, which was launched in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.

The report, which was commissioned by the race after the finish of the 12th edition in June last year, highlighted: “The list of benefits is no longer hypothetical: the model has already been implemented, showing an excellent performance and outstanding results.”

The report, in particular, praises:
• Significant cost reduction in contracts with suppliers, spare parts stock, transportation, labour and support staff and infrastructure
• A reduction of breakages and the consequent corrective maintenance
• Improved predictive maintenance, fixing potential weaknesses before they result in breakdowns

It added: “One of the main benefits of The Boatyard is that it has become easier to attract both participants and sponsors – the entry barrier is lower but is not only a matter of cost.

“As all the teams have the exact same platform, the risk of having a much slower boat is lower. On the other hand, safety has been at the heart of the one-design process, with the boats designed to last at least two editions of the toughest race on earth.”

Díaz recommends that The Boatyard could be even more effective with a stepped-up level of performance monitoring through a list of key indicators such as average time for repair, man power utilisation and efficiency and inventory turnover.

Nick Bice, who manages The Boatyard, was delighted the project had won the positive comments from the PwC report.

“What pleases me is that it’s recognised now that our standards are in line with the very highest in the automotive and aeronautical industries,” he said.

“A key statistic that has been highlighted is that 90 per cent-plus of our servicing was proactive, in other words fixing potential problems before they led to breakdowns. Only around 10 per cent of that work was reactive.

“Our ambition is now simple: we are aiming to get to a stage where there is no excuse for breakages in the next race other than those caused by human error.

“We don’t want future stories to be about why a boat has broken down, we want the stories to be about the people sailing onboard.”

Second to None
The Volvo Ocean Race has announced that North Sails will be the exclusive sail supplier for the 2017-18 edition. Equipping teams with the industry’s most reliable high performance products is paramount to the success of the Volvo Ocean Race, its sailors, sponsors, and fans across the globe.

North Sails has been deeply involved in the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race since the mid-1980s. Collaboration between North Sails and Volvo Ocean Race programmes has lead to breakthrough technology, most recently North Sails 3Di, which was born in response to skipper requests for reliable shape holding, durability, and of course lightweight, performance sails.

The extreme conditions of the Volvo Ocean Race demand sails that can withstand upwards of 45,000 nautical miles and four equator crossings.

“The 3Di sails from North have been excellent. We just compared a picture of our mainsail from just before the start with one of today after 35,000nm usage. Bit more draft aft. Give it a new paint job and I bet if you would ask somebody he/she would say this is a brand new main,” said Bouwe Bekking, Skipper of 2014-15 second place finisher Team Brunel. “Same for the other sails, you can see they have been used, but still in good shape. This mileage would be a lifetime for the average cruiser. I know what I would buy.”

The 3Di product’s unique construction process allows for repairs that do not compromise the structural integrity of the sail. With a tightly designed inventory, both durability and ease of repair are key.

Solar Sailcloth – Thinking Outside the Box
French sailmaker Alain Janet is the founder of Solar Cloth System which has been busy developing a practical system for generating electrical power from thin photovoltaic films laminated onto modern sail fabrics.

In the past sailors have taken the ecological high ground over other boaters, yet modern sailing requires far more electrical power than it used to. With new onboard technologies and their growing demands for power, it’s clear that sailors now experience regular energy shortages while cruising and/or racing, even over relatively short distances. And of course the problem grows exponentially when you are racing across oceans and around the world.

Sea and sun go hand in hand, so solar power has long seemed to offer an answer to this problem. However, rigid solar panels are heavy, bulky and require a lot of ingenuity to install discretely; but what about producing electricity with our sails?

Sails offer the largest available surfaces on a sailboat which makes them the most logical place to collect solar power. But if this has not been done before, then there must have been good reason.

Indeed, it is only very recently that usable thin photovoltaic films have surfaced from the R&D laboratories as a viable commercial product. Even at the start of 2016 the number of suppliers of thin solar film can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Also, none of the latest cutting-edge products were originally intended to be used on a sail or by a sailmaker. In fact, when I first contacted the heads of these companies my ideas were generally treated with a large pinch of salt. See more HERE

The above was first published in Seahorse Magazine.

