“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Lifetime Memories

Sprog 352 is ‘Spasm’ as so fondly remembered by Fay Jones.

By Richard Crockett

One of the most satisfying aspects of our sport is not necessarily the on-water aspects, but the people we meet, the friendship built, relationships forged and the wonderful memories that never seem to leave us.

Yesterday Fay Jones posted the following in response to my first Sprog Revival post: “I Learned how to sail at UCTYC in 1969. I was 18, with my boyfriend Dave Jones, now my husband of 60 years. He owned Sprog, ‘Spasm’ 352. Because he was able to put himself through Varsity with bursaries and loans his Mum bought ‘Spasm’ for him, a rather second hand Sprog. We sailed her earning UCT half colours until Dave was persuaded, having started work as a teacher, to build 2 Andies with friend Peter Gruner. We sailed in Fishermans oilskin jackets, thick jerseys which we dunked ourselves in for extra weight, and sailed through the winter at UCTYC in often horrible conditions. Those were the days. I carried on crewing for Dave between having babies until I was 70 .But I remember my Sprog days. Happy days.

What wonderful memories of Sprog days, and a poignant reminder of why the Class is worth reviving, and sailing as a sport is worth promoting.

As a tribute to Fay I have used the only pic I have so far of Spasm as the image for today.

To keep the historical aspects going and to take Sprogites back to the very roots of the Class, I am sharing an Editorial Comment from Herbert McWilliam written in the March 1956 Sprog Log.

Much of what is written is still relevant in the sport today, especially the part regarding sportsmanship. McWilliam wrote as follows:

“Nevertheless, this attitude can be carried too far. Yacht racing is one of the few sports where there is no umpire or referee. It is up to individuals to make certain that the rules of the game are followed. It isn’t really very sporting, therefore, to “hand off” a few boats at the start, or to allow other infringements to occur without protest, with the consoling excuse that one is being “big-hearted”. When two boats collide both cannot be in the right. There was far too much “give and take” at Zeekoe Vlei, and while this reduced the hours spent “on the job” by the protest committees, it didn’t make a very good impression as far as the onlookers were concerned. Some of the traffic-jams on the starting line were far too conspicuous to be ignored, by anyone, and most of them could be seen coming a mile off”.

Sailing is a great sport – let’s keep it that way and encourage “bums on boats”.

READ THE SPROG LOG EXTRACT HERE:  Pages from 1956 03 – Sprog Log – 002133 – OCR

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