Rear Commodore’s Annual Report

Keelers and Offshore

  • Trafalgar Pursuit Race  – won by Bellatrix out of the 18 boats that entered, 6 finished
  • Summer Series   –  2 races – 13/11/2016 & 18/12/2016  only had 5 boats taking part in each race
  • R B Townsend Memorial Race – 22/01/2017  12 boats took part – 9 finished the race  was won by Patrick Harris and Jeremy Kriek in the FF15 Ffigjam
  • Royal Squadron Series 2017 –  Commodores Cup – 19/02/2017  – 8 boats took part – only 4 finished – won by Zap in Racing Class and Mafuta in Cruising Div.
  • Royal Squadron Series 2017 – Brighton Beach Backline – 190-3/2017 – 4 boats took part – won by Zap
  • Royal Squadron Series 2017 – Umdloti Mayor’s Race  –  02/04/2017  –  8 boats took part – of which 5 retired – won by Zap
  • Royal Squadron Series 2017 –  Greyhound Race –  25/06/2017  – 6 boats took part – won by Flyer
  • Royal Squadron Series 2017 –  There & Back Race – 16/-7/2017  –  4 boats took part – Won by Flyer
  • Overall winner of the Squadron series –  Zap Racing Division – Sundance Cruising Division

Wednesday night Series

23 boats took part over the series of 12 races – and then there were also the PYC events.

 Woza Friday

18 boats took part over the series of 4 races   – won by Richard Potgieter

 Waterfront Catamaran Series

24 boats took part over the series of 5 races – won by Neil Wadsworth


FF15 Championships 16 – 18 December 2016

8 boats took part – 8 races  with Patrick Harris & Jeremy Kriek taking 1st place

Dinghies – Summer Series

04/02/2017  2  x FF15’s took part Myles White and Anthony

11/02/2017 – 9 boats ( 3  x FF15  / 6 lasers  / 1 hunter

25/02/2017  –  4 lasers  / 1 hunter  /  4 Darts



Pacer Team Racing League – I don’t have final figures for these, Suffice to say that it continues to gain momentum, and it would be great to see some of our other hot-shots compete in this series.


Wednesday Nights

Carol Ferguson is in charge of Wednesday Night Fund Regattas and we were fortunate this year in being able to sail all 12 of these events, so this could be classed as one of the real success stories. In conjunction with our Major sponsor Standard bank Wealth Management and with thanks to our Vice Commodore Keith Brodie who negotiated this, we were able to cater for an average of 25 boats per event.

Standard Bank Wealth Management sponsored not only our sailing costs but also our prizes and we thank Adele von Landsberg and her team for co-ordinating everything for us and for presenting prizes on Wednesday.  Adele, Donovan and several others from Std Bank came along on Wednesdays to try their skills at sailing and enjoy some of the festivities afterwards

On the water , each Wednesday , crewing the Townsend you would have seen Race Officer Carol, Jennifer Weyer, Vanessa Weldon, Myself, and, Stephen Barton Hobbs, as well as one or two others who enjoyed the experience of running a race.


Moses has proved a very valuable asset to our club, and with his obliging attitude, and knowledge, I can tell you has removed a great load off my shoulders in trying to source volunteers for the rescue boats.


One of the changes we introduced in conjunction with PYC was the variable handicap system which Ron Pet developed. Apart from one or two whinges, and some initial scepticism, which we’d expected we hoped that this would add to competitiveness and reintroduce the fun aspect of Wednesday nights. This seems to have been well enough received, and we hope that as this develops through the new season , we will be able to use the data we have gathered in order to develop a more accurate assessment of handicaps, which  will in turn enable us to assemble an updated DRS system which we can also utilise offshore.


CANSA Fund Raising Drive

Another success story, headed once again by Carol Ferguson and her committee,and which she carried over from the previous season, was the CANSA fund raising drive.  In the first event last year we raised R34 108, thanks to the generosity of our sailing families, friends and visitors. This was allied to our Wednesday Night Regattas campaign was very favourably  supported.

Nadia Baderoon-Ball, who represents the CANSA ASSOC in Umbilo Road.

