History of the class in South Africa

Barcelona 1983

SA Team 1983. From left to right: Nicky Hooyberg, Greg Hall, Nico Van Wieringen, Stephen Loxton, Hans Thijsse, Graham Bryant.

I joined OCRA in 1983, and was appointed coach. We did not get visa for Brazil where the Worlds were and I took the initiative to organise an ‘alternative’ tour for the team, (Nico van Wieringen, Stephen Loxton, Greg Hall, Graham Bryant, Nicky Hooyberg). OCRA was happy with this, but could not give financial support, so in the end the team members’ parents paid, supported by their provincial Oppie associations (Transvaal for Nicky Hooyberg, Western Province for Nico van Wieringen, Stephen Loxton, Greg Hall and Graham Bryant).

It was the year of the first European Championship and in the end (after hundreds of Rands of ‘phone calls – a lot of money then and no email!) they agreed to let us sail, but not include us in the official results but in the results of the ‘open fleet’ which consisted of the 5 of us plus five extra Spaniards (the championship was in Barcelona). But we sailed with everyone else and they provided ‘unofficial finish lists’ so we could see how we did. Nico won a race and finished ‘unofficial’ fifth overall so we were quite chuffed.

Report & photographs by Hans Thijsse