Inter-schools/varsities/colleges Newsletter, 19 March 2020

Dear sailors,

The inaugural combined inter-schools and inter-varsity regatta was a great success, thanks to all the hard work of Pam, the Bridge, Rescue, Galley and many others, including, of course, our loyal sponsors, Coca Cola, who have supported our inter-school event for years! Four races were sailed in good conditions on the Saturday and another two on Sunday. The races on Saturday afternoon were sailed in a steady south-easterly, which allowed for some long, competitive beats, while Sunday started in little water and less wind and then became increasingly difficult as a gusty breeze picked up from the south west.

Matt van Rensburg, Cameron Hills and Sophie Hynch were placed first, second and third in the Laser class. Mike Hardy and Bulumko Majezi (Rhodes) won the Open A fleet on a 420, followed by Nathan Muller and Jenna Bailes on the Sonnet (NMU), and Ashleigh Hellstrom and Ashlyn Heneke (Rhodes) also on a 420.

Thomas Young and Adam Jones sailed a private match-racing series on their Tera Sports as a mini-series within the larger Open B fleet that comprised six boats: the two Tera sports, two Gypsys and two Picos. Racing in this fleet was as hotly contested as it was in the senior fleets, and the final order was Thomas, then Alexander Harris and Malaita McGinn on a Gypsy for Rhodes, and then Adam.

I will mention just a few of the many highlights of the weekend. It was great to see so many sailors and their families and friends stay to enjoy the gathering on Saturday night. This, I suspect, had much to do with the fact that Rhodes University brought a crowd of students who kept the sailing and the social events lively. For a short while on Saturday evening I forgot that I was no longer a student. We were treated to a spectacular electric storm that swirled around the club for a few hours, while the insomniacs could enjoy the fiery-necked nightjar that sang from darkness until dawn. Another highlight for me was to see the two youngsters sailing their Tera Sports, especially Adam who was sailing his first regatta as a helmsman: both were competing against and amongst bigger boats and older sailors. They sailed long courses without complaint and struggled only in the final race when the gusts were just too strong. I should also mention Lauren Hynch and her crew-member Lia Damin, who competed in their first regatta together. If we can see more of our younger sailors make the leap that their older siblings have already made, and perhaps also introduce their friends to the sport while they do so, then I think that the future for our club is bright.

The Autumn Trophy Series was will be concluded on Sunday. The start is not before 13h30. This series is scored according to personal handicaps. So far, the usual order has been upturned.

Please see the letter from the Commodore about the implications of the Covid-19 viral pandemic. All forthcoming events, apart from club racing, have been cancelled or postponed. These are unusual times. Give each a wide berth.

Best wishes, Charles