“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. Reader Comments and Observations


by Richard Crockett

Last week I posted several pics of keelboats from back in the day and received some good feedback from followers of this Blog, so feel that it’s now time to consolidate all those and share the info even further.

My sincere thanks to all who responded. There seem to have several budding historians out there with a good knowledge of our past sailing history.

“Agbwe’. Frans Loots says that ‘Agbwe’ was a steel yacht, one of two or three sisterships built in the Transvaal back in the ’70’s. LOA was about 48ft. Agbwe featured in a series of articles in SA Yachting at the time of the owner’s family cruising the Indian Ocean Islands. Surname was something like McIntosh??.

Well Frans is correct in much of what he says. SA Yachting magazine (February 1973) say that she was one of three sisterships built simultaneously and side-by-side in Johannesburg. The name of the owner appeared to be something of a mystery, although the report on her launching and first passages was written by Alison McIntyre.

‘Andante’. David Staniforth says that she was owned by Gert and Anita van Dyk at FBYC in the Seventies. I Did my first Simon’s Town to Gordon’s Bay Race on her – Cecil Knipe was the skipper. They built a Corrida from hull and deck in their garden in Bergvliet in the early Eighties.

She competed in the 1976 Rio Race, being 81st over the line and 60th on handicap.


‘Fiesta’. David Staniforth feels that she looks like a Dogger. There are two that are still on the FBYC marina, but which have different names.

‘Fiesta’. Frans Loots says that Fiesta was built and owned by the late Rod van der Weele from Port Elizabeth. Rod built her below his home over a period of about 4 years. It was a Sampson design with a ferro cement hull, but wooden cabin structure. LOA was 34 ft I seem to recall. The boat sported a short centerboard which retracted into her keel. The centreboard would be lowered for windward sailing. Every December Rod would sail the boat down to Cape Town, sail the Agulhas Race and then sail home to PE again. ‘Fiesta’ was often referred to as what standard a ferro cement yacht should be built to. Like Rod’s subsequent yacht ‘Wings’, the boat was always immaculately maintained.


‘Flicka’. (ED. Correct spelling may be Flica). David Staniforth is quite right saying that she was an entrant in the 1971 Cape to Rio Race. Her skipper to Rio was Ted Kuttel. She is a Rhodes designed sloop. She finished the 1971 Rio Race 31st across the line and 16th overall on handicap.

La Mer

‘La Mer’. Frans Loots says that ‘La Mer’ was a Rummer Class yawl, designed by Holman and Pye. Built in timber, she was based at RCYC. There was another one called ‘Spindrift’ based in Port Elizabeth.

‘La Mer’. Les Fella recalled sailing on her in the late 1960s or 1970s. The boat belonged to Derek Bond-Smith and was a 38-40 foot GRP sloop. It was moored at Royal Cape Yacht Club. The boat participated in an easter weekend race, leaving RCYC on the Thursday evening. They then did a few round the buoy races in Saldanha Bay, with the prize-giving taking place at the Hoedjies Bay Hotel on the Saturday evening. Derek and his partner were on board and the boat was skippered by CPO Willie Berg, Naval Sailing Association. Les was the other crew member. He seems to recall that Derek later took the boat to the Med.

‘La Mer’ competed in the 1971 Rio Race finishing 51st over the line and 35th on handicap.


‘Mischief’. Frans Loots response: ‘Mischief’ could probably be Bill Tillman’s pilot cutter in which he sailed south to go and get close to the mountains he would then summit. He called at Cape Town on his way south.


‘Spindrift’. David Staniforth says that she was a Table Bay 25-footer owned by John Martin(Snr ?) at FBYC. Sons John and Ian went on to be Springbok yachtsmen. It was my first sail on a gaff cutter.


‘Sekyd’. Kevin Holmes says that she looks very like the same design as Hiscock’s ‘Wanderer’, – and I would say Solace is Clarke’s ketch that he wrote about in The Saga of Solace. A very interesting account of being stranded on the reef at Palmyra (I think) and patching her up with coconut palm planks.
All fascinating, – keep em coming Richard

Silver Streak

‘Silver Streak’. Billy Leisegang started his racing sailing life on ‘Silver Streak’ as cabin boy. Had to be the first on board to clean bilges and get things ready. Then the crew arrived and bent the sails on – too heavy for the cabin boy. Finally Mr Dixon, the owner, arrived in jacket, tie and sailing cap. We raced really fast and then headed back to the swing mooring where the process was repeated the other way round. When I arrived back at the jetty on ‘Dolphyn’ – the ferry, Mr Dixon left the “men only” bar to greet me with sixpence ( or perhaps 5 cents) to buy a massive donut and coke at the galley. He recalls that both ‘Viking’ and ‘Silver Streak’ were sailed to (he thinks) Greece.


‘Wanderer’. Kevin Holmes responded with doubts as to whether this really is Wanderer as he feels the cabin top taken out to the sides looks like a Maurice Griffiths design.

Can anyone else shed some light on this? I only had the inscription on the back of the pic to go from, and it was clearly marked ‘Wanderer’, maybe misidentified way back then?

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