The rain gods were kind to the Durban sailing community offering clear blue skies for the opening of the Summer Sailing Season and Bart’s Bash – ‘The Second Sail’ that took place on Sunday (20 September) in the harbour.
Bart’s Bash and Opening Season
Over 50 boats gathered near the T-Jetty in the bay for the colourful formal procession hosted by Point Yacht Club. First in line and leading the sail past was the Life President of Point Yacht Club, Vernon Goss, he was followed by a magnificent fleet of all different shapes and sizes of boats. Gliding alongside the dignitaries’ boat in single file, every member of the crew donned their hats and gave three cheers to the Commodores with the greeting and well wishes being returned in the traditional opening for the sailing season.
After the last boat tipped their hat, the majority of yachts moved across to the race track to participate in the fun Bart’s Bash – ‘The Second Sail’. As the Rear Commodore of Keelers, Ron Pet, placed the last mark down, the predicted big winds picked up and quickly levelled out at 22knots. With the arrival of the Beasterly Easterly; the chop picked up making it a rather splashy affair. The anemometer reflected numbers in the low 30s as the gusts challenged a few of the helmsman, with some boats heeling over rather dramatically.
Overall numbers of boats and participants were down from the massive turn out last year, but the brave yachtsmen and women who came out had a blast as they whizzed around the bay in the fun opening cruise. “I think everyone who came out for the opening cruise had a blast on the water. A few boats got into the spirit of things and started water fights with each other.” said the new Commodore for the Point Yacht Club, Craig Millar.
Continuing, Millar said, “If the race reaches the same numbers as last year, it will be magnificent and cementing the fact that it is the biggest sailing event in the world. It takes the organisers in the UK a few months to tally all the numbers so we won’t know for a while if we got anywhere near the Guinness World Record. I know that when I left the club yesterday (Sunday) the total meters sailed so far around the world was currently standing at 460,333 across 62 countries.”
Taking line honours on the day was young Berea’s Jethro Tintinger-Brophy who was sailing solo on his Hobie 14. He finished the 2.2NM race in a time of 24.37, just ahead of Hilton’s Luke Wagner sailing the Pacer 375, Southern Storm. Only 24 boats finished the short course in the bay, the gusty conditions making it unfavourable and dangerous for the smaller boats and younger sailors that all participated last year.
Happening simultaneously, a handful of kitesurfers also took to the water offshore, as they couldn’t sail in the harbour due to port restrictions. They opted for a 12km course that was a direct line. The crew of kitesurfers recorded a maximum gust of 34knots, James Lea handled the blustery conditions perfectly and was the overall winner with a time of 1hour and 20minutes.
The next event for the Point Yacht Club is the Transnet Port to Port race that starts on World Maritime Day on Wednesday 23 September. R35,000 is up for grabs in this inaugural race from Durban to Richard’s Bay.
For more info visit www.pyc.co.za
Point Yacht Club
Bart’s Bash and Opening Season
Harbour: Sunday 20 September
1 Catalyst (Jethro Brophy Tintinger – Hobie 14), 2 Therapy (Gavin Wadsworth), 3 Zing (Gavin Smith), 4 Southern Storm (Luke Wagner), 5 So Basic (Stuart Ritchie), 6 Skitzo (Nigel Milln), 7 Caversham Caprice (Jimmy Melville), 8 Bandit (Sean Jones), 9 Neptune’s Nymph (Phil Downing), 10 Bellissima (Vernon Goss), 11 Container World (Brenden Humphreys), 12 Alkistis (Greg Donkin), 13 PYC Challenger (Florence Marshall), 14 Crazy Diamond (Wayne Smith), 15 Shiloh (Tracy Bowman), 16 Deo Volente (Neville Bransbury), 17 Ithebe (Tim Wickham), 18 Mafuta (Robin Hulley), 19 Big Blue (Rory Simpson), 20 Vent de Cap (Andrew Pavid), 21 Hobbit (Sean Koegh) 22 Sea Witch (Vikus), 23 Magenta (Ricky Piper), 24 PGMT Clipper (Bernard Bussy)
Offshore: Sunday 20 September
1 James Lea, 2 Byron Watt, 3 Rossco Walters, 4 Alec Lanham-Love, 5 Bruce Gayham, 6 Craig Allsopp, 7 Leighton Moody