History of the class in South Africa

Carentec (Brittany) 1983

From left to right: Nico Van Wieringen, Graham Bryant, Greg Hall, Nicky Hooyberg, Stephen Loxton.

It was the first time we saw (and hired!) Winner boats, at home it was still all wood! Before that regatta, we went to an International event in Carentec (Brittany). First there was no problem, but there was a Frenchman (with an African wife) who objected to our presence. He contacted the French federation (FFV) with whom I compromised that we would cover up the ‘SA’ letters in our sails. Of course, you could still clearly see the ‘SA’ from the back! The Frenchmen next to us in the boat park were so embarrassed and upset that they covered the ‘F” in their sail as well!

Tours were very different then. It was just one coach / team leader and the team. No email, no fax. We drove in a rented Mercedes (I had ordered a big station wagon, but that was not available when we arrived at the airport in Paris) with the smallest two boys on the front seat and the other three in the back. All the sails (and spars, we had brought those but they did not fit the rented boats anyway!) were strapped on a roof rack. We drove from Paris to Carantec and then to Nice and from there we flew to Barcelona. On the way we stopped for the night a few times. Once we tried to ‘phone home, you still had to book a call in those days and we could not get through so we sent postcards. One of the mothers later told me that she thought I had abducted the lot because there was no news.

Report & photographs by Hans Thijsse