An enthusiastic group of yachtsmen arrived at the Club on Sunday morning in time for the briefing for the offshore keel boat race to Umdloti and back. The Clubhouse was a hive of activity with the youth sailors participating in the Ethekwini Maritime Cluster Youth Development Regatta enjoying their breakfasts sponsored by the Club.
The keelboat sailors set out with the R B Townsend and Scorpio in attendance. The sea state proved to be rather lumpy and the north-easterly had firmly established itself by 10h00. One or two keelboats took one look at the sea just outside the breakwater and decided to spend their day within the shelter of the harbour leaving the rest of the fleet to tough it out.
Shortly before the start Oliver Jane suffered damage to the leech of her Genoa and Blue Moon experienced rudder problems forcing them to retire. Endless Summer and Flyer joined the start but also retired a short time later due to the conditions leaving Nimrod, Zap and Sundance to battle it out. Some good racing followed with Nimrod and Zap enjoying a tacking duel up the coast crossing tacks a number of times before Nimrod started edging ahead while Sundance opted for a slightly offshore course.
Scorpio provided the rounding mark a short distance before Umdloti with crew members Chris and Derek aboard displaying the M flag and celebrating Chris’ birthday at sea. Nimrod rounded first closely followed by Zap and Sundance in hot pursuit leaving Scorpio to follow the fleet home enjoying the surfing conditions. All eyes were on Nimrod with the fleet anxious to see what tactics she intended employing.
The fleet opted to run home under sail only while riding the difficult swells. Nimrod decided to change headsails which did not seem to provide the anticipated advantage while Zap playing host to visitors from Germany enjoyed a few surfs peaking at 14 knots providing the guests with a taste of the Indian Ocean. After 3 hours of racing the Bridge Crew on board the RB Townsend were no doubt pleased to see the fleet surfing home as they had endured a long day rolling and bouncing just off South Beach leaving some crew feeling a little less than perky.
The final result was line honours win for Nimrod followed a few minutes later by Zap and not much long after Sundance crossed the line to take 2nd place on Handicap with Zap taking 1st place on corrected time. Our grateful thanks to the Race Support crew for braving the conditions and providing some great fun for the competitors.