Ahoy Overnight Hearties!
The Overnight Race was sailed by an impressive and competitive fleet this weekend. Some big miles and hours were clocked up. By far the most impressive turnout came from the division one fleet. There were also most welcome entries from Saldanha Bay Yacht Club – “Shadowfax” and Hout Bay Yacht Club – “Faraway”.
With 21 entries and 18 yachts on the start line, there were 15 finishers. This is a very positive growth on last year, and this event will grow considerably in future, for sure! But there will be limits to growth, and those limits are yacht-owner and crew dependent. From a safety and competence point of view, this is a serious race. Minimum standards are set higher than in all other club events in the annual calendar, with minimum “coastal skipper” COC and “category C with life raft” COF. Thank you to our safety-at-sea committee for getting involved with scrutineering.
Another challenge, when you factor a return delivery into the equation, is that you are looking at about 200 miles on the log, especially if you sail it back into a South Easter!
The fleet set off together in the company of countless whales, dolphins, sunfish and seals, in a nice westerly to south westerly breeze, and this eased off into the night as the wind moved south and then began building again in the early morning. There were three waypoints set offshore of Cape Columbine for the three divisions, and most yachts would be rounding these at dawn, ready for the beat back to Saldanha in a building breeze. It was a quite spectacular beat, with most of the fleet opting to come inshore and play the lifts in each little bay, all the way back down the coast between Columbine and North Head. With plenty of potholes along the way, navigators were on their toes avoiding Soldiers Reef, Jacobs Reef, Danger Bay, Hospital Rock, Tooth Rock, and the Sisters, amongst plenty of other foul ground described on the charts.
What was also really enjoyable was how close the sailing was between the fleets with the faster yachts coming up through the div 2 and 3 fleets, who sailed appropriately shorter courses.
Then, a welcome pitstop at Yachtport in Saldanha for a spitbraai and prizegiving, before some well-deserved rest for many, or the delivery trip home for some into a choppy sea and strong breeze. To those yet to return, have a lekker and safe delivery.
Thanks to Yachtport and Novamarine for your support of the race. Thanks to race chair Rob Meek and to SBYC’s finishing bridge, all of whom assisted Toni and Adrian, of RCYC’s Sailing Office, in producing a fantastic event.
In final analysis from my personal viewpoint, that was a very worthwhile and challenging weekend. The last 100 mile plus race I sailed was the last Double Cape in 2009, but with that one you finish where you start – there is no return delivery. Because we return-delivered straight after the prize-giving, it was a lot of sailing. The last time I spent three days awake was at or just after varsity, either in the studio or clubbing up a storm. The one involved work, the other alcohol. So this experience brought with it a new dimension: all play, no work, no booze. A wonderful responsibility with a young and willing crew, and a challenge that we were up to in all respects.
Bravo Overnight Race, and congratulations to all participants!