Pacer Fleet Shakedown Cruise
During the course of the past week a number of senior yachtsmen and keelboat owners were invited to participate on Saturday afternoon in a shakedown cruise and white sail photo shoot on board the Club’s newly acquired fleet of Pacer 27 sport boats. Respondents to the invitation were accepted on a first response basis and within moments of the invitation being issued all four places were secured by enthusiastic members. Following a briefing in the Foredeck and the completion of all the documentation and formalities the individual boats were allocated by way of a draw of lots. The excited crews then proceeded down to the fleet moored in front of the clubhouse where the inventory checkout and equipment issue formalities were concluded and the 4 skippers took command of the fleet. Once the crews familiarised themselves with the boats and all the onboard equipment each boat was rigged and slipped elegantly down the Silburn Channel under power with each outboard engine starting for the first time without hesitation.
A brisk North Easterly greeted the fleet as the crisp new white sails were hoisted for the first time and the boats sailed in formation around Scorpio providing the photographer with a an opportunity to capture the fleet under sail with the Durban skyline in the background. After several attempts at lining the fleet up line astern they proceeded down the Maydon Channel in close quarter formation enjoying some exhilarating speeds and providing wonderful photo opportunities and a beautiful spectacle for those ashore at the Club.
While the original intention was for the fleet to join the dinghy fleet for a short race it was judged prudent to abandon the idea of the race so as not to interfere with the dinghies in the blusterous conditions and confined waters of the channel. The fleet returned to moorings to de-rig and complete the inventory check in and equipment return formalities. Although a foreign concept to local yachtsmen the formalities proved no more onerous than hiring a car and all the participants concurred that this formal approach is necessary to maintain the integrity of the fleet and protect the Club’s assets.
Valuable lessons were learnt during the fleet’s first outing and the crews returned to the Foredeck for a formal debriefing and recording of one or two minor deficiencies which will be remedied before the fleet next returns to service. The overwhelming consensus of all the participants was that the highly responsive and very lively Pacer Fleet performed superbly and this provides the Club with a unique opportunity to showcase and make sailing accessible to all members and prospective members. Members are encouraged to make use of the fleet and participate in sailing events as this is a unique benefit and privilege of membership of the Club and is in keeping with other Royal clubs around the world.
Our grateful thanks to Barry Meehan for organising the photographer and photo shoot, Moses Cele for driving Scorpio, Brad Rayson, Gavin Wadsworth, Neil Wadsworth and Graham Rose together with their enthusiastic crews for taking the fleet out for the occasion and to international sailing apparel brand Henri Lloyd for sponsoring the day.