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Going Down to the Wire

Aug 2019

Going Down to the Wire

Today was a phenomenal advert for one-design sailing at its very best as racing on the windward-leeward courses was close with regular positions changes throughout both races right until the finish line. Proof of the closeness of racing is the fact that several protest flag were seen flying, so the International Jury have a busy evening ahead of them.

The only negative was the fact that kelp again played a major role in the final results as several boats, including the overall leader, had kelp issues and had to back down to clear it.

That aside the racing was awesome to watch, with the Witbank Yacht Club team winning the first of two races today in fine style. She is the form boat, and barring anything untoward, could well wrap this regatta up at the head of the leader board.

But that said, her lead going into the final day when two 6 nautical mile windward- leeward races will be sailed should conditions permit, has been reduced from 6 points to a mere 3 after a poor final race today.

That ‘poor’ performance was not due to the fact that they sailed badly, it was simply due to the fact that they fouled kelp right on the start line, had to back down to clear it and then start – right from the very back of the fleet. She then sailed exceptionally well to get back into third spot, only to have a close call with the Royal Natal Yacht Club boat at the weather mark for the second rounding, and chose to take penalty turns instead of possibly enduring a protest and possible disqualification. That incident pushed her back rather badly into 6th spot overall in that race.

As the Witbank skipper David Rae said after racing, “one simply does not take risks in the Lipton Cup due to their being no discards”.

The second race also saw several key positional changes, plus lots of protest flags flown, but the race belonged to the team from Walvis Bay Yacht Club who led for most of the way until usurped by the Royal Cape Yacht Club who took the honours after sailing smart and fast and relegating WBYC to second and Hermanus Yacht Club third.

This event is unique in that it does not permit a worst position discard, which most regattas do, so consistency and ‘keeping it clean and safe’ is absolutely imperative. The winner of this even can sometimes win overall without winning a race as finishes in the top 3 in every race can be consistent enough.

The other aspect that is new this year is the introduction of the super-fast and super-slippery Cape 31 one-design monohulls which can close gaps and pass boats with the smallest of changes in wind and sea conditions. The changes in positions throughout the racing is what has made this series of races so exciting.

So tomorrow (Saturday) is do or die racing for the top boats who are challenging to unseat Witbank Yacht Club from the top step of the podium, and for Witbank to keep clean and sail to victory.

Results are provisional due to protests – so these may change overnight once the International Sailing Jury has deliberated and published their findings. The international jury consists of a juror from the UK, 2 from Poland and 2 South Africans. Their decision is final, with no appeal possible.

Provisional Results – Overall after 6 races

1  Witbank YC                      Nitro                            Mike Hayton / David Rae

2  Royal Cape YC                RCYC YANMAR      Gerry Hegie / Asenathi Jim

3  Walvis Bay YC                 MB Racing                Bjorn Geiger

4  Royal Natal YC                Orion DYP                 Mark Sadler

5  Hermanus YC                  Magic                         Malcolm Hall / Roger Hudson

6  Langebaan YC                SCUD                        Geoff Meek / Greg Davis

7  Aeolians SC                     Nemesis                    Philip Baum

8  University of CT YC        CuAI6 Maverick        Nicholas Ryall

9  Sailing PE                         Vivaldi                        Rick Nankin

10  Gordons Bay YC           SKI                              Rodney Tanner



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