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,