A storied annual regatta held on iconic Table Bay, Cape Town Race Week wrapped up on 16th December seeing North-powered teams at the front of IRC and Club Racing fleets. The event draws back to the first Rothmans Week held in 1974, when it was a week long regatta capped off with a two day long distance race.
Now 40 years later, the passion for a premier event remains. The Royal Cape Yacht Club has found a solid partner in Maserati, a team that aims to grow the event, under a new guise, to once again become the prominent regatta it was.
One of five regional IRC events held between late September and late February, Cape Town Race Week is host to a quality local IRC fleet and two divisions sailing under the RCYC Club handicap system. Johannesburg’s Mike Hayton claimed the big win under IRC, for the Overall IRC title, with his Corby 49 Nitro. Among the Nitro crew was North Sails’ David Rae, one of many North Sails team members on the water that weekend.
Racing kick-started on Friday with an evening race held just off of the V&A Waterfront, in a dying westerly wind which slowed leaders until the wind filled from the northwest, ensuring a complete race before competitors retired at dusk. Saturday greeted Race Officer Rob Willcox with a glassy sea, steering his choice of course off the Sea Point for a triangular sprint race. Soon the wind started to swing rapidly toward the prevailing southeasterly, making the afternoon race interesting to say the least! A longer coastal race was set with a changeable windward leg, directly into the switching southerly. The course sent competitors around the breaking Barker Rock off Clifton, and doubled back to the start off Rocklands near Sea Point. The faster boats raced two laps. Before their midway point the gusts were pumping down the mountainside with winds varying as high as 20 kts and as low as five knots within minutes.
Sunday marked the Medium Distance Race, a 26 mile course leading the fleet down to a mark off Koeberg, about 12 miles to the north of Cape Town, and back. The fourth and final race day was a public holiday and racing resumed with some excellent sailing held off the Granger Bay/Green Point coastline. Here the southwesterly funnels down Signal and Lions Head peaks, creating more wind than anywhere else in the area. The fleet raced up and down close to the shore to use the port lifts right alongside the Kelp beds.
Clients of North Sails dominated IRC 1, IRC 2 and RCYC Div 1 podiums, while RCYC Div 2 saw North-powered boats claim 2nd and 3rd place.
Mike Hayton of Johannesburg claimed the big win under IRC, for the Overall IRC title, with his Corby 49 Nitro. Hayton brought outstanding feedback on their new code sail which was designed for a wider range, “The new North Sails furling Code 0-5 is a real weapon and we had a moment when we set it on the Medium Distance Race on the final reach into the finish in 25-28 knots at 115 TWA – We were absolutely flying at 18-20 knots, an awesome sail!”
Vulcan was a strong challenger and used her new 3DL 860 main and J1 light – medium to great effect. Arguably the most competitive downwind boat, she has certainly lifted her upwind speed dramatically since fitting these two sails.
IRC Class 2 podium finisher JJ Provoyeur sailed his Mumm 36 BallyHoo Too using a new aramid main and found a few new gears. The team lifted their performance enough to claim victory from J133 Jacana.
RCYC Div 1 top boats featured new North Sails as well. Aboard Yolo was a short luffed, roachy J1 medium-heavy which proved their “go to” sail. While the South African Navy entry Amusha Moya, in 2nd place, extended their inventory by adding a new S2, J1 and Code Zero. In 3rd place, Luke Scotts used his new S2 a huge amount for a boost in light to medium air, which North Sails built in the week prior to the regatta.
“North Sails puts a massive effort into the competitors who race these events and the rewards are there to see,” said Rick Nankin, manager of North Sails Cape Town. “With big participation from North staff, spread across a number of successful yachts, we open opportunities to help owners get the right sails on board and sail faster with improved results. We greatly enjoy working with this small but keen and passionate fleet of Cape Town sailors.”
North Sails Cape Town is located at 44 Auckland Street Paarden Eiland, for information on North Sails products and service in the Cape Town area, please contact Rick Nankin: firstname.lastname@example.org | +27 (0)828309892
All images credit Trevor Wilkins Photography