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04 AUG 2019

Lipton Challenge Cup

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Race History


The 110 year history of the inter-club challenge for the Lipton Cup can be viewed through many different lenses. Each rewards the viewer with a different glimpse into the evolution of our sport in Southern Africa.

One of the key aspects of course is the kind of craft used in the contest, and in this sense there are two distinct eras in the history of the Lipton Challenge – the Designer-Rule era, and the One-Design era.

In the Designer-Rule era defending or winning the Cup was very much about having the best design within the rule in force. Initially it was the International Rating Rule of Great Britain with a rating range of 6m to 8m, then between 1953 and 1981 the 30 Square Metre Rule, and finally in 1982 and 1983 the IOR Quarter Ton Rule.

That all changed with the launch of Angelo Lavranos’s remarkable new 26-footer forty years ago. The explosive growth of the L26 Class – some 80 boats built within the first three years – gave SA its first ever broadly-based one-design keelboat suitable for deep sea racing.

The Lipton Trustees of the day were quick to recognise the benefits that one-design racing offered the Lipton inter-club, and the L26 became the “Lipton Boat” in 1984.  The new class gave South Africa an unparalleled platform for close and competitive racing in offshore conditions, and attracted many of this country’s top sailors to the Lipton Challenge.

The role of the trusty L26 over the past four decades, not only in the Lipton inter-club but in sailing in South Africa more generally, should never be underestimated. However, in recent times as the boats have aged and the world of small keelboat racing has moved in the direction of sport boats and beyond, interest in L26 racing has declined.  As a result, fewer and fewer of South Africa’s most competitive sailors have been prepared to mount challenges for the Lipton Cup. It was clearly time for a change.

The opportunity to move forward came when Irvine Laidlaw commissioned the renowned Irish designer Mark Mills to develop a no-compromise high-performance sport boat suitable for our coastal conditions. The Cape 31 burst onto the South African sailing scene and immediately got the attention of serious sailors across the country. It’s certainly an exciting step towards the future for deep sea one-design racing in our part of the world.

Although changing the boat for the Lipton Challenge is explicitly provided for in the Cup’s Deed of Gift via an amendment signed by Sir Thomas in 1925, it does require the formal approval of the majority of recognized yacht clubs. During 2017 the Lipton Trustees wrote to the Commodores of all 54 clubs asking for an opinion on a possible change to the Cape 31. On balance the responding clubs favoured one more year in the L26, and then a change to the Cape 31 in 2019. This cleared the way for a formal vote in 2018, and the outcome supported a change to the Cape 31 on a trial basis for the next two years.

This fundamentally changes the game.

A super-strict one-design class, a much more sophisticated rig to master, big asymmetrical kites that bring downwind tactics front and centre, a high-performance boat that rewards great boat-handling and punishes the slightest fumble, all bring fresh challenges.

But the real change is going to be in the level of competition. What the Cape 31 has done already is to attract many of South Africa’s best sailors to the class, and at the same time opened up exciting opportunities for our up-and-coming young talent.

In fact, looking at the track records of international racing experience amongst the seventy or more sailors of all ages already preparing for the 2019 Lipton Challenge, this inter-club event in August is shaping up to produce the most competitive fleet in South Africa’s sailing history.

The contest for the Cup is alive and well. Sir Thomas Lipton would surely have been pleased.


