“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Highs and Lows of the Game

By Richard Crockett

Oh for the glory days of the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Races!

Those were the days, especially the old Whitbread Race days as the fleets were always very diverse with a healthy mix of those hell-bent on winning combined with those just happy to survive the rigours of a tough race in a relatively safe environment with a bunch of mates.

Back in the early days of the Whitbread Race crew took guitars aboard, there was booze, and some even had dedicated chefs! But it grew into a race where to keep weight to a minimum crew could choose shoes or boots but not both, toothbrush handles were cut short to reduce weight, and crew were permitted no luxuries – especially booze. And who said ocean racing was all about beers and bikinis?

The Weekly Mail & Guardian reported on the 2001 race as follows: “The Formula One of ocean racing decamped in Cape Town this week, but so far Capetonians have responded less with a buzz than with a purr. The arrival of the ‘Illbruck’, winner of the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Southampton, generated a good crowd and the organisers did well to find a mayor to give them an official welcome but ordinary citizens have barely twigged ‘that a great international event is happening at the Waterfront”.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE:  2001 11 02 – S&A – 347 – OCR

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