Offshore Durban: 14 – 17 April
A word to describe the Easter Regatta would be gnarly, over the four days the enthusiastic sailors from around South Africa were greeted with a pumping westerly that challenged the sailors over the four days.
Four classes lined up to compete: The 505 and Dart one up Nationals, the Hobie 14 Provincials and an Open Class. Local sailors representing Point Yacht Club claimed victory in three of the four classes. World class sailors, Peter and Thomas Funke (PYC) won the 505s, Ben Meine the Darts, Peter Hall (PYC) the Hobie 14 and Siyanda Vato and Nhlanhla Phakathi the Open Class.
Race Officer for the regatta, Jimmy Melville had a testing time on the bridge boat as he sat watching the wind speeds that registered near 20knots on most days, too dangerous for the small dinghy boats. Melville only managed to get in five races over the four days, with the second day of racing being abandoned.
On the first day, the fleet of 58 registered boats only launched in the mid-afternoon, managing to get in one windward leeward race. Sunday saw a diminished fleet venture off the beach early in a building breeze. Started at 10 – 15 and strengthened to the upper teens and nudged over 20knots, with racing being postponed for the day. Two races were run on a sausage, triangle, sausage course with the final race of the day being a quick-fire windward leeward course.
Monday the fleet ventured out with racing getting underway punctually tackling another sausage triangle racetrack. As racing got underway the westerly settled at around 15 – 18knots, peaking at 22 and then started heading to 25knots, Melville sent the fleet home early.
“A lot of the guys have said that the conditions were testing, and they were! A number of them went swimming, lots of capsizing and there were all kinds of upside down dinghies. It was just one of those regattas, a heavy wind regatta where we spent a lot of time rescuing the yachtsmen in adverse conditions. For me, Siya and Nhlanhla impressed, the outright winners in the Open class sailing majestically on their Flying Fifteen. As expected, the Funke brothers sailed a consistent regatta and won most races by a country mile. The Hobies was a bit more of a juggle and the Darts, well defending champion Meine from Stillbaai on the Vaal, continued to owned the class.”
Leading man in the 505s, Thomas Funke said, “Yeah, it was tight racing all round, absolutely good fun. I think there was competition everywhere in the fleet and for a lot of the guys it was down to the wire with not much in it!”
“Our campaign started early this year and we spent a lot of time on boat preparation. I would say that was key for us, sorting that out as we usually leave that as one of the last things. Peter and I made a huge effort to meet at least once a month to get on the water. We changed some of the rigging, got a new mast and a new set of sails. It worked well for us! The last day, seeing the predicted heavy conditions we changed to our old sails which made us a bit slower but we managed to tweak some of our settings and it was all good!”
“Of course, conditions were testing, that being said, the Cape Town guys loved the strong winds. The Gauteng lads found it a bit challenging at times but they had enjoyed it, and sailing in the warm water.”
“We were impressed by Euan Hurter who is out from the UK on holiday, he joined up with top South African Laser sailor Rudy McNeill who was really keen. The two of them were leading the races twice, they had some slight hiccups but did well to end up fourth.”
Ranked in the top ten 505s, the Funke brothers will be concentrating their efforts here this year, “Roundabout now, we would be packing up the boat and shipping it off to the Worlds, but we aren’t going to the States for the Worlds but have opted to stay here and build the local fleet. There is so much potential here, it looks really promising. Then maybe next year we will head to Europe to race there and then Australia in 2019.”
Leading Hobie sailor, Peter Hall said, “Overall, the regatta was great, I would say it was quite testy on the water. Conditions were quite blowy and in the only race held on the last day, first place changed about five times. Testament to the concentration required out on the water. It was very competitive racing. I capsized on the start line and managed to score a second in the last race, so only just managed to squeeze Garth out on points to claim the title.”
“My success would have to be down to boat speed, conditions were really trying the whole weekend, the surf conditions were tough. A couple of the up-country boys did alright on the water, the others struggled.”
Hall, together with second placed Loudon will be heading to Noordwijk aan Zee in the Netherlands in July to compete in the Hobie World Championships. “We will be joined by Dylan Alberts and James Butler who will be racing on a Hobie 16, Jethro Brophy Tintinger will be crewing for someone over there but Garth and I will be racing on the 14s. Leading up to then, we will be racing in everything we can. Next up is the SAS Grand Slam in Richards Bay, then it is the Hobie 14 Nationals in June here in Durban then off to Netherlands.”
Close of 100 sailors now have loads of tales to regale after a tough long weekend on the water at the Point Yacht Club’s Easter Regatta that took place offshore.
The next big event for the Point Yacht Club is their bit 125th Birthday celebrations on 14 May.
For more info visit www.pyc.co.za
Point Yacht Club
Offshore Durban: 14 – 17 April
1 Peter Funke / Thomas Funke 2 James Largier / Richard Hutton-Squire, 3 Alexander Ham / Jonathan Ham, 4 Euan Hurter / Rudy McNeill, 5 Kyle Klaas / Robert van Gruenewaldt, 6 Hans Rogotski / Greg Barnard, 7 Christian Holm / Warwick Ham, 8 Daniel Eigelaar / Andre Eigelaar, 9 Andrew Arthur / Andrew Arnold
1 Ben Meine, 2 Kobus Holtshause, 3 Rob Samways, 4 Gerhard Van Niekerk, 5 Kyle Bowman, 6 Vernon Brown, 7 Johan Slabbert, 8 Bradley Levin, 9 Derek van Heerden, 10 Liam Gunning
Hobie 14 Provincials
1 Peter Hall, 2 Garth Loudon, 3 Wayne Smith, 4 Richard Gorlei, 5 Justin Butler, 6 Jethro Brophy-Tintinger, 7 Dylan Lambie, 8 Rudy Rogge, 9 Sean Fennessy, 10 Ian Modola
1 Nhlanhla Pakathi / Siyanda Vato (Flying Fifteen), 2 Brandon Wijtenburg / Camryn Doubell (Hobie Tiger), 3 Refeloa Zillo / Buhle Charmane (Flying Fifteen), 4 Mark Wijtenburg / Dylan Albert (Hobie Tiger), 5 Triston Sommerville (Laser Radial), 6 Damian Sommerville (Laser Radial)
Wrap Up for Point Yacht Club Easter Regatta
Offshore Durban: 14 – 17 April