Wednesday 13 May 2009

Bruce Dalling,the original skipper of Voortrekker

It looks like I got this one wrong,thank you to Frank for his corrections.

Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2010 8:59 PM

Subject: Speedwell Of Hong Kong

Hi Roy,

I chanced upon the article you posted regarding the sad passing of Bruce Dalling.

It was of particular interest to my wife and I, as we, along with lifelong friend, Doctor Taki Caldis, were the owners of Speedwell of Hong Kong from 1987 to 1993. We carried out an extensive refurbishment at RCYC, after sailing with, and subsequently purchasing her from Judge Louis van Winsen in Saldanha Bay.

Unfortunately, we honestly believe the claim that Bruce Dalling owned Speedwell to be incorrect. He sailed and owned another vertue that was moored at Simonstown YC. We sailed on the boat, comparing notes with her then lady owner, who also mentioned the fact that Bruce Dalling had commissioned her in Hong Kong, and sailed back to SA. I recall the boats name as Vertue Carina.

This is Speedwell's line of ownership: Commander Peter Hamilton, John Goodwin, Judge Louis Van Winsen, Frank & Anne Snyders & Doctor Taki Caldis, Brendan Boyle, Shirley Carter.

The picture of her in the article is of the yacht under Shirley Carter's present ownership. The histories of the 2 boats are somewhat similar. Speedwell was built at Wing On Shing in Hong Kong by Commander Hamilton, and sailed via the Cape to England. There she was purchased by John Goodwin, who in turn sailed with his wife back to Cape Town. Hamilton's trip has been extensively written about, and is mentioned on the Vertue official website. We have an old yachting magazine with the article, and corresponded with him soon after purchasing the boat.

So there you go, for what it's worth.

Yours sincerely,

Frank Snyders

Bruce Dallings own boat,the Vertue 26,hull number 44 built,seen here in a recent picture moored in St Georges Harbour,Bermuda.

Bruce Dalling: Solo sailor who achieved fame in transatlantic race
IN HIS ELEMENT: Bruce Dalling on the yacht Voortrekker in 1968. He came second in the Observer Transatlantic Race

‘The sea is the simplest thing there is. You either learn to handle it and survive, or you don’t’

Chris Barron Published:Jul 13, 2008

Last years news (2008)from a posting in The Times (south african)

Bruce Dalling, who has died on his farm near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal at the age of 69, was hailed as one of the world’s greatest solo yachtsmen when he was second overall and winner on handicap of the Observer Single-handed Transatlantic Race in 1968.He covered 6 600km across the North Atlantic from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island, in 26 days, 13 hours, on the 15m ketch Voortrekker.

The stocky, blond, bearded Ernest Hemingway look alike survived gale-force winds of up to 70 knots, and 18m waves. For much of the race he had no radio contact after his generator was flooded. His main boom was swept overboard, and three winches smashed.

Dalling, whose motto was “stick to it and it’ll get better”, slept three hours a day, a total of 11 hours over the final six days, and lived on cake and coffee — losing 7kg during the race.He came in 17 hours after the winner, English geography teacher Geoffrey Williams. After it was found that Williams had used illegal navigation aids, receiving daily computerised course instructions from London — which he admitted helped him bypass the worst storms — the race committee invited Dalling to lodge a protest. He refused. “If you win the race you are the winner,” he said. “You cannot begrudge a man winning a race like that. ”

The commodore of the Long Island Yacht Club said that “Dalling brought a welcome breeze of sportsmanship into international sport. He would almost certainly have been declared the winner had he objected.”Dalling insisted that “coming second was a product of personal bad judgment rather than any other factor”. He was referring to his attempt to skirt a storm off Newfoundland, which led to him being becalmed for three days.

The race brought Dalling considerable fame. In South Africa he was a household name. The adulation made him uncomfortable .“I don’t think that I’m a home-town hero. Coming in second is the same as last. You either win or not. In competition, coming in second is absolutely nothing.” Before leaving for the race he explained why he wanted to do it. “I go because I prefer to deal in simple things. The sea is the simplest thing there is. You either learn to handle it and survive, or you don’t. It’s as simple as that.”

Dalling was born in Johannesburg on August 16 1938, and attended St John’s College in Houghton. After matriculating he obtained a BSc degree in agriculture at the then University of Natal. Hungry for adventure, he spent five years with the Hong Kong Police Force . He led a penetration platoon against communist guerrillas in the jungles of Borneo. While in that part of the world, he started crewing on Australian boats. He had a 7m sloop built , which he sailed alone across 12800km of the Indian Ocean, from Hong Kong to Durban, in 1966.

Note,this was 'Speedwell of Hong kong' a teak built Vertue 26,a boat I know well having done repair works on it,the boat was then owned by the RCYC president,Judge Louis Van Winsen,other noteable owners also include John Goodwin (roy)

He was nearing Durban when the boat overturned in massive seas. He lost his mast and radio, and his engine was flooded. The boat righted itself and he erected a jury rig and limped into Durban days late, by which time everyone feared the worst. When he came in, he met a student who was waitressing at the Point Yacht Club — and married her in 1971.

Dalling had interrupted a degree to do the transatlantic race.
He completed the degree when he got back and considered becoming an Anglican priest.Instead, after skippering Jakaranda in the first Cape to Rio Race in 1971 (he lost a rudder when the boat hit a whale), he studied law and became an advocate, ending up as a High Court assessor.For the last 10 years of his life he battled colon cancer, osteoporosis and, a lifelong cigarette smoker, emphysema.
He died after having a heart attack in his sleep.Dalling is survived by his wife, Carol, and three children

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