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Youth Sailing Is Alive And Thriving At RCYC

Youth Sailing is alive and thriving at RCYC

Saturday, first day of the youth regatta sponsored by Pick n Pay dawned and 80 young sailors trickled into the club, past a tray of hot bacon and egg rolls and coffee for the start of the Youth Keelboat Regatta. L26’s, L34’s and Miuras had been begged and borrowed for the event. MacATini and Hooligan from False Bay had only arrived on Friday late and still had to be rigged and MacATini cleaned after two years of storage. A flurry of activity preceded the opening and boat handling and safety talk by Robbie van Rooyen and the crews were off overloaded with lunch packs or water, fruit, energy bars and sandwiches. Some last minute boat swops were made as some were withdrawn and others offered.


Eleven yachts, Three Miuras, Spirit, Iechyd Da and Chen, one L34-Lapwing, Impact and 6 L26s finally headed out to a gentle westerly wind at midday for the tune up race. Impact arrived after the start with the Atlantic Yachting team having only boarded their Impact at 11, kindly provided by Jackie Brand at the last minute after we couldn’t start their allocated Miura’s engine. Teams from Langebaan, False Bay, Hout Bay, UCT, MAC, Imperial Yacht Club and RCYC Sailing Academy and a team all the way from Mossel Bay and some individual entrants were here to sail.

Gathered for the team photo
Two short windward leeward races were sailed after the tune-up race with UCT “Southern Charte” Maverick showing the others the way in both races.

This is how the Youth Keelboat regatta started. Following on from the successful RCYC hosted youth regatta in 2012, introducing these young dingy sailors and some inexperienced sailors the opportunity to experience working as teams racing on keelboats at sea. The sailors ranged in age from the youngest Dean (12) on the RCYC Sailing Academy L26 JML1 and Anke, the youngest girl (14) on Chen from Mossel Bay Yacht Club to the older and more experienced up to the age of 28. Boat owners that couldn’t spare the time organized representatives to accompany their yachts to ensure the safety of the yacht and crews.  On Saturday night Olympian Sailor Penny Alison of SailPro gave some guidelines on the Latest Racing Rules and situations, and then spoke about protests and their role in yacht racing, before the aroma of hot spaghetti bolognaise supper attracted the hungry sailors still remaining to the serving tables and supper into empty tummies.


Racing was delayed till noon on Sunday as the winds were forecast to be light till then. Three races were sailed in moderate southeasterly winds up to 18 knots. UCT Maverick, Lapwing sailed by the Red Bull Americas Cup youngsters and JML3, the Hout Bay team skippered by Theo Yon training for Lipton in Durban next month, showing their superior experience and boat handling. JML1 managed to lose their helmsman overboard and the Atlantic Yachting team from Langebaan on Impact came to the rescue just too late before JML recovered their man from a cold Atlantic.  The Atlantic Yachting team was recognised for seamanship and sporting behavior after this demonstration of their sailing ability and sportsmanship. They also were recognized for retrieving UCT Maverick’s tiller extension from being “lost at sea”.


Sunday night entertainment….what we had all, been waiting for, a video presentation by the South African Red Bull America’s Cup Youth team’s Mike Ovenstone and Matt Whitehead, Chris Gough and David Shilton. Loud music and dramatic footage of the AC45 racing struck hard into our stomachs and the excitement of sailing twice wind speed in these winged mainsail catamarans could be felt in the atmosphere.

The UCT Southern Charter Maverick team that won overall.


JML 3 HBYC winning 2nd Place.

The Red Bull Team on Lapwing third overall.


Monday dawned and racing was again delayed to a later start, light morning winds to blame. By midday the wind had perked up from the east and the race officers Ron Keytel and Adrian Spencer-Jones got the keelboats away for a long, two lap race from Paarden Island down to a laid mark off Blouberg Dolphin Beach. Steady winds had the boats fully powered up for some gorgeous sailing up and down Milnerton and Blouberg beaches presenting excellent close up action for spectators on the beach.


The regatta ended with the two Lipton trainee yachts UCT Southern Charter Maverick first, JML2 from Hout Bay second and Lapwing with the Red Bull team third.

The Pick n Pay Youth Keelboat regatta L26’s racing downwind in ideal conditions. Looks like Lipton will be coming back to Cape Town.


Winning the event were the recipients of the Parasailor SA (The Downwind Sailing Company) sponsored prize of a day skippers course in Langebaan with the Atlantic Yachting Sailing School. Two winners were impossible to choose from. Why were they winners? The prize was to be awarded to a single soul who had contributed most to the yacht judged by Tracy Whitehead, Louise du Plessis and Ian Slatem, the race chairman, rated on cleanliness and being shipshape at the end of each days racing. It’s a big ask for the yacht owners to lend us their yachts.

Shannon du Plessis on Impact and Scott Glover from Imperial Yacht Club and a cadet member of RCYC on the Miura Spirit were both nominated on each day and the two yachts had each scored 59 out of a possible 60. An impasse emerged when they were asked why the award was being made. Both gave great answers. What now? Two winners, one prize. Then a welcome voice emerged from the back of the Hall. RCYC’s Luke Scott, Rear Commodore of Sailing broke the impasse. RCYC sponsored a second day skipper course. Both of these young sailing enthusiasts were awarded the prize. Thanks RCYC and Toni Mainprize, Owners, Race officers, bridge crew, Tracy and Louise and a big thanks to Pick and Pay who promised to sponsor the event again in 2014. Youth sailing rules!


Shannon du Plessis from Langebaan with the Atlantic Yachting team and Scott from Camps Bay on Spirit tell us why Parasailor SA’s prize was being awarded

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