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View Full Version : Flyer 30th Anniversary Crew Reunion



PD Staff
08-03-2011, 01:48 PM
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This year marks the 30th anniversary of Dutchman Conny van Rietschoten's second victory in the Whitbread Round the World Race when his 76ft Frers designed maxi Flyer won both line and handicap honours. To mark the occasion, the Flyer crew is planning a grand reunion in Alicante, Spain, to coincide with the start of this year’s Volvo Ocean Race.

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All images courtesy PPL


For many of the young men from that crew, and Conny's previous Whitbread race winning S&S designed ketch also called Flyer who won handicap honours in the 77-78 Race, these campaigns were the starting point to glittering careers

Gerry Dijkstra, the Flyer navigator and watch leader in '77-78, is now a world authority on superyacht design and rigs. Fellow Dutchman and watchleader Aedgard - Koeke - Koekebakker went on to become Conny's right hand man for the second successful campaign four years later and has since been cruising the world in his own built yacht. Grant Dalton, the sailmaker on Flyer in 1981-2 went on to win the Whitbread in his own right with NZ Endeavour in 1993-94 and is leading the Camper entry in this year's Volvo race in between co-ordinating New Zealand's next America's Cup campaign in 2013. Erle Williams, who joined Flyer for the 1981-82 Race as an 18-year old looking international sailing experience, has since made his mark at every level of the sport from the America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race, to racing maxi yachts like George David's 100ft Rambler and will be onboard her next week for an attempt on the Rolex Fastnet Race record.

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Onne van der Wal went on to become a successful photographer in Newport, Rhode Island, Bill Biewenga is now a world authority on marine weather systems and Daniel Wlochovski, Flyer's French navigator in 1981-2 who helped test and perfect the first B&G digital sailing instrument systems on the Dutch maxi, went on to represent B&G in France, and is now a French television executive. Dr Julian Fuller, who saved Conny's life when he suffered a heart attack during the height of battle against Peter Blake's Ceramco NZ during that tight race across the Southern Ocean from Cape Town to Auckland in '81, is now a leading New Zealand anaesthetist. Others like John Vitali, Joey Allen and Warwick Buckley have made names for themselves in yacht construction and sailing. Steve Harrison, Flyer's rigger in 81-82 went on to do the same for Alan Bond's Australia America's Cup campaigns and was last heard from working on the Cup yachts in San Diego.
We are looking to locate Steve and other Flyer heroes whose wakes have faded, to join us for a Flyer reunion dinner to be held during the Volvo Legend's Regatta 1st-5th November in Alicante on the eve of the start of the Volvo Ocean Race.


These are the crew we are looking to contact:

Flyer: 1977-78
Hugh Wilson - UK
Bert Dijkema - Neth
Bruce Ashwood - UK
Marcel Laurin - France
Chris Moselen - NZ
Rod White - UK
John Anderson - UK


Flyer: 1981-82

Stephen Harrison - Australia
Patrick Antelme - France
Dick Reidel - Neth

If anyone knows of their whereabouts, please would they contact Barry Pickthall at: ppl@mistral.co.uk
Many thanks, Barry