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Edward Woodward

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail World AUS 12 Mar 2023 14:00 PDT
Edward Woodward as, The Breaker © Photo Supplied

He played Lieutenant (Henry Harbord) Harry 'The Breaker' Morant in the Bruce Beresford film depiction of the famed bush poet's execution during the Second Boer War. Woodward was utterly superb at it, too. He led quite the stellar cast, but unequivocally Woodward stole the whole show with Morant's outburst delivered in frightfully British fashion, which was no doubt a legacy of some form of classical education. What made it all the more special, was his sublime use of anti-Authoritarianism from his adopted Colonial homeland.

Kenneth G. Ross' original play, with writers Jonathon Hardy, David Stevens and Beresford himself delivering the screenplay, and all of this ensured it was armed with good material throughout. Yet the delivery of just one line may well have done enough to have The Breaker as enshrined as Ned Kelly. "We caught them, and we shot them, under Rule 303!" Naturally, and as is the case with every grand tale, there are distinctly disparate sides to the matter, and we are not here for the unfolding of that, I guarantee you.

The film takes us back to 1980, and so this does age oneself somewhat, especially as I had a Great Grandfather who was actually there in South Africa, just before the turn of the previous century. Of course, if you really wanted to nerd out on it all, then all the militaria and history buffs will know that the hefty cartridge from the.303 was what was used in the wing mounted machine guns of early versions of the mighty Supermarine Spitfire.

Mind you, the one rule about the 303 that never leaves you is that you firstly pull the stock back into your shoulder as aggressively as you can. Then, just before you fire it, you jam it in even harder, especially if you would like to keep your shoulder located where it normally is. Yes, the recoil is that severe. This is the memory of a young teenage boy on the rifle range at school. Now if you think that's non-PC in today's age, consider that the men who were the fathers of my generation used to carry said 303 to and from school on public transport, and with live rounds no less (as well as the bayonet). Cop that! Bet they did not get any grief for wearing a kilt. Now you know you're living in another world...

So why all this bumf about an antiquated rifle? Well, simply that I have well and truly missed my opportunity to do a ditty about a breathless, OHV, inline six of 202 cubic inches from GM that powered a generation of cars, many of which said automobiles were famed for 'three-on-the-tree' gear shifters. This was from the era where if you had a crash problem you just added more steel (back then airbags were people who talked too much), and then to keep it all on the road with a thing you developed called 'Radial Tuned Suspension'. Like that really mattered...

No ultimately, this is all just simply that I wanted to say thank you to each and every reader, for this is my 303rd Editorial. So at this time I cannot say that number 635 won't be dedicated to BMW's magical E24, nor 917 given over to a Le Mans destroying flat 12 Porsche, but if I do, I promise it won't be boring.

How's this for having a look on the other board?

For when enthusiasm meets vision: Going down this little history wormhole was a direct result of speaking with a woman originally from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), relative to a totally separate matter. It happened to be at the same time as the recent International Women's Day (March 8), and whilst we are at it, many thanks to everyone who sent in all the material to celebrate that. Cheers.

At the same time, and no doubt a reflection of all the items I have done on the Golden Globe Race of late, let alone that she too is an Antipodean, I also took into account just how well Kirsten Neuschäfer is doing to hold a 300nm plus lead. Given what we have previously said about attrition and mind control, her lead says a lot about her as a sailor. I am hoping by the time France arrives once more she'll be squarely in the same league as Wendy Tuck, Dee Caffari, Nikki Henderson, and of course, Tracy Edwards.

None the less, all of these points got put in the blender that is my mind, and I remembered back to the early 90s, when there were not that many women sailing at all. I attended one of the early Australian Women's Keelboat Regattas, and the enthusiasm was both infectious and deeply encouraging.

Move forward to today, and with added passing of nigh on 30 years, I reflected not so much on the people who dreamt it up, but more the owners who had the vision to put their boats up for use. Many of this latter group may very well not be sailing anymore, or indeed racing forevermore under kite only, maybe they've elected to perpetually cruise the great oceans of the skies instead. At any rate, to them, or their descendants, I tip the hat, ring the bell, and buy the round, for without them (and all the others just like them) it would be a very different landscape these days.

OK. There it is. There is so much more on the group's sites for you. Simply use the search field, or 'edition' pull-down menu up the top on the right of the masthead to find it all. Please enjoy your yachting, stay safe, and thanks for tuning into

John Curnow
Editor, Sail World AUS

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