“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 10

Christmas Wishes
As 2013 comes to an end I would like to thank those who supported SAILING Mag during the past year, and for the unbelievably positive response to this column. I look forward to growing the sport and business of sailing in 2014, and disseminating interesting and pertinent sailing info to readers. I trust that you will have a great festive season and that 2014 will see all your dreams turn to reality.

May your festive season be blessed with
The warmth of family,
The love of friends,
The hope of peace,
And a bright year to come.

The next issue of this column will be in the new year.

All I Want for Christmas…
J22 Jiggery Pokery – still unresolved??
All I want for Christmas …  is resolution of the J22 Class Nationals Results.

The sorry saga of the J22 Nationals appears to still be unresolved. I have requested final results and have not even had the courtesy of an acknowledgement from the Class. It’s a sad state of affairs as this matter is still the talk of sailors around the country who find the matter exceptionally distasteful.

To make matters worse the Class sent out a communique on 8 December, but never mentioned the Nationals!

What intrigues me is that as per the Appeals Committee ruling that a protest be re-opened, the findings of that were released on 20 November, and were as follows (reproduced exactly as supplied!):

Re-Opened Protest J22 Nationals
    Rob Samways against Jesica Lenz and Others

    Facts Found
1. Race committee accepted entries from six boats that did not have valid measurement certificates.
2. A number of contestants requested measurements prior to the regatta.
3. Technical committee – hampered some by weather conditions, were over stretched and failed to measure all boats prior to the first race.
4. At skippers briefing it was stated (verbally) that measurements would continue throughout the regatta, this statement was in contravention of the NOR and class rules.
5. Six boats sailed without valid measurement certificates.

Competitors were unable to become compliant and therefore: Jambalaya 38; Majic 41; Supa Sails 47; Mabuhay 15; Bamboozle 54; DJ 11 all sailed in contravention of NOR 3.2, Class rule 2.9.6 and RRS rule 78.2.


In defence of the class, they may have a reason for delaying the finalisation of the results, as the written SAS Appeals Committee decision of the first two appeals were unsigned and undated – therefore casting some doubt as to the validity of those decisions. As correct protest procedure is scrutinised by many protest panels, so too should SAS documentation be correct – especially from the Appeals Committee! SAS does appear to be dragging its heels on sending the correct signed and dated documents.

Despite this the Class should not have kept silent, but rather kept people informed as it would have avoided the mails I continue to receive on this subject. Some of the more mild ones are as follows:

• I cannot believe the matter could possibly be on-going as it is destroying the fabric of the Class and dragging with it the reputations of some highly respected sailors. There is no other word for this debacle – PATHETIC!

• Very pathetic and sad indeed!!

• Sorry that the people/officials involved with the J22 saga couldn’t just accept the decision and apologise for messing up what could have been a great regatta. I had heard that another appeal had been lodged, although I do believe that this is not the case, and if anyone was thinking about it, the time limit has expired. Can the Class resolve this before Christmas?

To those who administer the class, PLEASE can there be finality on this before Christmas?

SAILING Gybeset Website
The Sailing Gybeset website has been revamped and updated so check it out at: www.sailing.co.za/gybeset

“Talking Sailing” now has a permanent home on that site where all previous issues are posted.

Sailing Forum
“Sailing as we know it is officially over”
That’s a serious statement to make, but read on and all will become clear.

After the last “Talking Sailing” I entered into e-mail discussion with a Vaal Dam sailor who is concerned about the state of our sport, and how difficult it is for people to get into. He suggested that a ‘Discover Sailing’ day should be held the day before the Round the Island Race. How’s that for an off the wall comment?

It got me thinking particularly as at the time I had received two sets of info from different continents about sailing initiatives, and that we in good old RSA tend to lament too much about the state of our sport without doing too much that’s constructive.

The information I received was from the World Yacht Racing Forum and another about a US Sailing Leadership Forum. These two events and the comment about a ‘Discover Sailing’ day had the old creative juices flowing as to whether there is room for such an initiative locally?

There is, of that I am convinced, especially as we have so many different organisations from around the world whom we could tap into for direction and advice, and from whom we can learn without having to re-invent the wheel yet again.

The US Sailing Leadership Forum says it’s about “Fresh perspectives and new ideas on how to improve and grow our sport.”

What the US Sailing Leadership Forum is all about? One of the biggest challenges the sport of sailing faces is connecting sailors to each other. We have learned that there is a good deal of common issues and shared goals with all types of sailors.

