Racing to victory

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Marabu with Zoraida, 1950

As part of the Services, Marabu immediately entered the offshore racing circuit sailed by the Coastal Forces Sailing Club (CFSC), which was affiliated to the Royal Naval Sailing Association (RNSA). In 1947 Marabu took part in the Round the Island Race and came second in her class. By 1949 she was recorded as doing well in the Cowes to Ouistreham race and she took part in many more races during the 1950s. The first years were glory days for Marabu and other Windfall yachts in the RORC races. 1951 was a vintage year for the Windfalls when Marabu and another RNSA yacht Rebel jointly brought home the RORC points aggregate Cup. Marabu was three times a winner in A Division Class 1, and twice fourth in the Open Division.

 Bermuda and Transatlantic Race

When skippered by Commander Sam Brooks (1922-78) with Commander Keith Rogerson (1928-2004) as Navigator, she crossed the Atlantic in 1952 to Newport as the first Windfall yacht to compete in the Cruising Club of Americas Race from Newport to Bermuda. Although winds were light and the Race was something of an anticlimax for Marabu who went searching for wind, they were given another chance to distinguish themselves in the Race homeward.


On her return to Plymouth, Marabu sailed 2,870 miles in just over three weeks against headwinds in the RORC’s Transatlantic Race, which began in July 1952, Marabu came in only four hours of elapsed time behind the American yacht Caribbee as a very close second and overtaking French yacht Janabel, with whom she had engaged in a long luffing match.


It is interesting to note that Samuel Pepys, the RNSA 24 yacht (30 ft in length) captained by former submariner Commander Erroll Bruce also did very well in the Bermuda Race (fifth out of 64 entries) and took the Commodores Cup in the Transatlantic Race.

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