Monthly Archives: March 2020

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

Autumn Series Newsletter, 9 March 2020

Dear sailors,

I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline and happened across some RYC sailing pictures from 1 March, which now seems a lifetime away. In just a few weeks, our worlds have changed. Nowadays I find myself reminiscing, with a sense of longing, about our still incomplete sailing season. This nostalgia prompted this overdue newsletter. In my defence, though I remain busy, time is less pressured. My usual sense of urgency has faded. Every cloud has a silver lining.

We managed a quick sail on the windsurfer on a deserted Bushman’s river one late Sunday afternoon, just a few hours before the President’s much anticipated announcement that the country would be closed for a period. Packing up, I wondered how long it will be before we get to enjoy being on the water again. This is a question that still has no answer.

The last RYC series to have been sailed was the Autumn series, which happened on 15 and 22 March. This series is scored according to personal handicaps. Though we expected the usual order to be overturned, the results were much as they normally are, with a few exceptions.

In the Open A fleet, Charlie Hills on a Laser Radial, and Pierre Goosen on a Full-rig Laser, tied in first place. Third place went to Matt van Rensburg, also on a full-rig Laser, and fourth went to Will Pierce-Jones on his Finn.

In the B fleet, Allan Impey, on his single-handed Gypsy, took first place, with the van Wyngaardts taking second on a Sonnet, while Emma Lucas and Cameron Hills were tied in third place – both having sailed on Tera Pros in preparation for the Tera World Championship, which was subsequently cancelled. Spare a thought for the youngsters who had been training and looking forward to this rare opportunity to sail in an international fleet on local waters. Same, too, for all the Laser and Finn sailors who were looking forward to the Nationals, now postponed.

Since then, we have missed out on the RYC ten-hour event and the Max Lippstreu race. The closing cruise and NSRI regatta are both due to take place on 19 April. While this falls outside of the three-week National lockdown, it hard to imagine that the season will close as scheduled. In the unlikely event that the lockdown is not extended, we can still expect many stringent measures to be in place for some months. Time will tell.

Redhouse Yacht Club has seen two world wars, the 1918 influenza pandemic and much more. We will sail again. Until then, take care.

Best wishes,