At the end of our sailing season in March, we had, through our sailors and several events, which we hosted, raised an amazing R66.500.  We didn’t have the final figures until April, but were able to present Nadia with a Cheque for R52000 at the end of the season, the balance of which followed, shortly thereafter ,giving the CANSA Assoc twice the amount of money to go out and help our community.

Nadia also put on Breast exams for the girls, prostrate exams for the guys, and mole mapping. She also supplied our Club with sunscreen for our sailors.  A very BIG thank you to everyone who supported our cause and hopefully, this coming season, our 160th – we will be able once again to support this worthy cause.



One issue which has concerned me over the last two years during my term , has been the lack of participation in offshore keelboat events. Its something which the incoming Sailing Committee will need to pay attention to, and possibly something which we as sailors need to sit down and discuss over a few beers to find a solution.

There could be a number or reasons for this. Possibly because Wednesdays are a lot less time consuming, and the conditions are more pleasant and sociable there is a trend towards this. In this modern day, where we have so many demands made on us , the weekends have  become a family priority time for things like, sport, shopping, or just spending quality family time with the wife & kids. Ocean races are more demanding, longer and at times a bit rougher and we suffer the accompanying unpleasantness of sea sickness which makes it less appealing to family members , and so the sailors choose the lesser of two evils. It is something which has been brought to the attention of SAS, and the declining numbers are of concern in an industry which is stagnating. It is particularly noticeable when you consider the aging average of the sailing population , and the lack of younger entrants who will go to make up the participants in future.

Another  item which is important is that Keel Boat owners take cognisance that the cost of running a regatta, in view of the rising cost of fuel, boat maintenance and equipment, is rising steeply, and whilst we try to keep the entrance costs down and also give club membership value, it is something which Gencom will need to consider if we continue to get only four boats entering an offshore regatta. It is imperative that if you wish to get club support, you need to support the club.



In continued support of both Governments policy and SAS’s strategy we continued with our youth development program.

Jennifer Weyers commitment to, and development of, her LETS GO SAILING drive has gone ahead in leaps and bounds this year.


Jennifer started instructing in Oct 2014 and we are now heading into our 4th Season.

Demonstrating Royal Natals commitment to youth development, and as I mentioned previously,in support of government and SAS policy, with particular reference to the inclusion of previously disadvantaged communities, she has introduced approx. 100 youths to sailing over these past 3 seasons. A large contingent of these were inner city kids sourced from the Port Natal Sea Scouts next door.

On an average Jennifer manages between 11 & 22 youths in any one sailing session. Many of our youngsters have also started using their skills learnt to upgrade to other boats, like the Pacers, L26’s and other family boats.


SAS, demonstrating their commitment,and in approval of Jennifers and the clubs support, in turn, funded us to the tune of R35000.00.


The club now boasts a fleet of 4 x RS Teras, 3 x Oppies, 1 x O’9er, 1 x Gypsey, 1 x Plus, 1 x Imp, 2 x Mirrors, some of which were purchased and others kindly donated by members.


This past season has seen our youngsters,under Jennifers tutelage, taking their skills learnt at LETS GO SAILING to the next level.and in March 2017,Jennifer, along with 3 Scouts and 3 Members travelled to HMYC Midmar for the annual KZN INTERSCHOOLS and REGIONALS. She was very pleased to attain the following results.

1st -Taine Steytler,2nd – Mfundo Luthuli,3rd –  Siyathemba Nzama,4th –  SaneleMcinera sailing RS Teras and 18th – Matthew Becket and 19th – Gabriel Pennels on Oppies.


A number of our Lets go sailing Scouts skippered by Dylan McGovern took part in an L26 Regatta hosted by Sail Africa and EThekwini Maritime Cluster.

Although they did not win they are to be commended on their spirit and enthusiasm.


3 of Jennifers trainees participated in the recent HALCAT Regionals Hosted by RNYC& organised by Phil Downing.

Taine Steytler was awarded 1st Youth and was placed 16th overall. With Mathew Beckett sailing with his Dad Jeremy, and Josh Harford sailing with Jennifer (They were placed 15th overall and 1st Double handed boat)


As I mentioned a little earlier ,and to quote Jennifer,  the future of sailing is OUR youth. And for the RNYC Youth Sailing is our future. It is our nursery.


