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Portugal Day Race

Portugal Day Race

Royal Cape Yacht Club hosted the Dia De Portugal “Explore the Bay Pursuit Race” on Saturday, both celebrating Portugal Day, and paying tribute to the proud maritime history of that country and its earliest explorers to our shores…

32 yachts out of the entry list of some 43 yachts braved the rough sea, gusting winter winds, rain, cold, and plenty of kelp, to navigate a challenging 22 mile pursuit race course exploring all corners of Table Bay; including the rounding of marks off Sea Point, Woodbridge Island, the wreck of the Dyang Family (just south of Robben Island), Milnerton, and the Harken mark off Paarden Island.

Bridge officer Keith Mattison and the legendary volunteer bridge crew (thank you!) ran a smooth staggered start sequence of yachts from lowest to highest handicaps. The course was designed around a theoretical finish time of 16h00, with the first start at 12h00, and the last start at 13h50.


Although 17 out of 30 finishers managed to finish within 10 minutes either side of the 16h00 target finish, which in itself is superb, it is clear from the results that the challenging sea state and conditions appeared to disadvantage the smaller yachts in Division 3, all of whom took longer to complete the course than their handicaps would suggest. This was not the case with Divisions 1&2. There are a number of reasons for this, but in simplest terms, it is fairly demanding for a small crew on a small low-handicap yacht in the conditions we experienced on the day, so well done to all the division 3 sailors for sticking it out, many with skeleton crews and unable to take full advantage of their sail plans. 6 out of the 8 Miura’s that entered managed to complete the race.

An interesting feature of the event this year was that VMS Track set up live tracking of the fleet, relayed back to the clubhouse projector and TVs.

The RCYC Sailing Academy had both their L26’s on the water, sailing with full crews of graduates from our sailing program. The Academy’s Escape and JML1 finished at the front of Division 3, split by Peter Bam’s L26 hors d’ Oeuvres in second.

Division 2 was dominated by a commanding performance from Lapwing, followed by Always Well and Yolo.

Division 1 yachts clearly won the game of “catch up” in these conditions, and Vulcan was followed by A-L and After You into the top 3 positions in the division.

Overall it was Vulcan, A-L and Lapwing.

It was great to see the crew of the late Brian Gardener’s Rockstar out on the water, honoring his memory and sailing legacy. He would no doubt want it just like that.

The after race banter was readily forthcoming with comments around rigged ratings, courses that are too long, conspiracy theories, etc, but a stand out observation here is that those of us on the water on the day know why we were there, and it was a truly lekker and worthwhile day out, exploring our bay. Out of interest, there is an analysis of your on-the-day performance rating versus the theoretical finish time/corrected time for the day, that may be of interest. Results

Club stalwarts Vitor, Manuel, and their team from the local, regional and international Portuguese community prepared, presented and shared a wonderful meal, the traditional dancing, and an inclusive, fun-filled, entertaining prize giving. Thank you very much.

Outgoing RC Sailing Hylton Hale crowned a win on the day, and a massive contribution to our club’s sailing for the last 4 years, by “tolling the bell” in the packed club house bar later in the evening…which has its consequences, and certainly got the festive gathering to another level…there were some bleary eyes at the AGM on Sunday, but you only live once!

Thanks to Markus, Bridget, Toni, and all the staff at the club for assisting and hosting an outstanding event.


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