For my part I seem to have had very boring Umko’s with little drama when paddling with – at the time – novices like John Lee and Jack Anderson. Also paddled with Rowan Sampson I think and one with Hubby Sandberg in a Glider (think we were the first not to use an Accord – before the days of Foxbats).
I remember finishing no better than about 7th and no worse than 14th until I started paddling with the big boys. Bennie Reynders and I were styling in the top six and did No.1 to No.8 like pros. We then managed to do serious damage to the boat in Staebraes or some such non-descript rapid and came in way back on day one. Day two saw us last off of the elapsed time mob and once again we handled all the Named Rapids like pros only to do more damage in a class two no-name rapid. Finished 28th.
Then in my prime I was lucky to paddle with Greefie who was also in his prime. Got away with 3 other boats, Scott/Pennefather, Herman Chalupsky/Tim Cornish and Tocknell/Park I think. The second bunch were far behind as we went into Robbies Special, No.5&6 in single file. Next thing we were swimming (to this day Chris & I can’t explain what happened). In front of us Herman & Tim were also swimming. We came out the river with the front 3ft of our boat and they came out with the back 18ft of their boat. They had more bargaining power than us so took our nose and rammed it onto the remains of their boat, wrapped it with duct tape and off they went to finish in the top ten! I think our number was on the nose and the officials at the end needed some convincing from Tim Cornish not to be disqualified! Greeff of course lost his sense of humour when the umpteenth fish & chipper portaging Robbies asked him where our boat was! The walk out to No.8 only served to darken his mood.
I think I started eight marathons and finished seven between ’78 – ’86. I remember a friendly wrestling match at the overnight stop between Hubby and Tim Biggs ending badly with Tim ending up with a broken arm. His partner was Chris Greeff who was not impressed again!
Sadly not much more that I recall – Oldtimerz?
Good luck and keep me in the loop. May even come down for the 50th. Always enjoyed Charles’ sense of humour – when he was a Springbok selector he would remark casually to those of us trying to make the team that his boot was always open!!