A recent and very pleasing development is the inclusion of  a group of DURBAN HIGH SCHOOLstudents to our Lets Go Sailing Program. They have already beenutilised in the Pacer & Wed nite events.

 We have also been asked to host a LETS GO SAILING SENIOR Programme that will assist some of our Juniors Parents and Lady members so that they too can start sailing. This is in planning for the new season inOCTOBER 2017 and training will take place on Halcats, Gypsey, Mirrors.

Jennifer gives thanks to Graham Rose &the GencomCommittee, Koko the Scout Leader & Moses for their assistance over the season.

She would also like to give special thanks to Carol Ferguson who has assisted without fail even when it came to sanding, repairing, rigging and de-rigging.

Thank you to the Youth and their parents who have supported  this Program

There were a group of members who attended International events throughout the year including Jeremy Kriek and Campbell Alexander, who won the Cowes week, Paul and Polly Changouin in Mirrors, Mikaela Robinson, and Benjy Daines on 29’ers.


Another Innovation which the Sailing Committee introduced was the Cruising portfolio, headed up by Pam Featherstone. An interesting statistic is that if you consider that among our six-hundred plus members, there are only around 150 active sailing members, so we rationalised that there must be a bunch of others who are not being catered for – and these were probably sailors who are not particularly interested in racing but simply enjoyed recreational sailing – or those who carry the dream of one day cruising to the Carribean.

As a starter, Pam organised a flotilla cruise to Richards Bay on the 19 – 22 May.

We were met with a fair amount of enthusiasm and in the end we had 2 boats sail up to Richards Bay on Thursday 18th , a further 3 on Friday 19th and had one Richards Bay boat that came down to Durban to

enjoy the cruise back home.

5 boats eventually made it to Richards Bay and a few club members chose to drive up and camp at Zululand Yacht Club and partake in the fun.

Zululand Yacht Club went out of their way to accommodate us and make us feel welcome.

The Sailing Committee hope that this will become a fairly regular event which could  preferably hold over a long weekend to allow the sailors to rest up and enjoy before the sail back to Durban.

Zululand Yacht Club have also indicated that they would like to hold a similar event in reverse – so we could be entertaining them in the near future.

We intend also using the cruising portfolio to promote events which are of interest to the cruising community. Things like Navigation, Engine maintenance, Use of electronics and that type of thing.


Dinghy racing was another area in which we were particularly weak. Saturday afternoons were unfortunately not well supported. During December we ran our traditional Flying 15 Regional regatta, but sadly were unable to reach class numbers so it did not qualify as a Regional.

Fortunately the PACER programme filled this spot on Saturday afternoons and has been growing under the enthusiastic application of our Commodore Graham Rose with Carol,Jennifer  Moses and Victoras his able assistants.

Team racing, as well as Ladies sailing, has been gaining interest and momentum, and we hope this will continue to grow.



Cats continue to grow, and they have had quite a successful series of races, as you can see by the initial list I read out. Andy Brown on the sailing committee assisted by Rob Samways , and Phil Downing organised this section. Their commitment ,and the enthusiasm and camaraderie of the cat sailors is both noteworthy and commendable

RNYC hosted Dart Regional Championships on the weekend of November 19 -20 2016, Organizing Chairman Rob Samways with the RNYC and with the assistance of DUC, staged the first Dart regatta to be held in Durban off Vetches beach in over 15 years. The event saw a total of 16 Darts participating with 3 boats from the Vaal Dam, 2 from Eastern Cape and the rest from KZN. It was a huge success and enjoyed by all. The multiple National Champion and past World Champion, Ben Mienie won the event. Close on his heels was RNYC’s Rob Samways followed by Chris Clarke from Eastern Cape. Our thanks go to DUC for making this event possible, which then lead to a request to stage the National Championships in Durban for 2017.

