“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. 1962 Agulhas Race to Port Elizabeth

The only photo I have of Sewin, the RCOD skippered by Ted Kuttel in the 1962 Agulhas Race to Port Elizabeth.

by Richard Crockett

Ever since I dug out some really old reports on the Agulhas Race from my archives, I have been planning to share them. So here goes!

The 1962 race, which started on Boxing Day, was to Port Elizabeth. It was into a stiff 25 – 30 knot South Easter, with a forecast gale on Agulhas.

The report entitled “A Hard Gale-Studded Race” gives a brief outline of the race which took just under three days to complete for the line honours boat.
READ IT HERE:  1962 12 – Agulhas Race – Simonstown to Port Elizabeth – 001422 – OCR-2

The report from SA Yachting magazine does not reveal much more than the above, but gives a little more detail.
READ IT HERE:  1962 12 00 – 1963 01-02 – SA Yachting – OCR 2

Racing in those days was tough as there was no looking at long-range weather forecasts and discussing a week prior to the start whether to start or not. It was simply a case of knuckling down, probably more like hunkering down, and sailing the course to beat the elements – and the opposition!

But where the really interesting information is hidden, telling just how tough the race was, is hidden in the reports written by each skipper after the race. One of these really struck a chord with me, as it generously gives credit for the performance of ‘Sewin’, an RCOD, to Teddy Kuttel – a hardened yachtie who still goes to sea today despite being in his 80s.

So as to not spoil what you read in this report, I will just tease you with the following extracts:

“By 11a.m. she was off Quoin Point and sighted ‘Zeeslang’ out to sea and astern of her. ‘Viking’ was far out to sea abeam of her and also slightly astern. The wind was freshening from the north-west. By the time they were off Agulhas the wind was up to 25 knots with a rain squall, so they kept well out, still under full main and spinnaker. Then a squall knocked her down, but they let the spinnaker sheet fly, dropped the sail and set a Genoa. The wind was now to 40 knots gusting to 45.”

“In the rain squall which came up from astern at Agulhas the halyard of the spinnaker parted after some ten minutes, but luckily they had a spare. A squall of fully 80 knots hit them while they had a full main and genoa, and ‘Sewin’ probably did 18 knots in a flat plane.”

“Teddy was able to go aloft, put a halyard on the upper spreaders, thus enabling ‘Sewin’ to set a two-reefed main.”
READ THIS FASCINATING REPORT HERE:  1962 – Agulhas Race – Sewin race to port elizabeth

Those who competed in this race in those days were tough, very tough indeed!

Tomorrow I will share reports from the other competing yachts, namely ‘Corsair II’; ‘Zeeslang’; ‘Titch’ and ‘Viking’.

Check Also

“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Downham Inter-club

By Richard Crockett When I tumbled upon the report on the Downham Inter-Club regatta for …