Capsizes add to regatta excitement on PE lake

CATCHING WIND: Competitors in the inter-club sailing regatta in hot pursuit of each other on North End lake at the weekend. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI
CATCHING WIND: Competitors in the inter-club sailing regatta in hot pursuit of each other on North End lake at the weekend. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI

A TOTAL of 37 sailing dinghies contested the opening round of the inter-club sailing regatta held for the first time on North End Lake at the weekend.

A south-westerly wind over the kidney-shaped lake presented an interesting course-setting conundrum for race officer Ronnie Baer. He settled for a four-mark course with a short beat from the stadium side up to the Coca-Cola factory, followed by a short downwind run, a reach along the Sydenham shore past the Zports offices, another beat up to the mark off near Aspen and a long run down to the bottom mark off of the stadium.

There was a rinse and a repeat before the fleet finished the 40- minute course.

Two races were sailed and the fleet sent home before the rising wind topped 30 knots, with a few capsizes leading to excitement on the water as rescue boats were called into action.

Before the first race started, Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Marion Harning presented Algoa Bay Yacht Club member Georgiou Divaris with his South African sailing colours, which he was awarded for a number of significant sailing achievements.

Georgiou won the laser 4.7 National Sailing Championships, took the gold medal at the RS Tera World Championships and achieved a bronze medal at the African Optimist Sailing Championships.

Georgiou, who lives in Knysna and is coached by Algoa Bay Yacht Club’s Ronnie Baer, also recently won the School Sportsman of the Year 2013 award presented by the Western Cape Cultural Affairs and Sport Department.

Sailing conditions on the lake present some interesting challenges, with the surrounding industry creating atypical wind shifts. Hobie sailor Rob Archibald, sailing with his son Blaine, said: “Coming up to the top mark I could see that under normal circumstances out at sea we would have had to tack twice to make the mark, but it was almost as if the wind bent to give us a lift out of nowhere and shoot us around.”

A total of 11 classes of boat are sailing. They have been split into three fleets, with two starts for each race. Scoring is done to a Portsmouth handicap, which allows for the different boat sizes to be scored equally to determine an eventual winner.

 

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