RNYC subsequently hosted the 2017Dart 18  National Championships off Durban Skiboat Club over the long weekend of 18 -21st March 2017, Rob and the RNYC team once again organized and hosted the event. A fleet of 22 Darts entered including 10 boats from the Northvaal, 4 from Eastern Cape and 8 boats from KZN. The event was hotly contested and Ben Mienie once again took gold with Gerhardt van Niekerk taking silver and Kobus Holtzhausen taking bronze. It was a clean sweep for the Northvaal. Gavin and Geertje Wadsworth were the highest placed KZN boat in 8th place. A special mention and thanks must be made to HemrajGokal and the RNYC team who excelled in their race management which was highly commended by all. Thanks go to DSBC who made every effort to make the Dart fleet welcome.

A few weeks ago Phil Downing convened the Halcat Provincials, which were highly successful and very well supported with around 25 boats. Both Phil and the club put on a really good event – and thanks go once again to Phil, Hayley, Hemraj, Carol and the Rescue boys.

From a club and Race management perspective, we also assisted Island View with their annual Stray Cat Regatta.


As a lot of you will know , Rescue, or what we now call Race Control, is very close to my heart, and we have retained the nucleus of a group of regular volunteers who never cease to amaze me.

When you consider that these guys , who are not necessarily sailors, or at least have little interest in sailing, take time away from their families, and whatever interests they may have, to jump into Scorpio – probably one of the most uncomfortable boats I have driven, – and pound their way up to Umhlanga Light to lay a mark and then sit there in the sun, or wind and rain for a few hours , and then thunder back, soaked to the skin into a south westerly now blowing at 25 knots. You have to ask yourself what it is that causes them to persist in punishing themselves so unpleasantly!

I would like to make very special mention of Derek Latouf and Chris Parry who regularly made these runs, and I can tell you, sometimes in the very worst conditions. I know because I was anchored on Townsend off Vetches on a few of them and we had water breaking over the foredeck into the cabin. In addition, thanks to Glen Smith and his team, and of course young Moses who is so accomplished both in skippering and course laying.


In an effort to encourage increased participation, we have been discussing the introduction of Annual Club Champion recognition.

This will be across the board in all of our classes, in other words, keelers, dinghies, catamarans etc.

Participants will be required to compete in a compulsory minimum percentage of races, and if they exceed requirements will be allowed discards.

At the end of the season , they will be announced as the club champions of their respective divisions at this prize giving. They will retain their title for a year, and their pictures will be mounted in a frame and displayed in the clubhouse.

We are still clarifying the requirements, and this is just a broad outline. However I am pleased to say that this will begin with the first race of our season – the Royal Natal Regatta.

Please make every effort to attend this event. Carol , Hayley, Bob, Jennifer and the team have gone to a lot of effort to make this an enjoyable and memorable weekend.


I would also like to thank all of those who gave of their time and volunteered this year to run the 2016/17 season.

Carol Ferguson and HemrajGokal as Race Officers, Jennifer Weyer as time recorder and results, also Clive Jackson and Chris Coxon for scoring and results, Vanessa Weldon scribe, and of course my committee including Pam Featherstone, Andy Brown, Chris Coxon and Pat Boase and of course Race secretary Margie Harris, who despite being under pressure with club duties, calmly went about making sure her sailing committee duties ran smoothly. Lastly , but certainly not the least , my wife Maureen who allowed me the time away to attend the many meetings , and races.

There are no doubt a few others who I am probably remiss for not mentioning, and if there is anyone else I have missed out on,for this I do apologise.

Lastly I would like to sincerely thank our Commodore Graham Rose for his assistance over the last two and a bit years of my office. Graham it has been an absolute pleasure working with you. The amount of time and commitment you give to this club is nothing short of remarkable. Your friendship and patience is exemplary. On behalf of the members and committees I thank you.

PRIZE GIVING – Townsend awards

Finally it gives me great pleasure to hand out the final few awards.

Before I do this however, I think I need to clarify and explain the motivation behind these awards.

Often throughout the season while we are anchored on the Townsend, events occur which are totally beyond our control. Some are good and some are bad, and on occasion they are concerned with the survival of the species. Since, unlike Charles Darwin , I am not the author of “The origin of Species”

In case youre interested, the full title is “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”. Anyway – since we cannot lay claim to our awards being named the Darwin Awards, Im sure you will have gathered by now the implications of what I am saying. What it is, in short, is that these awards can be likened to the Darwin awards.


