“Talking Sailing by Richard Crockett – issue 06

My apologies for the large break since the last “Talking Sailing”, but ill-health took its toll!

The America’s Cup is over, and after saturation coverage in the last two issues of “talking Sailing” there is a short wrap-up to put the event to bed.

The “Lost in Translation” piece last time resulted in some great responses.

And most importantly the SAS Appeals Committee has given their verdict on 2 appeals regarding the J22 Nationals. So read on…

J22 Jiggery Pokery
The Real Winners Re-Instated
In the second issue of “Talking Sailing” I covered the debacle which occurred during the J22 Nationals when a bunch of competitors were disqualified from 6 races as the event drew to a close.

I don’t believe that any good will come from regurgitating that, so here are the results of the 2 appeals filed after the event:

Appeal by Paul Thompson sail # 774 against DSQ from first six races
 Summary of the Facts
    The J22 Technical Committee submitted a protest that there was a class rule infringement by #774. According to information provided a hearing was held which established that the anchor cable was not tied to the anchor chain as required in the class rules. However the self scrutiny form did not make this requirement. The protest form signed by Austin Daly, the chairman of the protest committee and submitted in the appeal, finds facts and states that the protest is upheld. No rule is stated and no penalty is given.

    Comment by the Appeal Committee
    Rule 60.2 refers. The J22 Technical Committee is not entitled to protest. This function is the prerogative of the Race Committee, unless they have delegated their authority in respect of measurement protests. The NOR and the SIs make no mention of such delegation or amendment of Rule 60.2. The protest is therefore invalid. The proper procedure is for the Technical Committee to report in writing to the RC which is then obliged to protest.

    The appeal is upheld. J22 #774 is to be reinstated in the results of the six races from which she was disqualified.

   Appeal by Kevin Campbell of Hay-J against DSQ from first six races
Summary of the Facts
    Paul Thompson of Alfa Romeo #774 protested multiple boats on a protest form that thirteen boats had not complied with the class rules in that their class decals were not fixed in the required position. A further two boats were protested for not being in possession of Measurement Certificates. The regatta started on Saturday, August 31 and the protest form is dated Tuesday, September 3. The Appeal Committee have not received a protest form recording facts or imposing a penalty. The Chairman of the protest committee states “Hay-J was invited to defend the protest but chose not to and as the protest was uncontested the protest committee was not obliged to follow normal formalities.” It would appear from the lodging of an appeal that the thirteen boats protested by Paul Thompson were disqualified from the first six races.

    Comment by the Appeal Committee
    Boat on boat protests regarding measurement issues must comply with Rule 61.1 which states that a boat intending to protest must inform the other boat at the first reasonable opportunity. In this case that would be before the expiry of protest time for race 1 of the series. The protest is therefore out of time and invalid.
    We are shocked and mystified that the thirteen boats were disqualified from six races without evidence being led in a hearing.

    The appeal is upheld. All thirteen boats are to be reinstated in the results of the six races from which they were disqualified.

What the above means is that there is a completely new set of results for this event, and that Luke Wagner of the Point Yacht Club sailing for the Riverview Manor High Performance team which is the initiative of Vernon Goss, a major benefactor of youth sailing in KZN is the overall winner!

It also means that the overall winners were the winners on the water – just where sailing should take place.

I would like to believe that a very suitable occasion will be used to present the trophies to the correct winners?

Two sentences from the appeal caught my attention:

The J22 Technical Committee is not entitled to protest.


We are shocked and mystified that the thirteen boats were disqualified from six races without evidence being led in a hearing.

I suppose in typical sit-com parlance the response here is a simple – HELLO – WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!!

What disturbed me most about this whole sordid affair was that people in the class said what had happened was good for the class and the sport!

Well that’s a load of absolute hogwash if ever there was. There is no way that incompetence can be perceived as being good for anything! The damage this has done to the class may be salvageable, but only if the class acts swiftly to turn this disaster around.

Discover Sailing
Our sport needs new blood as the average age of the sailing fraternity is getting older, not younger. That’s not just my perception, but that of many people. Whenever I discuss the state of sailing in this country, people always raise that as a negative – and a HUGE negative it is too as so many people find it very difficult to get into our sport.