A Cruiser’s Historical Recollections of South Africa
Recently I received an e-mail from the friend of a cruiser who had written a book about his world cruise 50 years previously. The book is regrettably only written in French, with no English translation available. It is free HERE

Despite that, the author has shared some fond memories of South Africa when he sailed ‘Beligou, his wooden boat with a crew of three. He said they were amongst the first to make a round the world voyage in a small sailing boat. They stopped in various South Africa harbours – with the following verbatim from the translator:

Durban, Point Yacht Club.
The yacht club brought us from Point of quarantine, to its pontoon of honour. All facilities were available to us, members invited us, we walked and we shared drinks. They were also enthusiastic and eager to hear first-hand our adventures, as in the first pass of a gentle-yachtsman who was perhaps Captain Slocum.

Cape Town, Royal Yacht Club
On 1968 February 17, at 16h30, we crossed the Cape of Good Hope, 18 in the morning; we were moored at the dock of the Royal Yacht Club in Cape Town. Our friends from the ‘Atea’ were waiting.

If you had not come so far, we would have call search and rescue!

Many thanks! Heaven protect us from our friends, the sea, we are in charge!

Obviously, the yacht club was as welcoming us as that of Durban. The South Africans were crazy in terms of reception, they did not know what to invent to show us a fleeting friendship perhaps especially if they do not give signs of life then, but in any case always selfless and joyful.

Pat and Barry Cullen were the first South Africans to have completed their world tour on the ‘Sandefjord’. We had friendly relations; they invited us to the screening of their film that was a hit on the screens of the city.

They later spent some weeks in South Africa in different harbours.

In the book there are references to Beryl Smeeton, (the book ‘Once is Enough’), Pat and Barry Cullen (on board Sandefjord) and other famous sailors who have written some interesting and amusing comments.

It’s nice to know that our country, its yachties and clubs still hold such fond memories 50 years later.

The Scourge of Social Media!
I received the following from a Club official, and quite frankly I agree totally with the author’s frustrations. In fact in one of the very first issues of “Talking Sailing” I covered this exact subject as it exasperated me so much – even then.

This is what was said:
There have been numerous uproars in recent weeks over inappropriate use of social media, and the most shameful part is how on occasions non-malicious comments can be taken out of context, and as a consequence wreak considerable damage. I personally rely heavily on e-mail as my preferred medium for communication, but have in recent months come to grips with Whatsapp, although I have not ventured further into other media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest etc.

Another massive source of information that is readily available to us is the various weather sites such as Windguru, Magic Seaweed and others. I have found Windguru to be correct far more often than it is wrong, but there are occasional flaws.

There were a few posts on the various class Whatsapp groups last week which it would appear, could have contributed to some sailors deciding to not even come down to the Club on Saturday. Windguru had predicted a lightish North-Easter in the morning, and which would continue to build during the afternoon, averaging 17 to 18 knots, and gusting to 25. The posts were about the ’25 knots’ – certainly if there is a wind averaging 25 knots and greater, I will prefer to not launch for fear of damaging my boat, but there are a few points that we need to remember:

1. Winguru predicts the wind strength at sea – in the harbour for every North Easter we have high rise buildings along the entire beach front, and these do offer a level of shelter for our sailing waters. It is therefore a safe bet to knock a few knots off the forecast strength, before judging the bay conditions for Club racing.

2. As per the forecast, the “25 knots” were for the gusts only – and that is what we experienced – perhaps 4 or 5 gusts during the afternoon that reached that speed. The rest of the time the wind was completely manageable, and I would estimate the average to have been 15 to 18 knots. It was definitely not a case of “survival conditions”.

3. The forecasts are sometimes wrong – and there are days when the weather is better than expected, and sometimes it is worse. The very best place to judge the “sailability” for the day, is our Club.

My request therefore when posting information on the various Whatsapp groups etc, is that care is taken to not write anything which might disincentivise someone else from sailing on the day. There is a lot of very constructive, helpful, kind, and challenging commentary on these groups, and that has proven hugely successful in getting folk back onto the water. Certainly nothing negative or malicious has been posted, nor intended, but we do need to remain mindful of the potential consequences of our comments. Once you press the “send” button, it is too late to take it back!

