Rayner Trophy 1968 Report

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Route: The coast north of Melkbosstrand

Once again, after several annual and exciting adventures in the mountains, the venue of the Rayner Trophy competition was a desolate stretch of coast as in the Skeleton Coast adventure a few years ago. The competitors this year were better off. The weather was sunny with a light breeze the whole week-end. They did not have to face the steady force of a strong south-easter which moved the very sand-dunes in the "Skeleton Coast" competition.

The theme this time was a marooned crew of the pirate captain Morgan who were left on a desolate coast on Duinefontein some distance north from Melkbosstrand.

The main exercise was a night compass orienteering hike with six legs, during which many of the tests were made. To transport kits, sleds were made. To conserve firewood, hay boxes were made so that porridge could be cooked overnight. We hear that one team asked for their hay box to be examined as they were ready to light it to cook their porridge! Hazards on the journey were: an Area of poisonous molluscs which had to be crossed on stilts made of scout staves; quicksand to be crossed on skis made of staves and of course the scarcity of water.

There were all together 42 tests. Teams will be able to explain to their scouters what the tests were. They are listed on the mark sheets. many of them called for ingenuity which can be developed only by continual practice in normal adventure scouting, and it would seem that all boys want this type of scouting but don't get enough of it.

The general remarks of the Chief Judge are very helpful to all scouters, and worth quoting in full:

The sled pulling for most teams was very tiring - largely because of faulty or slap-dash sled construction. Most made the mistake of not getting the base on which the kit rested high enough off the ground- hence excessive drag. The intention was to make them test their own workmanship in practice. The 1st Worcester made an excellent sledge and arrived comparatively fresh at camp. many teams will look back on the sled journey with horror!

Compass and morse:
On the whole, compass work was poor - a large number of teams at the start of the night stunt subtracted variation instead of adding it when converting from True to magnetic Bearings, hence they set off in the wrong directions. After a few lengthy slogs in the dark to find the bases, all teams by the end were converting bearings correctly! Although they were tired by the end, the spirit was good. Knowledge of morse was pathetic.

It was obvious that few teams knew much about hayboxes and their use - and certainly had never used one before. Ideas on how they worked were a scream.

Few teams know how to break the simplest code even when the code word was given to them.

Obstacle Journey:
The obstacle journey in general was well done - in view of the heat, the rescue work in the surf was very well received.

Organising S.T.A.'s:
Teams could organise themselves better in handling S.T.A.'s. There was little evidence in some teams that the PL had allocated responsibility for specific S.T.A.'s to particular members of his team.

Theft of Water:
The most distressing feature of the competition was that there were complaints from some teams that they had had water stolen from their sites. Being in a waterless stretch of coast, teams had been told to bring sufficient water for themselves for the weekend. After the night stunt, water appeared to have been taken from some sites (by team or teams who arrived back first from the night stunt?). The water lost was replaced by the Judges.

The entries for the competition numbered 23 teams of four (ages 15 to 18th birthday). Six of them did not turn up and four of those sent no apologies.

The results were: Total marks 345.
1st 1st Worcester 226 65%
2nd 1st Pinelands 216 62%
3rd 2nd Green & Sea Point 213 61%

Chief Judge: Colin Inglis