Catching the breeze: Steven Medcalf, at the helm, left, and Juan Viljoen of the #EastLondon Yatch Club, in action during the 24-Hour Sailing Challenge hosted by Redhouse Yatch Club at the #NorthEndLake in #PortElizabeth. Picture: Brian Witbooi #NelsonMandelaBay #EasternCape #southafrica #PEvibes #ilovemycity #ProudlyPe #water #watersports #sailing #nmbstadium #instaview #blueskies #sunshine #sport #sail #teamsport #WhyWeLovePE #MyPE #CityOfPE #wind #HotshotsWP
Last year, the 24-Hour Sailing Challenge record on the North End Lake was set by Team Sonnet from the Algoa Bay Yacht Club, who completed 60 nautical miles in the 24 hour period.
This year’s winning team from the Redhouse Yacht Club, “The Dark Side”, smashed the record by sailing 101.5 nautical miles in 24 hours at the lake over the weekend.
Five teams from the Redhouse Yacht Club, two from Algoa Bay Yacht Club, one from the East London Yacht Club and one from NMMU took part in the gruelling challenge which saw the nine teams – up from six last year – pit their wits and stamina against each other in two-man boats.
They sailed shifts over 24 hours in winds that were consistently above 15 knots and gusting 30 knots, while one team paddled for 24 hours.
Saturday saw the boats sailing a port around, an anti-clockwise course from opposite the EP Powerboat Club to a mark off of Milner Avenue, reaching to a mark off the corner of Coca Cola and then straight back to the EP Powerboat Club.
The easterly wind was consistent and in the teens up until 10pm, when the wind shifted to the west and the boats changed direction to sail a starboard around a clockwise course.
Sailing in the “Full of Sheet” team of nine sailors were the Algoa Bay Yacht Club’s president, Sean Wiseman, Commodore Alan Straton and his wife, Glynnis.
Straton said: “To have Glynnis come out of ‘retirement’ and sail with me was special. We proved that we have not lost that innate understanding required between crew of actions needed to keep the dinghy pointed in the right direction and moving.
“Now to find a slightly bigger boat for next year’s event to accommodate both of us on the rail at all times!”
The lone paddling team from the NMMU Emergency Medical Care department succeeded in beating their existing record of 70.97 nautical miles by paddling 73.40 nautical miles.
Redhouse Yacht Club Sailing Commodore Tim Jones said: “What RYC believes is unique about the event is the two-handed boat requirement which encourages many junior sailors and novice crews to pair up with experienced skippers.
“This is attractive for people who may not have their own double handed dinghy.
“The teens find this event quite fun – not least of all because they get to stay up all night with full permission of their parents.
“It is a fairly competitive event and some friendly banter and rivalry happens on and off the water.”
A planned youth sailing league in two-person 420 dinghies is expected to create great impetus for this 24-hour challenge next year as even more youths are taught to sail.