Guaranteed Sea Sickness!!
Well that’s what my old mate and sea dog Denny Moffat said when he sent me the link to this video.

This is better than a roller-coaster. This video is of commercial fishing boats returning from fishing off the coast of Washington and Oregon. They are crossing the Columbia Bar, which is the site where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean .

This is designated as one of the most dangerous ports of entry anywhere in the world. There are at least eight to 10 deaths per year with people trying to get in or out in boats that are not made for this kind of severe beating – the kind you will see these boats going through.

These boats are self-righting, have a super low centre of gravity, sealed engine compartments, basically bullet proof glass windows, double steel hulls. Well, you get the idea.

They are commercial shrimp and fishing boats. The Coast Guard has closed it to any other boats due to waves of 35 to 45 feet. It is quite a sight to see. Watch the You-tube video and determine if you would like to have been a crew member on either of these two vessels. See more HERE

And we thought that Durban Harbour in the old days was bad when a gale-force North Easter brought in massive rolling seas!

Sailboat Lightning Strike Caught On Camera
Lightning strikes are something all boat owners have to be aware of, and prepare their boats for. We often hear about them, but rarely get to see one captured for public consumption.

The yacht depicted was moored off of Kassandra in Northern Greece, and was first shared by G-Captain, so follow the link HERE

Port Owen River Race
This annual event continues to grow in popularity every year as sailing on a beautiful river is simply very special.

This year a video was produced, so check it out HERE

Politics Interfere with Sailing
The appalling state of affairs where politics prevented an Israeli team from competing in the Youth Worlds early this year, has brought back memories, and was sent to me by Len Davies who had received it from Michael Vulliamy.

Following a recent business visit to the Largs area of Scotland, Michael Vulliamy said:

“I was in Scotland this week and met up with the last remaining family member we stayed with in Largs in 1975 when I attended the Youth Worlds. His father was the sea captain mentioned (in the press cutting which was attached to this mail). He still had this cutting”

We only heard about the British Government (a Labour Government I must add) pulling the plug a few months before we were to leave! Luckily for us the RYA held their nerve and put 2 fingers up to the government and said they’d do the event without their help! (It was probably a political game as the RYA are stuffed with Conservatives and don’t enjoy being dictated to by Labour).

Incidentally the Israelis were at Largs and had a very good 420 team.

The RYA campaigned hard in Largs to find families to house the competitors! We only found all this out when we arrived! As it had all been quite high profile local news in Largs, a sleepy holiday town about the size of Fish Hoek, we the South African team were in the news and everyone wanted us to stay with them. We ended up staying with an Oil Tanker Master, Archie Hogarth, and his family. Archie as it happened was working for Safmarine at the time.

As you will recall in 1975 the Apartheid and sport thing was happening all over the world and as a result we became local celebrities as the press and TV were only interested in getting interviews with us and had no interest in the actual regatta and the sailors who were doing well. People from all over the region turned up to shake our hands and we received all sorts of gifts and lots of invites. We were a bit like Eddie the Eagle was to Ski Jumping and the Jamaican bobsleigh team rolled into one!

Geoff Myburgh tried to keep us away from interviews and the press and on one occasion rushed in and stood in front camera’s telling the press they had to interview him instead.

On another occasion we were drifting around on the water waiting for wind! A press boat came up to us and invited us onboard to do an interview! Geoff was on the other side of the course on a coach boat. Within a few minutes we noticed the coach boat heading our way at full speed with Geoff waving his arms at us.

It was a wonderful experience for us – I think we finished 6th and as usual had to compete in light winds and strange choppy water with tide and current, something we had never come across on the Vlei!!! It was also the first time we had sailed a 420.

I remained in contact with the Hogarth family, but sadly only the young son, Allan Hogarth – 10 at the time – is still with us. I met with him for the first time 41 years later this week! He still had some relics and clippings from Largs 1975!

Interestingly the following year in Toronto the Rhodesian team was refused entry into Canada and turned away at the airport! 1976 was an Olympic year so that added tension I guess, but luckily we were ok.

