Pacer Team Racing Match 1

Pacer Sailing 1The Club was a hive of activity this weekend and the overcast weather was unable to dampen the vibrancy around the Clubhouse. The weekend provided a busy schedule of sailing with the first white sail Pacer Team Racing event on Saturday afternoon, on Sunday morning the larger keelboats participated in the PYC offshore race together with a number of the Pacers who took advantage of the light conditions offshore while the catamarans enjoyed sailing at high tide in front of the Clubhouse on Sunday afternoon providing a colourful spectacle for those gathered on the Ndongeni Lawns.

Perhaps the highlight of the weekend sailing was the Pacer Team Racing event which was greeted with much enthusiasm from the participants and spectators. While Team Racing is becoming the most popular racing format in Europe it is not so well known or appreciated in South Africa particularly Durban. However following our introduction of Pacer Team Racing this weekend we are certain this will become a popular feature of the local sailing calendar. Following the briefing the crews were randomly paired into teams with the participants drawing lots and then drawing their boat for the day from the hat.

The Blue team consisted of Patrick and Liam Harris together with Jeremy Kriek and Chris Kloppenborg onboard Pacer One with Coert Grobbelaar, Shawn Hamblin, Patricia Kilburn, Shireen and Taine Steytler on board Pacer Two, while the Yellow team consisted of Michael Boorman, Chris Coxen, Liam and Lauren on board Pacer Three with enthusiastic new members, Rowan, Thyrea, Amy & Gary Price on Pacer Four. It is most pleasing to see a number of families participating together and the enthusiasm of the younger members is most rewarding. It was also wonderful to see some of our highly experienced Flying Fifteen sailors making their debut on the Pacers.

The fleet left the moorings at 13h00 in a light drizzle with a 5 to 10 knot breeze, the course was laid in the Esplanade channel with the weather mark in the turning basin off Wilson’s Wharf and the leeward mark on the edge of the channel in front of the Clubhouse providing good spectator value for those ashore.

With the object of Team Racing not to merely sail the fastest shortest course but rather to ensure that your team mate is not the last boat to cross the finish line the racing format requires a paradigm shift and the competitors could be seen grappling with the idea of adjusting their sailing from a pure boat speed focus to a more tactical style. The shore based spectators kept the bridge crew busy with a barrage of telephone calls for updated commentary of the race as the blue and yellow identifying flags on the backstay of each boat where hardly flying in the light breeze making it difficult to identify the boats from a distance.  Pacer One and Pacer Three both managed to find the sandbank and soon realised that the boats are keelboats drawing more water than the crew realised,  this much to the unhappiness of the bridge crew who had to heave up anchor and standby to provide assistance. Pacer Two and Four enjoyed some good sailing at the front of the fleet and found themselves having to sail back more than once to assist their team mates who were having a tussle to avoid the dreaded fourth place. With some tactical sailing the Blue team managed to out manoeuvre the Yellow team winning the first match 2 – 0, which meant that the third race was not necessary much to the relief of the bridge crew as the light was already beginning to fade. The boats returned to moorings shortly before 17h00 and after de-rigging the crews returned to the Clubhouse where they excitedly discussed the afternoon’s racing and explained the fun they had adjusting to this new racing format.

The next Pacer Team Racing match is scheduled for next weekend and Members are encouraged to participate and reserve a place early to avoid disappointment as there are only 16 places available providing an opportunity to enter as a full crew of 4 or as an individual. Places are confirmed on a first served basis with a reserve list. Teams are selected by random selection and boats are allocated at the briefing by draw of lots. For more information and bookings contact Margie in the Sailing Office Tel: (031) 301 5425.

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