Legendary yachtsman 'Biltong' Bertie Reed dies

Legendary South African yachtsman “Biltong” Bertie died at his home in Gordon’s Bay on Monday at the age of 63.

Stanley John Reed had been suffering from cancer, South African Broadcasting Corporation radio news reported.

Reed was the first South African, and one of only a few yachtsmen in the world, to complete three single-handed circumnavigations of the globe.

He will be especially remembered for his heroic rescue of fellow South African John Martin, whose yacht sank after hitting a submerged iceberg in the Southern Ocean during the 1990/91 BOC Challenge.

He was awarded South Africa’s highest civilian award—at the time—for bravery, the Wolraad Woltemade Decoration for the outstanding seamanship he displayed during Martin’s rescue in extreme conditions.

He also received a presidential citation and was listed in the Civic Honours Book of the City of Cape Town.

Reed joined the South African Navy in 1961, and rose to the rank of Warrant Officer during his 22-years in uniform.

It was there that he began his sailing career, which led to him achieving world fame in the inaugural BOC Challenge single-handed race around the world in 1982/83, when he finished second across the line and first on handicap in the 14-year-old sloop Voortrekker, considered obsolete.

He sailed about 170 000 nautical miles competitively—over 100 000 single-handed.

Reed married his wife Pat in 1968, had four children and three grandchildren.—Sapa


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