“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Ocean Spirit is First Home

by Richard Crockett

From all the press cuttings in the past few days it has not been reported as to how ‘Ocean Spirit’ dramatically took the lead and ultimately line honours. Maybe that’s a mystery we will have to live with!

Obviously the crew were well not just in health and looks, but also having eaten so well throughout the race thanks to their cook. Sadly cooks aboard ship get little credit for their additional duties, yet I suppose the well fed crew do appreciate it when ashore and listening to how their mates ate so badly! I love the story of the two cooks meeting as the line honours winners of the Rio race and the race from Buenos Aires to Rio.

Again there is a conflict in the reporting as one report says ‘Albatross’ is ahead on handicap and another says the French yacht ‘Striana’ is. Remember that the race is not over until after the finish line!

And now almost 3 weeks into the race, reports of damage aboard are being reported. Some niggly bits, but one serious as the water tanks have sprung a leak.

“Ocean Spirit is First Home: Time Mystery”. The British ketch ‘Ocean Spirit cruised across the finishing line soon after noon yesterday to become the first vessel home in the 3 500-mile Cape Town-to-Rio de Janeiro yacht race.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 09 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000269 – OCR

“Ocean Spirit’s Robin Happy – and He Put on Weight”. Looking tanned and happy, skipper Robin Knox-Johnston patted his waist and said: “I have gained weight. I have never eaten so well in my life.”
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 09 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000265 – OCR

“Victory for Good Cooking”! There was a meeting of two world renowned chefs here yesterday when Clement Freud, cook on board the British yacht ‘Ocean Spirit’, and Jean Louis Masson, of the American ketch ‘Ondine’, met and embraced as the crew of ‘Ocean Spirit’, winner of the Cape-to-Rio race stepped ashore from their crossing of the South Atlantic.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 09 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000268 – OCR

“Stream of Yachts in Sight of Finish”. In the next 48 hour a close stream of yachts will follow ‘Ocean Spirit’ across the Rio finishing line and the “cockpit inquests” will start to dissect tactics as seen by the competitors.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 09 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000542 – OCR

“Albatros Leads on Handicap”. With ‘Ocean Spirit’ over the line, ‘Fortuna’ according to the position reported early this morning was second in line (141 miles from Rio) and second on handicap – eight hour behind ‘Albatros’, which still leads on handicap, although sixth in line and 492 miles from Rio.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 09 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000369 – OCR

“Shock to Hopes of Albatros”. South Africa’s hopes of an overall win in the Cape-to-Rio race slipped away today when the French ketch ‘Striana’ declared her position for the first time in four days to show that she is leading on handicap – 5hr. 50min. ahead of the Knysna sloop ‘Albatros 11′.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 09 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000367 – OCR

“Albatros Goes All-out for Handicap Win”. While the Cape-to-Rio race leaders were approaching the finishing line yesterday morning I was told by radio that the leading South African yacht, ‘Albatros II’, was “chasing squalls” about 300 mile eastward in an all-out effort to maintain her handicap lead.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 09 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000368 – OCR

“Rio Yachts Tell of Problems”. As the leading half-dozen yachts converged on Rio last night, bunched for a glorious finish, ‘S.A.S. Tafelberg’ received reports from several yachts in the body of the fleet which have problems associated with long-distance ocean racing.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 09 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000520 – OCR

“Bouquet for Rio Race Planners”. It is in the normal order of yacht racing that yachts, skippers and crews hold public interest and collect trophies and the glory while, provided it is efficient, the organization behind the race goes unnoticed.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 09 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000545 – OCR