Report back by Luke Scott
The colourful burst of energy and potential that is the Cape 31 fleet was treated to benevolent westerly winds, mostly in the 10 - 18 knot range, and warm weather for the inaugural “Summer in the South” International One Design Regatta. The regatta was held over two days, and included the successful completion of all six scheduled races – three on each day. Innovative International Race Officer, Stuart Childerley, who is now no stranger to the intricacies of this bay, having been well tested here twice before, brought a variety of sailing challenges to the race course, including downwind and reaching starts, varied point of sail courses to compliment the traditional up and down racing, and some quirkiness like introducing the odd starboard weather mark rounding, to test the ability of the sailors to adapt to change.
All seven boats built to date, including two with visiting international crews, lined up to accept the challenge, and over the course of the regatta, proved that it’s anyone’s game in this class.
Three different boats managed wins, and four different boats scored seconds. The well-oiled local TnT team showed terrific consistency, pace, and good judgement to end up comfortable regatta winners, but the battle for second was a very close affair. In the end, just one point separated second from fourth before the discard, and just three points after the discard. Flame, Caro [Scud] and Nemesis’ claim on the second place position was very much alive right up to the last race. Nemesis showed great consistency with four 3rd and two 4th places. They are a very competitive and competent local team, and have not yet had much time aboard to learn the boat, having just been launched in December. The visiting teams on Flame and Caro, somewhat understandably, blew hot and cold, with very little time in the saddle to acclimatise.
Max Klink from Germany, with a host of internationals from his Botin 65 team Caro (including ex South African Jono Swain) sailed aboard the local boat Scud; while Marton Jozsa and his Hungarian team from the RP 60, Wild Joe, sailed on Flame. The intention of having a practice day before the regatta was thwarted by a powerful south easter in the forty knot range. However, when things clicked, both teams showed that they had the skills and pace to compete. Both these teams each managed wins and second places. Apart from the fact that they did have some really good sailors aboard, this also showed that the boats are user friendly and respond well to sound input. It was great to see these two teams really enjoy themselves, and to tweak and tune their learning curve with each race.
Day 1 Overview: The committee boat set up station just east of the harbour channel, between buoys #2 and #4, but closer to #2. A warm sunny day after some early morning fog, with flat seas and a beautiful westerly wind in the mid-teens, building gently at times to high teens. The Race Committee started the day with two short windward leeward practice races, before mixing up some courses with twists for the first three races of the regatta.
Day 2 Overview: Such a beautiful day, in an amazing picturesque bay, flat seas, with a wonderful consistent west north west breeze in the early teens. With just seven one design boats out on the water with the whole bay to themselves, one has to ask, does it get any better than this? Amazing.
The TnT team showed the fleet the impact of familiarity of crew with their machine, sound boat handling, team work and sound tactical decisions. The two international crews on Flame and Caro improved on all of these with each race, which one would expect from top sailors, By the last race, both looked like they’d really worked the boat out. Nemesis will be pleased they’ve now had more time in the saddle on their new boat, and showed good pace and consistency throughout. CuAl6, Vivaldi and Ski all showed improvement and can look to consolidate now, knowing that the slickness of boat handling is something that will improve with solid practice.