This groundbreaking event will connect leaders from all aspects of our sport for the first time to share ideas and best practices on how to navigate through the issues and challenges facing our sport in the 21st Century.

The forum will combine programming from US Sailing’s National Sailing Program Symposium, One-Design Symposium and Yacht Club Summit into one event!

The Leadership Forum will consist of three fun and captivating days of keynote speakers, presentations, seminars, panel discussions, and break-out sessions that will provide attendees with a fresh perspective and new ideas on how to strengthen and grow our sport.

Presentations will focus on a number of relevant topics, including Developing Programs, Marketing & Communications, Administration & Management, Regattas & Racing, Growing the Sport, and Rules & Officials.

The forum will equip the attendees with new concepts, programs to implement, solutions to their challenges, confirmation of their current plans, and a lot of new friends and resources to tap into.

Who will benefit from the forum? All one-design and offshore sailors, Instructors, coaches, race officers, program directors, class/fleet leaders, yacht club management, organization leaders, industry professionals, and volunteers will find key takeaways from this pioneering event.

Believe me, when you read the full release on this event, it is comprehensive – and a serious attempt to address issues we all know exist in the sport.

The likes of Gary Jobson and Ken Read will participate in this forum.
Jobson is a former US Sailing President, and a National Sailing Hall of Fame inductee. Jobson has championed a number of sailing industry education and networking events, including the first-ever Yacht Club Summit in 2011, which brought together leaders from sailing organizations around the country for a unique opportunity to learn from industry leaders. In many ways, the momentum built from the Yacht Club Summit inspired the creation of the Sailing Leadership Forum that will connect sailors from all areas of our sport.

As an elite active sailor today, Read came up through the ranks like so many others. Read will share new ideas from the knowledge he has gained throughout his diverse sailing career, both on and off the water, and bring a fresh perspective on innovative ways to grow the sport. Read will encourage Sailing Leadership Forum attendees on how to break the mould with an energized approach that will set the stage for this signature US Sailing event.

The sixth edition of World Yacht Racing Forum and Design & Technology Symposium in early December brought together over 200 delegates and more than 50 speakers in Gothenburg for two days of sessions and speeches.

“Sailing as we know it is officially over,” commented keynote speaker and North Sails Group President Ken Read. Whether people like it or not, the sport is moving fast, in terms of technology, but also promotion, communication tools, territories visited, classes…

”Just look at how much sailing has evolved this year and compare it with soccer,” observed Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. “It’s simply amazing, although I think the sport should have evolved even faster. Sailing has been much too slow at adapting some of the new technologies available.”

Keynote speaker Ken Read, President, North Sails Group, concluded his presentation with a strong statement: “The economic crisis is definitely over, and I haven’t seen as much enthusiasm for the sport of sailing for a long time!”

This is all stirring stuff, yet unless we engage across the broad spectrum of industry players, administrators, Clubs and individuals interested in taking sailing forward, our sport will continue to lag, lose focus and with it impetus. There are too many people who feel that initiatives like this are a waste of time, but if just one bit of good comes from it, the sport will be better off.

I would love to be at the US Sailing Leadership Forum as I am sure a raft of good will come from it.

We have some very bright boys in our sport who could sharply focus us all on the issues we face and how to overcome them. Is this something worth pursuing, and do we have a champion out there to make it happen?

Dinghy Sailing
I was very surprised and disappointed at how little feedback there has been on the dinghy sailing issue raised in the last “Talking Sailing”.

Dudley Dix commented at length. Dudley is a yacht designer who has become an international expert in kit boats, especially for keelers. But he has also designed some dinghies, one being the Paper Jet which he refers to below in his views on the subject:

Thanks for another excellent issue of Talking Sailing. I would like to comment on two related issues, the Dabchick and exciting boats for SA.

    I grew up in Dabbies when they were single-handed boats. I was part of a large group of young Zeekoevlei sailors who each had their own Dabbie and we spent most of our free waking hours in school holidays single-handing them around the vlei or in groups doing silly things as only boys can do. We learned the joys of “simply messing around in boats” with our Dabbies. I am eternally grateful to Jack Koper for this great design, which is the grounding for my life in boats and my career as a boat designer, working mostly in plywood boats.

