by Richard Crockett
The Cape to Rio race has always fascinated me, even as a schoolboy dreaming about the day I received the opportunity to do that South Atlantic crossing. Sadly I have not yet done that passage, although I do count myself lucky to have done the Cape to Uruguay Race in 1979.
Lucky? Yes lucky as that was a 4500 nautical mile compared to the 3500nm of the Rio Race! Plus we were Pioneers being the first race from Cape Town to Punte del Este.
I digressed, so back to the 1971 Cape to Rio Race when the opening paragraph of a Durban newspaper cutting said this:
“Eight weekends to go. Eight short weekends in which to make final preparations for the stormy passage to the Cape, and then the 3 500-mile crossing of the South Atlantic.”
READ THE REPORT HERE: 1970 10 27 – Pfotenhauer – stitched final_Redacted
Remind any yachtie of the short time to finish preparations and you are likely to be short-changed or worse still by being threatened with a fate worse than death! Preparing a yacht for a lengthy ocean crossing is time-consuming and always takes longer than expected, resulting in short fuses and ill temper!
But that article showed that skippers and crew had their heads down and were tackling the tasks at hand with some vigour.
I also liked the short piece entitled “Old sea-dog lends his chronometer” – which is a sidebar to this editorial.
Following on from that was another newspaper cutting from the same day (27 October 1970) – the organisers announced that a crack American cutter was being sailed singlehanded to Cape Town for the race. At 62-foot she was going to be one of the biggest yachts in the race.
Named ‘Angantyr’, a quick google search shows the name possibly comes from three male characters in Norse mythology!
And the bonus is that I have an original pic of her in my archives – so enjoy this too.
READ THE REPORT HERE: 1970 10 27- Pfotenhauer – 441_Redacted
What is “From My Archives” About?
After many years, in fact decades, of collecting material on our sport and wanting to sort and organise the information into an archive that was more user-friendly, I started with many boxes of newspaper cuttings I had. This entailed digitising and scanning every single one, and saving them in a chronological date order – a daunting task as there are in excess of 20 000 cuttings.
While doing this I decided to share my material in the form of “On this Day. A Newspaper History of Sailing”. That was at the very end of September 2019, and it ran daily with several newspaper cuttings per day for an entire year.
In between archiving the newspaper cuttings I was also delving deeper into my photo and magazine archives which span a period of some 60 years from about 1957 to 2017. These too are being digitised.
So much that is interesting has caught my eye, I have decided that now is the time to start sharing this information too.
I have only just begun scratching the surface of my archives, but the joy I get from them every time I do some digging makes me determined to preserve the history of our sport and share it as far and wide as possible. It’s become a personal crusade – maybe even an obsession.
My Plea – Please Share Your Sailing History
If you are interested in preserving the rich history of sailing in RSA, my plea to you is to please assist me by sharing your personal archives, photos, press cuttings and whatever with me, committee records and more so that I can scan them and share them widely. My promise is that I will treat them with the utmost care, and get them back to you safely. So far Don Pfotenhauer; Richard Bertie; Dudley Dix; Dave Elcock; Frans Loots, Len Davies and others have shared their scrap books and files with me.
There are big gaps in my archives, so should you have material that you are willing to share please make contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s chat.
What is Possible
As each newspaper cutting and article is text-searchable, I am able to create presentation packs personally tailored to a person’s exact requirements – ie. Rothman’s Week, the NCS Regatta, the Rio Race, Mauritius Race, Vasco da Gama Race and more – or simply by the name of an individual (like Ant Steward and his open boat exploits) – for those who want a record of his/her sailing career for the family archives.
I have already created a stand-alone 4000+ page PDF document of Voortrekker – from idle chatter, to concept, to the formation of what ultimately became the South African Ocean Racing Trust (SAORT), to the fruition of the 1968 OSTAR Race in which Bruce Dalling and ‘Voortrekker’ excelled – and even beyond that.
The possibilities are endless – and exciting.
Sharing From These Archives
Should you wish to copy, forward or share material from here, PLEASE acknowledge the source as: Sourced From the SAILING Mag Archives & Historical Records (www.sailing.co.za)