Duncan Lethbridge has a long association with boats and in particular Multihulls, since 1971 when his wife gave him a Hobie 14 for Xmas.
Being a Jack of all trades; architect, builder, property developer & estate agent during the early stages in the development of St Francis Bay, he could be seen most evenings surfing his Hobie amongst the regular surfers enjoying the world renowned St Francis waves, commonly known as "Bruce's Beauties". He later became Nationals Hobie champion and represented South Africa at 3 Hobie Worlds.
This love for the sea and now with two young children he persuaded his wife Catherine, a pretty Scottish lass to come sailing. This unbeknown to her this was a test to see how the family would cope in the close confines of a yacht.
A bare boat charter was arranged in the Greek Islands Ionian Sea. The Seascape Sailing Holidays well organised and after a couple of days the group of 12 Sadler 32's was split up into two groups, one that could sail unassisted and a large party that needed guidance.
Strict rules were set for the sailors not requiring assistance i.e. sailors could arrange their own tour within certain parameters and you must be in a safe anchorage before sunset.
As the sailors enjoyed each other's company we decided to stick together. Naturally every time we moved it turned into a race. In an early race I was leading. The Greek Gods felt that this was a professional showing off and unfair, so they sent down a "Laventa", a very strong wind usually localised and coming off the mountains. Not wanting to lose my advantage, the racing instinct took over and I berried the lee gunnel. Cathy started shouting Duncan Jnr, our son was bewildered and Claire the youngest started crying. Facing this onslaught, I was forced to stop and reef the main. When we finally tied up amongst the tail enders, a "frosty" wife and two kids mutinied and abandoned ship.
UNHAPPY FAMILY ABOUT TO MUTINE
Long negotiations followed wherein I promised not to heel the boat by more than 20˚. Claire took it upon herself to monitor the "inclinometer", a pendulum type instrument showing the angle of heel and would shout 20˚ the moment I approached that angle of heel forcing me to instantly release the pressure on the main.
This became a game. Claire obviously cherished the power she had over dad.
With a happy family time flew. Too soon it was our last night when the whole flotilla congregated on a well chosen beach for a braai. Various prizes were given to selected boaters. When my name was called I received my most memorable gift, which still holds pride of place in our bar. An inclinometer made from Beach flotsam with the pendulum stuck at 20˚.
The outcome was, we all had a memorable holiday filled with adventure. As a family we all passed the test with flying colours. I was now convinced it's time to build our own boat.