Len Davies added: “How interesting that Mike speaks of the Rhodesian team being turned away from Canada in 1976 – it was the same year as the South African Optimist Team was turned away from Turkey”.

Cape Horn Discovered 400 Years Ago
This abridged extract By Niek Boot may be of interest to those who have rounded Cape Horn, or who dream of doing so.

On January 29 2016, it was exactly 400 years ago that a Dutch merchant ship, the Eendracht, sailed by Cape Horn, the southern-most point of South America.

When Fernando Magallanes discovered and sailed the Strait of Magellan in 1520 it was still assumed that Tierra del Fuego, the southern bank of the Strait, was part of Terra Australis, the unknown continent. Maps of the era show no passage south of the Strait of Magellan.

Some 80 years later, in 1602, the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company (the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC) and granted it a monopoly to trade with the “Spice Islands” east of Cape of Good Hope and west of the Strait of Magellan.

One of the founders and the first president of the VOC was Isaac Le Maire. He soon fell out with the board and was expelled in 1605 with the prohibition never to trade in VOC territory. For a number of years he complied, but then the temptation became too great and he got permission to establish an “Australische Compagnie” or “South Company” and to launch an expedition to investigate the possibility of trade with the unknown Southern Continent.

His intention, from the start, was to find a new way to the East Indies, bypassing the exclusive routes of the VOC.

He purchased two vessels, the Eendracht (about 40m (130 feet) long with a crew of 65) and the Hoorn (about 30m (98 feet) long with a crew of 22) and had them fitted out by Captain Willem Schouten.

Le Maire appointed his son Jacob as leader of the expedition. They sailed from the city of Hoorn, which was an important investor in the adventure, in June 1615. After calling at Cape Verde and Sierra Leone in Africa to replenish stores, water in particular, they arrived at what is today Puerto Deseado in the South of Argentina early December.

It is a protected inlet with a tidal range of over five metres, ideal to ground the vessels and clean their hulls of molluscs and other growth. The cleaning was done by scratching the hulls with burning grass and scrubs. During this work the Hoorn caught fire, and when the flames reached the gunpowder room, the vessel exploded and was irretrievably lost. All of the crew survived and they then spent some weeks recovering what could be saved to put it on board Eendracht.

On January 13, 1616, they set sail on the next leg of the trip. They continued south past the latitude of the Strait of Magellan. Here the coast of Tierra del Fuego forced them to sail eastbound in bad and cold weather. Captain Schouten was tempted to abandon the search and set sail for Cape of Good Hope, unconvinced of the existence of a passage to the east and less secure without the assistance of his support vessel Hoorn.

Jacob Le Maire insisted, and they continued. On January 24, they found an opening and against current, waves and wind they managed to sail through. To the west was Tierra del Fuego, to the east there was land which they called Staten Land, not knowing it was an island. Today it is called Staten Island, just like the island at the entrance of the Hudson River in New York, both named in honour of the General Staten of Holland, the Dutch government at the time.

They called the passage “Strait Lemaire.” Continuing south, they sailed by various islands, some of which still today carry the names they were given then. On the afternoon of January 29, 1616, they came by a cape which they realized was the southernmost of all and called it Kaap Hoorn in honour of the city they had sailed from.  Read more HERE

The above extract was reproduced from The Maritime Executive.

Missing Catamaran. Bouquets and Brickbats
The missing catamaran which went missing very early last year with three local sailors aboard may have been sighted 42 nautical miles off Agulhas on 23 January.

This mystery has fascinated sailors and landlubbers alike, but thanks to the NSRI the vessel was located and a satellite tracking beacon was attached to the upturned hull. Regrettably the NSRI was unable to positively identify the hull.

This exercise was outside the normal operation of the NSRI, but it bought some relief to the families of the three missing sailors.

It’s a really good organisation is the NSRI, with good solid people both on the water and ashore in admin and back-up roles.

Not so good was the Naval Vessel which sighted the floating hull prior to the NSRI attaching a beacon. With tons of resources and personnel aboard, one would have expected them to at least attempt to identify the upturned hull – and even attach a tracking beacon.