    On the issue of affordable exciting boats for SA, you may remember our sessions in committees of CASA and SAS when we argued the issue of how to keep juniors interested in sailing, trying to halt the declining memberships at dinghy clubs. I talked of wanting to design a boat that could fill that purpose. It didn’t happen until after I left SA but those thoughts eventually morphed into the Paper Jet design. I sail one myself, when I can find the time to get on the water.

    Although I designed it as a two-hander for juniors, I sail mine single-handed. It is an exciting boat to sail and it attracts attention wherever I take it. Even the jetski guys come over to talk about it. You might see this as a commercial plug for my design but I intend it only to say that there is a boat design available that can help to regenerate the interest of sailors from juniors through to much older people who want exciting sailing at moderate cost. It is home-built from plans or a kit and it uses many traditional hand-made details to replace bright, shiny and costly stainless steel hardware, all in the interests of keeping costs down.
More info at http://dixdesign.com/paperjet.htm

In on-going discussion I had on e-mail with Dudley, he said the following:

You are right there, Richard. The freedoms that we had as kids are no longer there. Parents would be declared irresponsible to give their kids those physical freedoms to allow them to sail unaccompanied all over a lake like Zeekoe Vlei as we did as pre-teens. I think that bureaucracy and the out-of-control lawyers here in USA might be a big part of the problem, with the rest of the world following suit.

    It is not only affecting juniors though, it carries through into regulations applied to all levels of racing as well. ORC regulations grow progressively more onerous. To read the current OSR requirements one would think that offshore and ocean racing 50 years ago must have been a very dangerous activity, claiming many lives. But it didn’t claim more lives then than it does now because people sail (or should sail) according to the equipment that they have. Adding more very expensive compulsory equipment adds greatly to the cost of sailing and allows crews to be more lax with their onboard safety because the equipment will save them (hopefully) if they are careless. I am all for sailing safely, but I am also a proponent for people taking responsibility for themselves in whatever activity they choose to participate. There is way too much “big brother” in our lives and that applies to sailing as much as anything else.

Reader feedback on this important subject is still welcome.

The Paper Jet
from Dudley Dix
I designed the Paper Jet to be a versatile dinghy that allows a family to build their own boat using basic woodworking skills and end up with a boat that can vary in skill, performance and excitement levels to fill most of their needs. It can go from a basic una-rigged dinghy suitable for one or two youngsters through a sloop rig to a powered-up skiff with fat-head main and asymmetrical spinnaker on retractable bowsprit. This versatility is achieved by means of two mast positions and a modular rig that can be quickly modified by switching components for the three different configurations.

The “build-it-yourself” aspect was to reduce capital investment costs. The South African sailing fraternity thrived on home-built boats and that mind-set has been lost in recent decades, with everyone wanting to buy factory-built boats then complaining about the cost. I detailed this design to be simple to build, but with the capacity for builders to create stunning woodwork if they want to. The result is a very eye-catching boat that looks exciting even on its trailer.

Some of the design is rooted in my Dabchick sailing days as a child, when having fun almost always also involved getting wet. I wanted the sailor/s to be close to the water and to see the water rushing past at close quarters. The wings are intentionally low and horizontal to keep the crew low and to be very comfortable for hiking out. They have foil-shaped leading edges to generate lift, allowing them to be driven through waves without tripping the boat. They also add power by pushing the crew further outboard and the leeward wing becomes additional planing surface at high speed. The wings also prevent the boat from blowing away from swimming crew in the event of a capsize.

The deck layout and sail controls are pretty basic, for a reason. It is primarily a training boat for one or two teenagers. Basic sail controls are easy to learn, complicated setups cause confusion. The jib is not self-tacking, so that the crew has a line to trim and is not just along for the ride. This simplicity allows the owner-builder to make many components and also reduces the cost of getting onto the water.

Although intended for two teenagers, it is also a great single-hander for experienced sailors. In my 60s, I sail my own Paper Jet single-handed on trapeze with fathead main, jib and asymmetrical spinnaker. My PJ has proven capable of giving me casual relaxed sailing, testing me to and beyond my limits and everything in between. I have ghosted her over the shallows of North Carolina Sounds and I have blasted along at more than 20 knots.

Check it out at: http://www.dixdesign.com/paperjet.htm

MSC Youth Nationals
This event started last weekend and will run until Friday. I was on the water on Monday for the first few races taking some pics and enjoying the scene.

There are 153 boats competing, so there are good numbers and some strength in the sport at this level, and loads of enthusiastic parents without whom we would not have the kids sailing. But the enthusiasm and spirit of the competitors was wonderful to see.

