The conditions were “light, but enjoyable” on day four of the Maserati Cape Town Race Week sailing event that’s been taking place in Table Bay since last Thursday. Tomorrow is a rest day for the weary crews, with the event culminating on Tuesday afternoon. A number of Cape2Rio yachts will also be participating in that final sail of Race Week.
For four days some of the most impressive yachts in South Africa have been battling it out at the premier regatta in the country. The Cape Town Race Week race village is situated in the V&A Waterfront, while the host club of the week’s sailing is the Royal Cape Yacht Club.
This year’s Cape Town Race Week, the second year the event has been held, has been blessed with good weather and enjoyable winds. Today was another fine day for the 30 participating yachts, with last year’s winner Nitro inching ever closer to a successful defence of their title.
The main event, IRC 1 Division, has been a two-horse race since last week, with Nitro and Cape Fling battling it out for supremacy. Cape Fling's challenge was dealt a blow on day one when they were disqualified after coming into contact with another boat at the start.
Nitro now sits on six points for the week, with Cape Fling in second on nine points. Third is Vulcan - a yacht that will also be competing in the upcoming Cape2Rio. Yachts are award one point for finishing first, two for finishing second, three for finishing third and so on. The yacht with the lowest points total at the end of the week wins.
In the club race, of which there are two divisions, Stella leads Division 1 with six points. In second position it is Cape Dancer RCYC Academy on 11 points. "It's been an excellent week," says Stella tactician Greg Thijsse. "Everything has been really well organised, while the shore-based activities have been outstanding. You feel like you're at an international event." Thijsse normally races IRC 1 Division, but was invited to participate with Stella as a 'guest tactician'. "I must say, the level has been higher than I expected. It's been great racing with the guys. As always with Cape Town, the wind has chopped and changed, but if you want to be the best, you need to be able to handle all conditions." In the club Division 2 Clean C Scarlet Sun leads with five points, three ahead of second-placed NSRI Far Med.
"Races like this are very important for the local sailing scene," says Cape Fling's skipper, Barney Smith.
"For general interest, it's a great way to showcase the sport, and for the participants it's nice to have a competition that runs for more than two days. It means that anything can happen over the week, making the sailing quite exciting."
Cape Fling is owned by Sir Irvine Laidlaw, who also previously owned Nitro. Having someone like Sir Laidlaw involved in Race Week is a great boon to local sailing and to the Royal Cape Yacht Club. "His boats bring out international crews," says Royal Cape Yacht Club commodore Vitor Medina.
“They will go home and spread the word of this great event, and the story will grow. I'm certain with his boat and crew competing that more and more people will be exposed to Cape Town Race Week."