“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. The Miura Introduced

by Richard Crockett

An avid follower of this Blog has requested info on the Miura – a boat highly under-rated in these modern times, yet at the time she was an oustandingly seaworthy yacht which performed well around the cans as she did on coastal and ocean passages, including the 1976 Cape to Rio Race.

Plus, many a young and adventurous couple circumnavigated the globe on these 30-footers.

I remember very clearly, and fondly, that my very first ocean passage was aboard a Miura, skippered by Brian Tocknell, in the 1977 Vasco da Gama Ocean Race from Durban to East London. It was my springboard into keelboat sailing and where my passion for ocean racing was forged.

The Miura first came to light in the May 1974 issue of SA Yachting under the banner headline of “Half-Tonner at ½ Price”.

The name Miura comes from a specially tough breed of small black fighting bulls! And yes, she was tough – and bulletproof too!

The editorial continued as follows: “For the ordinary man ocean racing today has become bedevilled by high costs and rapid obsolescence, thanks to recent designing to the I O R Rule rather than the sea. Even modest little half-tonners can set you back the price of a spanking new bungalow plus suburban plot. Anyway, at least 16 sailing men in the Cape have sensibly taken the plunge and ordered bare shells for this effective small ocean cruiser designed by Oswald Berkemeyer and called the Miura Class which should enable them to get first-class competitive sailing at something like half the price of ready-to-race overseas equivalents.”

By August 1975 year it was reported that approximately 24 Miuras were being built around the country, with the total number of hulls ordered being in excess of 50. That was a very rapid expansion of the Class.

On 9 August the first Miura was launched at the Royal Cape Yacht Club – being Melville Hawtrey’s ‘Dawn’.

In December 1975 ‘Sundance Kid’, a Miura belonging to Fred Gottgens, won Rothmans Week when David Abromowitz with the crew of Sean Cheminais, Rick Nankin, JJ Provoyeur, Mike Bartholomew and owner Fred Gottgens took the honours.

The Miura ultimately fulfilled many South African’s dreams by putting them on the water.

READ THE FOLLOWING REPORTS (click on the blue link to open the reports):
May 1974 – Half-Tonner at ½ Price – miura 1974 05 – SA Yachting – OCR
August 1975 – Miura Class News – miura 1975 08 – SA Yachting – OCR
September 1975 – Miura’s Big Moment – miura 1975 09 – SA Yachting – OCR
September 1975 – First Miura Launched – miura 1975 09 – Yachtsman RSA – OCR
December 1975 – Miura Class News – miura 1975 12 – SA Yachting – OCR
January 1976 – Rothmans Week – miura 1976 01 – SA Yachting – OCR

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