Personally I was disappointed to see just three 29ers on the water. This is one of those classes that many kids aspire to sail as it’s a modern, fast and sexy-looking boat with a high international pedigree. Why so few?

Another disappointment was a parent castigating his son who had not sailed terribly well. He was threatened with a hiding and removal from the event if he did not buck up. That’s not how to encourage our kids and keep them in the sport.

Talking about parents, after my comments in the last “Talking Sailing” about parents at the Youth Nationals, I received the following: “I just wanted to say “hear hear!!” to your comments about Youth Sailor’s Parents (optiparents). With the shortage of Race Officers in the sport I am aware of at least two competent Race Officers who decline invitations to officiate for youth events because of the behaviour of Parents!”

That’s not good although I do believe that the disruptive ones are in the minority although it is often the minority who cause the trouble. Here’s to all the parents with a positive and accommodating attitude who promote our sport and assist in growing it.

I enjoyed seeing Rob Holden our National Training man interact with a bunch of novices. He has a quiet and assured manner about him, and a wonderful way with kids. Well done Rob and keep on with the wonderful work you are doing for our sport.

Results and pics have been posted on SAILING Gybeset: www.sailing.co.za/gybeset

Sandefjord Celebrates Her Centenary
The ‘old salts’ amongst our readers will undoubtedly remember Sandefjord.

She was found in an unworthy state in Durban in the 1960s and fully restored by the Cullen brothers – Patrick and Barry. She was then 53 years old, and the brothers, with some crew, circumnavigated the globe.

Barry Cullen recently attended the Risør Wooden Boat Festival in Norway where, he says “our dearly loved Sandefjord, ship-shape and beautifully preserved, was centre stage for her 100-year birthday!”

Her owners sailed her 400 miles south from Bergen for the occasion, as she was built in Risør – so it was fitting she was back there for her centenary.

Barry Cullen and some of the original Sandefjord crew attended the celebrations as he had been in e-mail correspondence with the current owners for some time.

“We honoured our old ship. We met the new owners of Sandefjord, Lena and Ingvald, who were wonderful. And we enjoyed our reunion. There were eight in the party: three from the original circumnavigation, three from Patrick’s later voyage from Cape Town to New York (where he sailed with his wife Ruth and two small boys after the first Cape to Rio Race in 1971) and finally our two lovely Irish women, Gillian and Grainné, who provided invaluable crew-house support so cheerfully.”

“For me, it was a wonderful experience, a milestone event. Wouldn’t have missed it for anything! Patrick I’m sure, was with us in spirit throughout” said Barry.

Sandefjord DVD. The Cullen brothers made a full-on movie of the circumnavigation in the ‘60s. Entitled “Sandefjord – Her Voyage Around the World’. This was later made into a Video and then a DVD. SAILING Mag has been given permission by Barry Cullen to copy a ‘master DVD’ they have provided us, for distribution to anyone who would like a copy. The price, a handsome donation to the NSRI. Information from: sailing@iafrica.com

Scouts & Dabchicks
Alan Ford of Scouts South Africa put me right on the fact that I referred to them as Boy Scouts.

Scouts South Africa caters for both sexes, boys and girls, young men and young ladies, and the more mature age groups as well. The term Boy Scouts has long since been buried in the history books, both in South Africa and across the world.

Regarding the two up vs single handed issue you raise, I can only agree that there is place for sailing Dabbies with two little pikkies on board. Certainly in the Sea Scouting movement up here in Gauteng we encourage it, and when it comes to racing at our Sea Scout regattas we do not discriminate between single handed or two up boats.

If I cast my mind back to the mid sixties when I sailed a Dabbie with a sail number of 270, two up and single handed boats raced happily together, but for obvious reasons the senior single handers were always going to be more competitive. Dabchicks still form a strong component of Sea Scout sail training, and throughout the country I am willing to bet all active Sea Scout troops will gladly accept second hand boats in good condition and any old sails and spars and rigging.

Sailing Superstitions
I had some great responses to ‘red heads’ as mentioned in the last issue, so here’s another superstition.

Never say ‘good luck’ or allow someone to say good luck to you unanswered.
If someone says “good luck” to you, it is most assuredly a bad omen and sure to bring about bad luck. The only way this can be countered is by drawing blood! A swift punch on the nose is usually sufficient to reverse this curse.

Interesting, but not the route I recommend!

