With the Lipton Cup being sailed on their home waters one has to consider that the False Bay Yacht Club (FBYC) entry ‘Avatar’, a modified L34 designed yacht owned by Nigel Clack, will start as one of the favourites.
“The modifications to the boat are a new stiffer mast, longer boom, new rudder and asymmetrical spinnaker setup, although we will go back to the symmetrical spinnaker setup as we feel that it is better suited to the Lipton Cup courses” said Allan Lawrence, ‘Avatar’s’ skipper and tactician.
Coupled with this is the fact that their yacht will probably have the lowest ORC rating in the fleet, and that their crew are all experienced and race with each other at every available opportunity, makes it an entry already brimming with confidence.
“The core of our crew have been racing together for many years, and we have deliberately ensured that we have an all-FBYC crew in order to represent our club in its purest form” said Lawrence. He comes from a Hobie sailing background, and has a world Hobie 14 championship title to his credit, plus many other national successes and international podium finishes.
Vastly experienced Ant “El Kapitane” Wentworth will man the halyards and be the crew boss. A lifelong sailor and ultimate team man, he thrives on assembling competitive crews from diverse backgrounds who enjoy each other’s company, have a good time and more importantly sail hard. Whilst normally calm and collected on the boat and ashore, he is known to motivate the crew from amidships during a rare spinnaker wrap!
Matthew Wentworth is the main sheet trimmer. After many years of being on the bow he has moved back in the boat to take more responsibility in this role.
Yousaf Sampson is the chief trimmer, and like so many others, he too has many a Lipton Cup campaign to his credit.
Darren Steele is on the halyards and will also lend a hand in trimming.
Zac Leill-Cock, the mast man, is primarily an L26 sailor with many Lipton Cup campaigns to his credit, plus two Laser 4.7 world championships. His diminutive stature up front belies his giant mastery of the foredeck area.
On the bow is the experienced Kenwin Daniels, a professional rigger, who goes about his work at the sharp end of the boat with a cool head and confidence as he has performed those duties in many a campaign on boats of all sizes. Whilst he isn’t well known for his verbal communication from the front of the boat, his hand gestures from the bow are a sight to behold!
“This year will be very interesting as stronger winds will probably favour the more modern planing hulls, with lighter winds favouring the displacement hull boats with low handicaps” said Lawrence. “No-one knows the race course and local conditions better than us.”
Local knowledge or not, this Lipton Cup is going to be a hard-fought regatta for everyone.