On Sunday the 18th of September, 6 of the ABYC Fleet, that numbers close to one hundred boats, went out and did exactly what our club constitution says when one joins the club; “Foster sailing” and actively participate in the sport that we represent, which includes yacht racing.
The race was sailed in the format of pursuit. Synonyms say that you chase or hunt down your fellow competitors which is predetermined by a handicap system calculated on a so-called measurement system that says exactly how the multitude of different design of boats that come in all sort of shapes and sizes should perform.
Of those six yachts three were of the same design and the other three were of different designs and sizes.
The starts were between the fishing jetty and the ore berth.
The weather forecast predicted light to moderate easterlies for the morning freshening in the afternoon. The start was delayed due to shipping.
Wanderer, a Sadler 26”, was first to go chased by Skybird, a Cape 28”, 1min 42 sec. later, Then came the three Miuras, New Wave, Zula, and Sea-Esta – last but not least was the biggest bird, Malgas a L34 Lavranos.
The two smaller boats hit the choppy conditions first as they exited the harbour – not the ideal condition for any boat but even less so for those two smaller ones whom the larger ones were hunting down.
The Bell Buoy was the turning mark which could be left on either side. Everyone chose to leave it to Port.
Malgas and New-Wave were pretty close together at the mark as they rounded in first and second position, Skybird and Sea-Esta were next,and they could have exchanged handshakes so close they rounded. Our cruising friend on Zula with his farewell wishing crew and Wanderer must have also rounded within hailing distance.
The run down to the Harbour entrance gave some of the newcomers in the increasing breeze and swell a foretaste of what they can expect when one day they decide to chase the Horizons themselves.
When all was finished and done, some of the crews spent time together and shared their experiences around the braai fire, our newcomers didn’t get frostbite, but were bitten by the bug that is called sailing, and given the chance they will come for more of the adrenalin rush that sailing gives for those who seek that type of adventure.
The impression I got from the talk I had with most of the crews was, that it was nice to be part of an organized event among other competitors.
The talk about how we can get the interest back with the other ninety odd boats that wait to be taken out by their owners also came under discussion.
A lot could be said and done about that. What incentives and what reasons can we give at least to some of those ninety others to take part in racing?
In my eyes to take part in racing, the first thing that comes to mind is, you want to be competitive before you waste your time and money. What type of boat, what condition should it be in, how much it will cost me just to get that one right. Give me all the money I need to do that, I may consider?
When I look at my age – not quite cold yet, but more years on my back to make me competitive again that’s for sure – as it is with most of the crew who are most of the time not old enough and sometimes even a little older then old already.
Do I want my boat for racing only? Your guess is better than mine on that one, so please don’t ask me to take my stove my kettle all those precious books away that keep me dreaming of the bigger picture, and how can I catch a snooze after I come back from racing exhausted without cushions.
Surly you don’t want to have those type of old farts on the starting line do you?
Stupid enough he sometimes does that, just because he cannot torture himself with the reality to see most of the time racing cancelled due to a lack of interested competitors. Now here we go again “COMPETITIVE”
My friends do you want them Old Farts or don’t you want them, is my question to all who have the say, should it be a yes or a no?
Have I mentioned it before, not worth to mention it again, but I still have the freedom of expression do I?
Do the golf clubs want their veterans still among them? They may not walk the course anymore, but so do the younger ones neither anymore? Oh I come to think they are not so stupid to tire them out of competitiveness, and give those old farts a chance to beat them (laughs).
Do the motor racing clubs want the ones that once upon a time had the spectators roaring with excitement, as they burnt up the rubber with their old Anglia’s? Oh yes they are there, more than the Porsche and Ferrari’s I am told. I wonder why? Because the Porsche and Ferraris know there will be no racing at all very soon without those old farts. Does that all make sense? No it doesn’t in yachting, catch me if you can.
I don’t have to tell you how other sports accommodate the lesser species among their top brass, maybe some have to come down a little to help the lesser up a little.
As long as sailing maintains the attitude winner takes it all, and that at all cost and first is first and second is shit, nothing will change for the better at least not amongst the smaller sailing communities.
In the past I shared my ideas and I think I made reasonable suggest on how one could try to get more of those old farts going again, but so far it fell on deaf ears, and I am tired to be put down and made the laughing stock, by the so called know it all. Oh yes carry on the scientific measurement way, the more qualified suggest that is the only way, more qualified they may be, so let it be and wait and see.
The Teacher’s in most schools send the message out with their banners: “EENHEID MAAK KRAG” My plea, let’s see if we can find some unity again.
Did I now have my say? I think I did, and with that I rest my case.
The pleasure of a seaman is the sea.
Author: Joseph Schable