Imperial Yacht Club Enters ‘Atura’

picture taken by Alec Smith

The Imperial Yacht Club has competed in the Lipton Challenge 17 times in the past, the last being in 2017, so their Club is not new to the contest, and their team have a wonderful attitude, describing themselves as “adventurous, outgoing, and NOT scared when out of their comfort zone”. All good traits to have in the Lipton Challenge.

Heading their challenge is owner/skipper Paul Cartmel who will be sailing his J105 – a highly competitive and well handicapped yacht in terms of ORC – and previously named ‘Pants on Fire’. He admits to being a relative newcomer to keelboat sailing although he was previously a windsurfer who has a passion for the outdoors, triathlon and watersports in general. Now a first-timer in the Lipton Challenge, he does not mind wearing the “underdogs” mantle as he has a top boat and enthusiastic crew.

Their boat is competitive and their recent results very pleasing as has been shown in several regattas this year, so there is no real reason why they cannot put a very successful campaign together. His crew believe that he is living his best life right now and that his enthusiasm and energy will collectively hugely motivate them, despite his steep learning curve.

Helping knit the team and fine-tune them for the contest have been the likes of Joweal Klassen, a multiple past Lipton Challenge winner and wizard bowman, plus Howard Leoto a talented all-rounder and Asenathi Jim, one of the most respected and talented young helms around, and man with a wealth of international experience.

“We are trying to put a serious and competitive team together and have fun, all the while blending a good mix amongst the young crew” said Paul Cartmel.

Jason Deane will be trimming the main and doing tactics. In his youth he was a powerhouse dinghy sailor who represented South Africa in Lasers. After a long break from sailing while focussing on other sporting ventures, he is back and as passionate as ever and relishing the challenge of being a member of the ‘Atura’ team environment and camaraderie.

Co-trimming is the power combination of Megan Robertson and Lance Curtis. Megan has been a regular feature over the last 10 years on the dinghy circuit, competing in the Laser Radial fleet both nationally and internationally. Now passionate about her keelboat sailing she is a regular on Cape Town’s racing circuit and was recently selected to helm for the ladies’ team going to represent RCYC at the Lady Liberty Regatta in New York.

Lance Curtis has risen through the ranks of the Zeekoe Vlei Sailing School and now coaches the younger generation. He too is a regular on the Cape Town keelboat circuit.

On halyards and pit is Thomas “Woody” Attwood, a calming influence in all situations. As an engineer he has made it his job to know ‘Atura” inside out to ensure her reliability at all times.

On the sharp end is full-time medical student Abi Dunn. Although she is a relative newcomer to sailing, she has very quickly learnt the nuances of the foredeck. And thanks to her slight build she dances on the bow like it is the most comfortable place on earth. She packs a big punch too.

Ryan Hayward, a mechanical engineer, has the mid-bow responsibilities. Coming from a very competitive sailing family, he has sailed competitively since the tender age of 7, and is a great asset to the team.

Cartmel is concerned that if the wind blows light to medium from the northwest and the sea is flat during the contest, they will struggle against the Cape 31s.

It’s still winter in the Cape, and while we have been blessed with calm days and balmy conditions, by the time the Lipton Challenge commences, Aeolus may have sent in the winter storms and the strong winds associated with those.

Whatever the wind, the most competent all-round team will in all likelihood lift the Lipton Challenge Cup in victory.

Richard Crockett

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