I used to have my son and daughter bring their school mates as crew on my boat, so I always had crew. When they began leaving school or deciding they wanted to sail on different boats, I had a void to fill as I did not want to discourage their adventurous spirits. Instead of lamenting about the lack of crew which is a poor excuse, I had to be creative to find crew.

I simply contacted all my mates who had given up sailing and enticed them back. No, not every weekend, but on an as-and-when-you-can basis. I have a fairly big list of possible crew, and when I mail them early in the week advising them of an event, I always get enough positive responses to sail.

Oh, and be innovative to make it interesting for the crew to want to come sailing. As we are all old farts all well over 50 and some in their 60s, there are just 2 simple rules. The youngest is the bowman and the oldest is the barman! And hey, I have a great crew and we have many great laughs and stories to tell over lunch and few drinks after racing. Which reminds me too that the ‘random lunch generator’ picks a crewman to bring lunch for the entire crew when we sail. And the ‘random lunch generator’ remembers things about the crew’s past performances when deliberating!

I digress, but there are loads of people out there wanting to sail. They simply don’t know how to get into the sport which is why the press relase I received from a club overseas recently makes so much sense, and is so simle to stage:

 On Sunday 27th October, 2013 Southport Yacht Club will hold a Discover Sailing Day, a free “Come and Try Sailing” Day for the public from 9am to 12 midday.

    Under close supervision, both children and adults will have the opportunity to go for a short sail in the sheltered waters of the Broadwater at our Club’s Hollywell Sail Training Facility, 1 Marina Crescent, Hollywell.  Breakfast and Coffees will also be available from our Waterfront Café.

    Please find attached a flyer advertising the event.

    If you require any further information on our Discover Sailing Day, or would like for me to mail you some flyers to distribution, please contact the Hollywell Sailing office on 5537 7030.

    We hope many members of the public are able to join us on Sunday 27th October, for a bit of fun on the water!

I bet these guys get a wonderful turnout? Why don’t you try something similar?

Promotion of Sailing
The Finn Class worldwide, and not just in this country, consists of very dedicated people who are passionate about the sailing and their class, even when well out of their prime.

The local Finn fleet consists of guys who were in their Finn sailing prime some 30, 40 or more years ago, yet these guys still sail in the class and encourage youth to compete and assist those interested in joining the class easily. They are enhusiastic, will share knowledge and experience with anyone, and simply have a passion for Finn sailing which is why so many compete in the Finn Masters events internationally whenever possible. Names like Greg Davis; Philip Baum; Andreas Bohnsack; Ali Seritslev; Dave Kitchen; Dudley Isaac and Ken Reynolds slip quickly off the tounge as dedicated Finn sailors who assist and promote the class whenever possible.

At the recent nationals in Mossel Bay, Alan Tucker, several times a national champion in both the Finn and Flying Dutchmen classes, donated his new Pata Finn to be used in the interests of promoting South African Finn sailing. Allistair Keytel is the first beneficiary.

Now isn’t that a fine act of generosity and sportsmanship?

Incidently Tucker owned Rampant II which he sailed in the 1982 Rio Race as 3CR12. Remember her?

With acts of generosity and support like this the Finn Class continues to survive in this country. These old Finn salts are an inspiration and example to all sailors.

Clipper Race
I have never really been a great fan of the Clipper Race as I am in two minds about its value to our sport as I am not sure that charging people exorbitant amounts of money to race around the world in what are ostensibly slow boats, does much for our sport.

Before you all shoot me, let me say this. The boats are solid and seaworthy, which they need to be to take novices around the world. All crew get wonderful hands-on training, as well as experiences and memories that will live with them for the rest of their lives.

My concern is that having completed this adventure is how many come back to the sport?

This year’s race which is currently on its way to Cape Town from Brazil, has a strong South African flavour to it through the Sapinda Rainbow project and Invest Africa who have sponsored the boat and have naming rights.

The Sapinda Rainbow Project in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund selected 30 young South Africans between the ages of 18 and 23 to go through a tough 3-day selection process to find just eight to participate in the Clipper Race. Those selected then went to the UK for intensive training prior to the race start in London on 1 September.

