The overcast weather on Sunday morning provided some welcome relief from the heat and humidity of the previous few days. With a 20knot south westerly breeze a fleet of 7 enthusiastic keelboats proceeded off shore for the Commodore’s Cup.
The course was amended at the briefing to a windward leeward course of 2 laps using the fairway buoy as the leeward mark. Fortunately there were no commercial shipping movements during the race and the competitors benefited from a completely wide open race course and no need to factor any shipping activities into the race tactics.
She Myra enjoyed a good start leading the fleet across the start line. On the downwind leg Flyer and Zap tussled with each other while recording some good boat speeds and exhilarating surfs in what can only be described as wonderful sailing conditions. Flyer rounded the mark first followed closely by Zap and Mafuta not far behind with the Holiday 34 Sundance in hot pursuit. Flyer and Zap started the beat back to shore with Flyer managing to out point Zap however it was not long before Zap managed to sneak ahead and slowly establish a lead with both boats covering each other in the tacking duel to the weather mark laid just off Ushaka.
She Myra suffered some damage to her boom while approaching the fairway buoy but courageously carried on to complete the course under Genoa only while Deo Volente did a good job sailed singlehanded and the crew onboard Hobbit enjoyed the sailing conditions and a day out at sea. On the second downwind leg Zap managed to hold onto her leg and after achieving some nice sustained surfs of over 11 knots executed a perfectly timed gybe to approach the buoy firmly ahead of Flyer and Mafutu. On the beat home Flyer decided to split tacks leaving Zap seeking the inshore tack.
The warship F147, SAS Spioenkop, appeared out of the overcast grey conditions and very stealthily threaded her way through the fleet of boats beating back to the finish line. It was indeed a wonderful sight to see the various South African Navy vessels gathered in Durban including the submarine S103 SAS Queen Modjadji moored at A shed and open to the public as part of the Armed Forces Week.
While returning to moorings our thoughts turned to the SS Mendi and her loss 100 years ago which is being commemorated this week. Once back at the Clubhouse the crew’s enjoyed the usually after sailing camaraderie and were joined later in the afternoon by Captain Allen Pembroke and a group of senior members of the South African Defence Force who enjoyed an afternoon braai, unfortunately the wind did not settle down as quickly as predicted but this did not seem to deter those assembled on the Ndongeni Lawns. Those yachtsmen not participating certainly missed out on great day’s sailing.