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Remembering a sailing pioneer

DEC. 26 — South African yachtsman and solo circumnavigator “Biltong” Bertie Reed died this month after a battle with cancer. He was 63.

Reed was the first South African and one of only a small number of sailors to complete three single-handed circumnavigations, news reports say. He also is noted for rescuing a fellow competitor whose yacht sank after hitting a submerged iceberg during the 1990-’91 BOC Challenge.

For the heroic feat Reed was given the Worlaad Woltermade award, South Africa’s highest civilian award for bravery, reports say. Among his many awards he also received a presidential citation.

Reed finished second overall and first on handicap in the inaugural BOC Challenge (1982-’83) aboard the then 14-year-old sloop, Voortrekker, according to reports. Of the 170,000 nautical miles Reed sailed competitively, 100,000 are said to have been single-handed.

Jason Fell