The Transnet Port Festival Pacer 27 Regatta provided a wonderful spectacle for visitors to the Bay over the weekend. The fleet was moored at the entrance to the marina with each boat proudly flying a Transnet flag from the forestay providing an impressive welcome to visitors. Following the usual skippers briefing held on Saturday morning in the Chart Room and completion of the necessary documentation the skippers were allocated their Pacer 27 for the regatta by the draw of lots. Terry Flynn and the Sundance crew drew Pacer One, the RNYC Lipton Team drew Pacer Four, Pat Boase and the Nimrod crew drew Pacer Three while Brad Rayson and the Flyer crew were allocated Pacer Two.
The hive of activity of the Pacer crew’s while rigging the boats and completing the check out procedure drew a large crowd of onlookers standing on the quayside who seemed enthralled and genuinely interested as the boats elegantly slipped their moorings and proceeded down the Silburn Channel. Once out in the Bay the fleet joined the other yachts mustering for the Sail Past at 13h50. Two Portnet tugs lead the fleet of dressed yachts down the Esplanade Channel and provided an impressive dance and display of jets of water from their powerful onboard fire fighting equipment arching over the fleet showering the bay and producing colourful rainbows. The spectacle of the Pacers, keelboats and Halcats proceeding down the channel, all sailing in formation, line astern of the club’s new bridge boat the R B Townsend certainly added to pageantry of the Port Festival.
After the sail past and once all the participating yachts had dispersed the bridge boat quickly set a windward leeward race course in the Esplanade Channel with the start line abeam of the shore based festivities taking place on the reclaimed land adjacent to the Clubhouse. Two races of 3 laps each where held with the Pacers racing in full sail including their large asymmetric spinnakers. The Pacer fleet was followed by a number of Sail Africa L26’s who also participated in the racing and enjoyed a separate start followed by the fleet of colourful Halcats who had the third start. The 3 separate start sequences with yachts all jockeying for position complete with starting flag and sound signals from the R B Townsend provided another interesting spectacle of those ashore. The light north easterly breeze provided a short beat from the start line to the windward mark which was laid on the edge of the channel providing excellent spectator value for those ashore as the yachts rounded the mark to port in quick succession before launching their spinnakers and charging off down the channel to the leeward mark laid in the turning basin abeam of Wilsons Wharf. The display of spinnaker work from the fleet provided as much excitement for the spectators as the competitors with boats trading places on the downwind run before battling it out again on the upwind beat. It was indeed a pleasant afternoon of sailing under clear skies and the mild winter sun. The yacht racing in the early sunset with sounds of jazz wafting over the Bay added to festive atmosphere.
Sunday morning produced even larger crowds of visitors to the Bay, but unfortunately with less wind for the racing, however after the two races of the previous day the teams were definitely more practised and experienced which yielded much improved boat handling and some close racing. Anyone ashore with a good camera would have had a wonderful opportunity to capture some amazing images of the Pacers racing downwind in close proximity to each other under spinnaker. Indeed the weekend display of yachting in the Bay would have produced some stunning photographic imagery. With a very light north easterly breeze the Race Officer took the wise decision to shorten the first race of the day to only two laps and after a second race in even less wind, which surprisingly proved to be no less exhausting and strenuous than the previous day, racing was sensibly abandoned for the day and the fleet returned to the moorings again elegantly entering their moorings and de-rigging much to the interest of the spectators assembled on the quayside.
The Transnet Port Festival Pacer 27 Regatta provided some interesting racing with each boat enjoying a mix of results and a great deal of fun for the competitors and spectators alike. We are grateful to Transnet for inviting the Royal Natal Yacht Club to participate in the Port Festival and showcase the Pacer 27 fleet and we look forward to the next RNYC Pacer 27 Fleet outing where we hope more members will volunteer to participate and enjoy the unique privilege offered by club membership while enjoying the camaraderie and pleasure of sailing aboard the Club’s very lively and sporty fleet of Pacer 27’s.
Results of the Transnet Port Festival Pacer 27 Regatta:
|Race 3||Race 4||Overall Points||Position|
|Pacer 004 / Lipton Team||1||1||2||2||6||1|
|Pacer 003 / Pat Boase & Nimrod Crew||4||2||3||1||10||2|
|Pacer 001 / Terry Flynn||3||4||1||3||11||3|
|Pacer 002 / Brad Rayson||2||3||4||4||13||4|