Why they did not is a mystery and an appalling lack of sensitivity for those in peril on the sea, especially from a Naval vessel. Shame on you!

Marine Inspirations Indeed!
There are a number of old salts locally who know of Phil Wade and others who have had the opportunity of sailing with or against him.

He is one of the ‘inspirations’ behind Marine Inspirations, an organisation based in Palma, Mallorca, whose aim is to introduce less advantaged young people to careers in the superyacht industry. Their area covers the world and includes South Africa too.

His recent ‘Big Bottle of Wine Party’ was a cork-stopping success as it raised €10 550.

Over 130 guests gathered at the Club de Mar – Mallorca, Spain, to enjoy an evening of delicious finger-food, fine wine generously supplied by Can Feliu Estate vineyard, and live music.

“I’m absolutely staggered by the success of this year’s Big Bottle of Wine Party,” said event founder, Phil Wade. “We have almost doubled the number of guests compared to last year, and have more than doubled the amount of money we raised.”

Over 48 litres of wine in bottles containing 18 litres (a Melchior), 15 litres (a Nebuchadnezzar) and 12 litres (a Balthazar) served from a custom-built wooden gun carriage made by Phil were consumed in the first two hours of the party alone.

“If the amount of wine drunk is the barometer of how much fun we had, I think it’s fair to say that people had a huge amount of fun,” Phil added.  See more HERE

Historical Dates of Interest in February
5 February 1982. Ben Lexcen of Australia files a patent application in the Netherlands for the design of the so-called wing keel, which would be instrumental 18 months later in Australia’s challenge for the America’s Cup.

9 February 1765. The British Board of Longitude awarded a £10 000 prize to John Harrison, whose chronometer made possible the determination of longitude at sea.

Many years later Joshua Slocum said: The greatest science was in reckoning the longitude. My tin clock and only timepiece had by this time lost its minute hand, but after I boiled her she told the hours, and that was near enough on the long stretch.

20 February 1797. Horatio Nelson, Royal Navy, was awarded a knighthood and promoted to Rear Admiral of the Blue.

How True! This Simply Needs to Be Said!
It is not that I believe that there are too many idiots in this world, just that lightning isn’t distributed right.  Mark Twain

I Like This!
Life doesn’t have hands but it can sure give you a slap sometimes.

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
●  My feelings exactly regarding Safety Harnesses. Armchair sailors make the worst of bureaucrats and create problems for those who actually participate.

● Yes I did adopt one of your new year resolutions – New year. New boat.

I bought a RIB to take to Katse Dam so when the wind dropped or the mast broke 35km from where we set off, I could get a tow home – alas I believed the salesman who said you turn the switch and it starts every time…the FD did more towing than the duck!!

The FD went like a bomb. But you do need a permit to launch boats on the dam and boats and skippers must comply with the regs which have been copied from RSA.

● Another good read. Congratulations to Oceana Power Boat Club for stepping up to stage the 470 African Championships. I was a member of OPBC way back in the early 1970s. I had built my first design, a 4.5m plywood cat and wanted to sail on Table Bay. There were a few of us with cats who seemed to be homeless, with ZVYC discouraging cats at the time. Somehow we were invited by OPBC Commodore Tony Fraquet to form a catamaran division of OPBC and the membership went out of their way to welcome us. We participated fully in club activities, including pouring concrete at spring low tides to extend the slipway because the powerboaters were having problems launching at times. OPBC staged various cat races for us, including Granger Bay to Clifton and other distance events and assisting with the Table Bay leg of the WP Catamaran Champs that were held at that time, with venues rotating between the various beach cat clubs.

Tony Fraquet also arranged for us to have a very enjoyable race day on Rietvlei, which had become a really nice piece of water after the dredging for landfill that was piped to the new container dock in Cape Town Docks. All access, boating and otherwise, was banned from Rietvlei by the owners, SAR&H, and it was OPBC that campaigned to open what has now become a very popular boating venue. And us catamaran sailors of OPBC were the first people to sail on that piece of water. Dudley Dix

A Lasting Gift – A Subscription to SAILING Magazine
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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.

Sailor of the Month
February    Phillippa Hutton-Squire

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

Check Also

“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 50

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