“Talking Sailing” From My Archives. The Sprog Revival


by Richard Crockett

I was recently rather delighted to hear news of a big push to revive the Sprog Class which was once a powerhouse of two-person dinghy sailing in this country.

What did disturb me was that there were some negative comments in this regard as some feel that it’s simply not a worthwhile exercise, and others discouraged money being spent on old boats.

The fact of the matter is that with the parlous state of dinghy sailing in South Africa, every effort to put “bums on boats” should be applauded and encouraged – irrespective.

In my archives I found the following snippet, possibly written by myself although I am unsure of this, which said:
“The Sprog. A wholly designed, built and popular South African sailing dinghy, the Sprog is a class through which many of South Africa’s top sailors have passed. Urban legend says that if one has not won the Sprog National Championship title, you are not one of the greats of our sport!

“This has been a well-loved two-person dinghy that has stood the test of time and fully deserves “legendary” status in the sport of sailing in South Africa.

“The Sprog dinghy must be preserved at all costs as it has been the springboard into our sport for so many due to its speed, agility and the top-flight competition it provided.”

Whether I wrote that or not, I fully stand behind that statement, and pledge my full support to this worthy cause. As a result I will publish Sprog Class material for the next several days to give a glimpse of the history of this great boat.

In digging through my yet-to-be-digitised Sprog files yesterday I stumbled upon a DVD with a delightful 7-minute video of ‘Stroppy’ being launched and sailed on the Zwartkops River. Where it came from I have no idea – and if I can find a way to share it I will, but it is a very large file.

So to start with, today I will rehash the “Where it All Began” story of the Sprog as written by Mc Williams, her designer, in the 3rd Sprog Log newsletter. I will also today share the images I have of ‘Stroppy’, and in the days to come more very old Sprog photos.

Talking of Sprog Logs, I have a fair number of these digitised, although there are many missing from my collection. John Wright tells me that he took his collection to a regatta at Midmar several years ago where they went missing. If anyone has original copies of Sprog Logs, please let me have them to digitise and add to my archives. They will be looked after and returned. To have a full-house collection of these will be priceless.

Let’s be positive about the Sprog revival.

READ “HOW IT ALL BEGAN” HERE:  2020 10 16 – sprog – HOW IT ALL BEGAN

This is a hand-coloured black & white photo of Stroppy in a breeze on the Zwartkops River.

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