So after due discussion with our Resident Race officer Carol Ferguson and the Rescue crew, we have decided to name these, THE TOWNSEND AWARDS.

After further consideration we settled upon three names to be the first recipient of these awards.


So without further ado I’d like to call upon Andy Pavid , the skipper of VENT Du CAP as the first recipient.

Since eating is one of mankinds survival techniques, we have always been uncertain as to whether Andy came to eat or to sail!  – however the former qualifies him as a worthy recipient of a Townsend award since it is apparent that his crews welfare and survival is a priority

We firmly believe that one of the reasons that Bellatrix, and Lady bird get around the course so quickly is that on their second lap is, much like a donkey following a carrot dangled in front of his nose, they are seduced into going faster by following the delicious smell of Andys chops sizzling on his braai, whilst still on his first lap!!

So we’d like to give Andy this Braai lighter to ensure the continuation of this Darwinian practice and to remind him that the bridge crew sit drooling every time he passes, and it might be a kind gesture to throw them a bone on the way past!


The second award, goes to Pat Boase. To give you an idea of what occurred in this event I need to set the scene. Townsend was anchored close inshore in the process of starting one of the Squadron series , I think it was. A nice stiff North Easter was blowing as we watched the fleet bearing down on the start line. The fleet was nicely lined up and closely packed. I looked away for a moment and when I looked back was treated to the fearsome view of two forty foot plus juggernauts bearing down upon us. Bellatrix was ahead, but Nimrod had the inside line. Greg on Bellatrix held his nerve, and his line, and I saw the Nimrod crews eyes get bigger and bigger as they realised that there was no space between Townsend and Bellatrix.

At the last possible moment Pat  made his decision, and took avoiding action, missing us on the bridge boat by a few centimeters.

Carol was heard in true Ferguson fashion to say “Oh No!” Stephen was visibly rattled and retired muttering under his breath to the cabin, to nurse his shattered nerves , and Jennifer in James Bond  tradition was left “Shaken but not Stirred!”

And so for this award, I have selected the following items to ensure that Pat is well prepared in the event of finding himself in a similar position.

A chart, on which I have clearly marked both the position of the Bridge boat, the line and the start pin

A good quality Compass ,( Which I saved from a cracker last Christmas)so that he is able to set a proper course towards the line and avoid eliminating the bridge crew in transit.

A Pair of reading glasses, which I purchased from Clicks, to ensure that he is capable of seeing both the chart and compass. I might add that the glasses are the strongest possible magnification I could find!

As a final back-up plan I have supplied Pat with a whistle on a lanyard which can be worn around his neck at the start of any race. The reason for this item is that in the event of a failure of the first three systems, and a collision with the bridge boat is not only imminent but unavoidable, he can give three shrill blasts. This will enable the bridge crew to clear the decks before being torn asunder.

Oh yes –  and finally, here is a cash slip from Mr Price for the new under-rods we had to issue the bridge crew! If you don’t have cash I will ask Liz to charge this to your club account!


The last recipient of a treasured Townsend award is our Commodore Mr Graham Rose.

To give you some insights into why Graham was selected, I was privileged recently to crew on ZAP in the Richards Bay Raid cruise. Suffice to say that due to the lack of wind, and other commitments, we never completed the full trip and 24 hours after starting, wereturned to moorings in Durban.  Without going int too much detail, by this time, I was in dire straits. Those of you who have sailed on ZAP will know that the loo – or as we naval types prefer to call it – The heads, is out of bounds.

And so after much soul searching and due consideration – I mean what do you buy a man who has everything – I have assembled a toilet service kit comprising a toilet brush, Some Toilet Duck, and aerosol of Air freshener, and lastly a bog-roll. Not only will this enable you in future to utilise this modern convenience which the manufacturers so thoughtfully installed, but it will enable you to maintain it in pristine condition for many years to come – and in fact it mayeven add to the value of ZAP, since should I be fortunate enough in future to list her for sale , I will in all honesty be able to inform any prospective buyer that the loo is in perfect working order having hardly been used.


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