Previous Winners

11911Cape Town6‑8 MetresN.W. ChiazzariPYCTess
21912DurbanIRR of GBN.W. ChiazzariPYCSkabenga
31913DurbanIRR of GBH.J. SpradbrowPYCSkabenga
41914DurbanIRR of GBH.J. SpradbrowPYCSkabenga
51922DurbanIRR of GBH.J. SpradbrowPYCSkabenga
61923DurbanIRR of GBH.J. SpradbrowPYCSkabenga
71952Durban30 m2F. MeadowsPYCAvocet
81953Durban30 m2L.E. Thomas/A.AustinRCYCTarpon
91954Cape Town30 m2G.I. BartholemewZVYCYvette
101955Cape Town30 m2L.E. ThomasRCYCTarpon
111956Cape Town30 m2M. GronnZVYCYvette
121957Cape Town30 m2H.W. KohlerRYCTrickson II
131958Algoa Bay30 m2W.I. HancockRNYCSunmaid
141959Durban30 m2W.I. HancockRNYCMariquita
151960Durban30 m2L.N. HorsfieldCNRapid
161961Durban30 m2L.N. HorsfieldCNRapid
171962Durban30 m2W.I. HancockRNYCMariquita
181963Durban30 m2L.N. HorsfieldHSCRapid
191964Cape Town30 m2W.I. HancockRNYCMariquita
201965Durban30 m2W.I. HancockRNYCMariquita
211966Durban30 m2W.I. HancockRNYCMariquita
221967Cape Town30 m2R.S. ChedburnRCYCYvette
231968Cape Town30 m2H.A. VanHoogstratenZVYCTrickson II
241969Cape Town30 m2C.C. BowleyHYCSunmaid
251970Cape Town30 m2W. Bongers/H.A.Van HoogstratenZVYCTrickson II
261971Durban30 m2J.M. WhittleRNYCSunrose
271972Durban30 m2D.L.CoxPYCTintomara
281973Cape Town 30 m2J.M. WhittleRNYCSunrose
291982DurbanIOR 3 TonH.F. Ellens/A.G. HurterPYCFuel Free
301983DurbanIOR 3 TonG.V. MeekRCYCRoyal Flush
311984Cape TownL26E. SternagelTYCGalactica
321985DurbanL26B. SavageUNYCElement
331986DurbanL26E. VanCuyck/C.P. KeepingRCYCOmega Heatwave
341987Cape TownL26E. VanCuyck/C.P. KeepingRCYCJoko II
351988Cape TownL26C. King/R. NankinZVYCSX Stainless
361989Cape TownL26C. King/R. NankinZVYCSX Stainless
371990Cape TownL26C. King/R. NankinZVYCSX Stainless
381991Cape TownL26G. DavisHBYCJudron
391992Cape TownL26C. KingZVYCFG Minnitt
401993SaldanhaL26C. KingZVYCFG Minnitt
411994SaldanhaL26C. KingZVYCDalys Insurance
421995SaldanhaL26G. Davis/D.HudsonRCYCMBS
431996Cape TownL26M. Schultz/G. MeekHYCAfrica Glass
441997Gordons BayL26G. Davis/D.HudsonRCYCMBS Challenger
451998Algoa BayL26P. Shaw/S. Du ToitGBYCFedsure Medway
461999Gordons BayL26C. King/R. NankinTSCDalys Insurance
472000Simons TownL26G. Davis/M. SadlerRCYCRCYC Orion Challenger
482001Cape TownL26R. NankinTSCDalys Insurance
492002Cape TownL26I. AinslieZVYCMSC Donna Mia
502003DurbanL26R. Nankin/M. SadlerTSCDalys Insurance
512004Cape TownL26R. NankinTSCDalys Insurance
522005Cape TownL26D. Hudson/R. HudsonRCYCRCYC Greenlight
532006Cape TownL26G. Davis/G. BlankenbergTSCDalys Insurance
542007Cape TownL26G. Davis/G. BlankenbergTSCDalys Insurance
552008Cape TownL26G. Davis/G. BlankenbergTSCDalys Insurance
562009Cape TownL26G. Davis/D. RaeRCYCDalys Insurance
572010Cape TownL26G. Davis/G.  BlankenbergKYCColorpress
582011Mossel BayL26G. Davis/D. RaeKYCColorpress
592012False BayL26R. RobinsonRNYCOrion B2G2
602013DurbanL26R. WeddelPYCPYC Choose Life Coordination
612014False BayL26G. Davis/D. RaeRCYCCo-Ordination
622015Cape TownL26G. Davis/D. RaeRCYCCo-Ordination
632016Cape TownL26G. Davis/D. RaeRCYCCo-Ordination
642017Cape TownL26Roger HudsonRCYCRCYC Race Ahead
652018DurbanL26Roger HudsonRCYCRCYC Homechoice
662019Cape Town Cape 31 M. Hayton / D. Rae WYAC Nitro