History of the class in South Africa

Sardinia 1994

Team RSA Sardinia 1994. Clockwise from top: Ryan Collins, Sieraj Jacobs, Gareth Blanckenberg, Malcolm Hall (Coach), Luc van der Walt, Warren Harvey.

Worlds – Porto Rotondo, Italy (with Malcolm Hall as coach). Sieraj Jacobs, Gareth Blankenberg, Ryan Collins, Luc van der Walt, Warren Harvey. This was a really memorable regatta: we arrived early and the boats were not available. The Argentinians were there as well and also had nothing to do. So the kids played soccer, swam and enjoyed themselves with the Argies and realised that these guys were not supermen (AGR had won the Worlds several ties by then). In the first race,it blew like stink but our guys had this ‘we are invincible, just like our mates, the Argies’ attitude. So we got a 1st (Ryan), a third, two 6’s and an 8. Then sailing was cancelled as it was blowing over 30 knots.

So after day 1 (at the IODA party!) we were first team and the talk of the town! Later in the week, the wind dropped and we fell back. Sieraj still won a race as well and we qualified 9th for the team racing. In the end, Gareth was in the 30’s as our best skipper. At the end of this regatta, I had a feedback session with the team and the coach and it was at that time that the plan for a new selection system was hatched. Sometime in the late 1980’s, we had changed from selecting the top 5 at the nationals to a system where the provincials and nationals were used.

With a lot of brainstorming, we agreed that the final selection should be on ‘open water’ as this was where the worlds would always be held (Switzerland being the only exception to that rule in some 40 years!). With the system up till this time, one could be selected to a sail in a World Championship out on the sea, only having sailed on Swartvlei, Midmar and Vaal Dam! A subcommittee of ex team leaders was set up to come up with a new system, which worked very well. (Report & photographs by Hans Thijsse)