The eight selected candidates will all compete in one leg each of the race.

Invest Africa is a fast-growing networking organisation that builds high quality business relationships within growing African networks. They aim to create a community of investors with a shared vision for a brighter African future. Invest Africa hope to use their global visibility in the Clipper Race to continue to expand their networks and promote investment in African business opportunities.

With the commercials over, it’s time to concentrate on the sailors – those people at the coal face competing in their first ever ocean race.

A 19-year-old who had never seen a boat before completed the 5,000-mile first leg from St Katharine Dock to Brest in France and then Rio, a passage which took three weeks and went through the doldrums and across the equator.

Nomcebo Siyaya, a 19 year-old from Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal was the first of eight young South Africans to take his place on this classic race. “Before taking part in the race I had never seen a boat before and knew nothing about sailing” she said in Rio at the end of the leg.

“I’ve been on the yacht for a month with very nice people and I learned a lot from my journey even though it wasn’t easy. I have found the trip very challenging, particularly the weather – firstly the windy, bumpy Bay of Biscay and the lack of wind and extreme heat of the Doldrums, speaking only in English, being away from home for a long period of time, learning how to make cakes and bread at sea, and sailing skills that I have built on.

“It’s the biggest thing I have ever done, I am very pleased to have done it even though I was so homesick. Sailing a boat is not an easy thing to do, it has a lot of challenges and you have to find a way to overcome them and keep a positive attitude. The rest of the crew have been very supportive and I have made many new friends.”

On leg two from Rio to Cape Town is Nokulunga Nkwanya from Hluhluwe in KZN. I am sure she will provide insight on how tough ocean racing is when she gets to Cape Town.

What has impressed me about the Sapinda Rainbow sponsorship is the fact that they did not abandon the balance of the 30 candidates who did not make it onto the crew. All these candidates will be flown to Cape Town for the Cape stopover and will get a chance to experience the boats and mix with the Clipper Crew. Now that’s how a good sponsorship should be managed.

Interestingly I was at the function in Durban when the 8 candidates were announced. It was an amazing evening as the vibe and enthusiasm from the 30 candidates was infectious. But most of all, those who did not make it were fully behind the chosen eight. That was something very special to witness first hand as these are youths who will, one way or another, make their mark in this country whatever they do.

The Clipper Cape Town stopover is from 26 October to Monday 4 November, so make a plan to get there – even if you don’t live in the Cape area.

The 2013 America’s Cup in Numbers
The 2013 America’s Cup was a revolution in the sport. The legacy of the America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay is bringing the racing to the fans and then delivering fantastic 50mph boats, enthralling racing, ground-breaking television graphics and the sports’ comeback story of the century.

“This regatta has changed sailing forever. More people watched the first race of this America’s Cup than all of the America’s Cups in history, so I think it’s a success,” said Larry Ellison, whose vision of high-speed, wing sail catamarans racing in the tight confines of San Francisco Bay was realized this month.

The contest for the oldest trophy in international sport was completely modernized with innovation and technology.

Investment in television graphics and production meant new fans could instantly recognize and understand what was happening on the water. The AC Liveline technology behind the graphics won an Emmy Award and changed the way the sport is viewed on television.

“I think about this regatta and what it means to sailing,” said Ellison. “I think it was absolutely spectacular. If a bunch of kids are inspired to go sail, I’m a happy guy.”

Here are the numbers behind the event:

• 203 countries broadcast the America’s Cup on television
• America’s Cup broadcast in news bulletins globally 15,000 times
• Over 320,000 downloads of the America’s Cup app
• Over 1 million visitors to the official public sites in San Francisco at America’s Cup Park and America’s Cup Village. Hundreds of thousands more viewed the racing from the city front
• Nearly 10,000 hospitality guests
• Over 5 million unique visitors to AmericasCup.com in September and over 45-million page views during the Summer of Racing (July 1 to September 26)
• 24.8 million views of videos on YouTube
• Over 100 million minutes of videos viewed in the past month
• 575 accredited media, from 32 countries
• A 19 show America’s Cup Concert Series
• Over 25% of the population of New Zealand watched the racing broadcast live during the America’s Cup Finals

What some media pundits said:
New York Times
The Cup is the oldest major trophy in sport… Pushed into a postmodern place

Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts got it right. The staid old America’s Cup can be an adrenalin rush

USA Today
America’s Cup: Do you believe in miracles?

