“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Corsair’s 1962 Race to Port Elizabeth


by Richard Crockett

Following on from yesterday when I shared some general information on the 1962 Agulhas Race to Port Elizabeth and how the owner of the RCOD ‘Sewin’ praised her skipper Ted Kuttel for the performance of their little yacht.

The ultimate winner of that race was the motor-sailer ‘Corsair’ skippered by Stan Jeffrey. His ketch was an unlikely winner being a heavy ketch-rigged motor-sailer, yet she was driven hard and was far more robust and able to be driven hard in the tough conditions, unlike some of the others.

Interestingly, due to a mishap in a gybe in gale force winds, they took the main down and ran all night with the mizzen and no. 2 genoa – at a steady 8 knots.

Also competing, and considered by many to be almost unbeatable, was ‘Zeeslang’ skippered by Cliff Leih. She was 3rd overall.

This extract from her report after the race gives an idea as to the conditions: “With spinnaker flying and the wind increasing, ‘Zeeslang’ was frequently surfing and it was becoming apparent that if the wind held the record time for the trip would be broken. However, the wind continued to increase and more sail was taken off until we were running under staysail only. Although the wind had only reached a maximum of 35 gusting 40, the seas off St. Francis were very short and steep and we felt it foolhardy to continue driving the boat under these conditions. All sail was therefore taken off and for a few hours we towed a bight of 1 ½” circumference manila.”

That was a tough race.

Tomorrow I will share the reports from ‘Titch’ and ‘Viking’.

READ ‘CORSAIR’S REPORT HERE:  1962 – Corsair race to Port Elizabeth


The crew of the winning 53-ft ketch Corsair at Port Elizabeth after they had won the biennial ocean race from Simonstown which started on Boxing Day.
Back row L-R. Mike Orpen, Patricia Jeffrey, her father Col. S H Jeffry (owner-skipper), Richard Orpen, Mike Hellawell & Rudolf Baumgarten.
Front L-R. Bill Perry, Gordon Burn Wood (sailing master) and Bruce Sparks.

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