Some Selected Responses to “Talking Sailing”
● I remember in Dabchick sailing (‘70s) Alec Lanham-Love’s father forbid Alex to sail with green underpants or anything green for that matter!

● Thank you for a very informative read. Your Discover Sailing section has got me rivetted and has started a number of conversation’s around a beer in the cockpit. I’ve taken a number of people sailing with me and every time they are amazed at how much they’ve enjoyed it then they ask when I am going sailing again. Bobby Attwell took me sailing in a Hunter in 2001 – and I have never looked back.

The only problem I see being an avid yachtie is the careful preparation for the conversation with your wife explaining to her that it is time to upgrade. I have just upgraded and I used the ‘comfort for the family angle’ – and it worked. For some sailing isn’t a luxury, but a necessity.

● I cannot take any credit for this said Lance Burger. The first SA University regatta (as it was then called) was in 1976 at Midmar. John Dommett, who was originally from Pietermaritzburg, but studied at the University of Cape Town had a big hand at getting it going. There were three Fireballs and three Lasers in each team. A few years later three windsurfers were added to each team.

ED. My apologies. Campbell Alexander agreed that it was John Dommett and not Lance Burger.

● Butler sailed a Flying Dutchman, not FF15s.

● David Butler: From my youth in Rhodesia I recall that he represented Rhodesia in the Olympics in 1960 and/or 1964 sailing the Flying Dutchman; also that he was later killed in a car accident.

● More stunning commentary and comment! I simply love “Talking Sailing” – so informative!

● Thanks for a great newsletter. WOW!! How deep were William’s words on Facebook – quite touching!! By the way, green cars are also bad luck, Ha Ha!!

● From memory the ‘76 Rio handicap winner was Chica Tica not Guia 3. Of course Dave Cox in Cloud 9 (2nd) would be able to confirm this for you. You should suggest to SA Sailing that it is they ( as custodians of CASA etc ) who should be the official custodians of “National Sailing” stats including all dinghy championships and all the major regattas. The fact that SA Yachting/SA Sailing has most of it, is “convenient” (! To say the least), but it should not land on your shoulders.

As an “aside” I think even if particular races are labelled “Cape to Rio”; “Cape to Salvador”; “Bahia” or “Punta Del Este”; or “Uruguay” etc they should all be on the record as the “same” event – the “South Atlantic Race”. Certainly in my mind they are all the same thing, even if for speed record purposes they are not comparative.

● As always, a sterling performance. I had a quick stroll down memory lane – I cut my sailing teeth on Active, SA29 out of Simons Town as a sail training vessel in the ‘60s. She was owned by a fellow – Lionel ‘Fridgeon’. We spent a week living on her and at night stopped under anchor in Clifton after which we tied up at the Academy and went home. It was also interesting that my first – very first encounter was at the same spot where I met a fellow on a Trimaran called the AzaKazi out of Australia. I can not recall all the details, but from what I remember he was either a dentist or a bone doctor. This encounter triggered something in my Norwegian genetic background – I was hooked. As an apprentice telephone tech it took some time before I had saved enough money to go on the sail training jaunt. I am sure Lionel took pity on me and discounted my fee. Thanks for your continued efforts.

● I sailed on a yacht with the name Active when I was in high school … I wonder if this is the same yacht.

I was a sponsored member at VLC sailing Sprogs and was a member of the 4th Germiston Sea Scouts in those days. My parents are both from CT and one December holiday they gave me a 1 week crewing course on a 50-footer in Simonstown called Active. I think I still have a postcard of her. This would have been about 1975. Does this fit with the history of your ‘Active’?

● This is Emily here, greeting you from Belfast, Maine, USA. I am writing you about Dabchicks. I just want you to know there are quite a few at Club Nautico in Beira. They are ancient and have no masts, but were there when I left in March. If you are ever in Beira, you must go look at all the relics of a past racing programme, stashed away in shed #4 at Nautico! We managed to get 3 new Opties and started a little programme, but the tradition and interest (in sailing) is not there at this time. The Sailing coach in Maputo struggles with this lack of tradition as well, but he is a tremendous advocate for youth racing. I believe he had one young lady who did very well at the Africa games.

And we here in Maine join you to salute Madiba, mourn with you, and celebrate his life and work and goals and achievements. President Obama ordered our flags to half mast. Thank you for the messages in this latest sailing letter. All the Best from across the Atlantic!

The Bitter End
Parents who live vicariously through their kids.

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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Check Also

“Talking Sailing” by Richard Crockett – issue 50

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