The epic battle over the past few days has been a major vindication of the vision of how to modernize the competition

The Times (London)
What has made this year’s America’s Cup truly breathtaking is the television coverage

A comeback for the ages

Jay Leno, The Tonight Show
The greatest comeback in sports history

Huffington Post
Amazing television? Check? Crowds on the waterfront? Check. Exciting racing? Check and double check.

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
* The translation from Google solicited some very interesting responses, suffice to say it is very clear that a fok sail is Dutch for jib.

* I might on occasion be called a Flying Dutchman, but re your translations.
A jib is a Fokzeil in Dutch. And from Wikipedia: “Een fok is een van de zeilen van een zeilschip. De fok is op moderne, langsgetuigde schepen het zeil dat vóór de mast gehesen wordt”.

So nothing strange that your Afrikaans version of a jib comes up with a fokseil on google. Wait for it, I have the surname to go with it.

Bart Fokkens
Vice – Commodore Youth
Island Sailing Club.

Well done on having the ‘balls’ to poke fun at yourself Bart. ED.

* I had to smile when I learn about the “fok seil”. Maybe the Dutch can help us with this one? I have learned from one of our colleagues about “ fok “ when it comes to sailing. Bear in mind that at that stage she knew nothing about sailing. She ended up Netherlands as an au pair and on her very first sailing excursion she heard something similar to “maak reg ons gaan omfok“. The Afrikaans meaning would be that they are going to fall over (just in a very dramatic way!). But according to her it was the instruction to “get ready to tack“. So am not sure whether the Dutch refer to the jib as a “fok seil“.

And I am not sure if the jib can be describe as a “tack sail“?

Bear in mind that “fok“ literally means to change direction.

Please bear in mind that I am not a language expert. I reflect on what I have heard and read in the past.

* Love the story about USS Constitution (Old Ironsides). Carol wants’ to know when she got back to Boston in 1799 did she pass her safety inspection?

* Talking sailing is a huge positive for Sailing in SA. Thank you for taking the initiative.
Team Oracles comeback was phenomenal. Reminded me of Dave Hudson’s great comeback in 1991. The Flying Dutchman Olympic trials in Durban. Cannot remember the exact number of races Dave had to win, and he did it. Ant Steward
ED. Hudson had lost the first 5 races and had to win the last 4 to qualify. This he did and represented SA at the Olympics.

* Thank you for a very clear and unbiased (in my opinion) report on AC34, from both you and Roy Dunster. I have expressed very similar opinions in the past few weeks. I found myself the odd one out in discussions on email, Linkedin and Facebook, with people all over the world ganging up against OTUSA without good reason other than they wanted to see the Kiwis win. The stories became quite wild, with people believing the most ridiculous stories.

The wildest story that I was that an Indian guy sat in the OTUSA base with a laptop and controlled the wing remotely. That any sailor would believe that the crew of such a radical boat would give up control of their very high-tech power source to someone from a basically non-sailing country, sitting off the boat without tactile feedback, is beyond my comprehension, it defies logic. Dudley Dix

The Bitter End
I make no apologies for having to castigate sailing officials for the second “Talking Sailing” in a row, but the people who made such serious blunders in the J22 class really need to take stock of their value to that class.

In a similar vein, SAS in the Northern Region recently advertised a Race Management course. They battled to fill the spots and were almost begging people to attend. Why? Especially as Race Management is not a strong point in this country at the moment!

The ‘Bitter End’ is the inboard end of an anchor chain or rode which should be attached to the vessel so as not to be lost overboard in it’s entirety. In terms of “Talking Sailing” it’s things about our sport which get up peoples noses!

“Talking Sailing” is written by Richard Crockett, the Publisher & Editor of SAILING Magazine, South Africa’s monthly sailing mag.

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“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 50

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