24-hour challenge 'brings people together'

Teams took part in the Mac 24-hour sailing challenge at Milnerton at the weekend.

Teams took part in the Mac 24-hour sailing challenge at Milnerton at the weekend.

Published Mar 19, 2018


Sailing enthusiasts, young and old, from across the Western Cape filled the waters of the Milnerton Aquatic Club (Mac) at the weekend as

34 boats, with 12 team members each, competed in the

annual Mac 24-hour sailing challenge.

In its 21st year, the competition is an endurance event that sees teams sailing their boat with a handicap, non-stop for 24 hours as many times as possible.

Participating teams included the Royal Cape Yacht Club Sailing Academy, Izivunguvungu & Hout Bay Yacht Club Sailing School and the Zeekoevlei Yacht Club, among others.

In the end it was Team Frog from a local church that walked away with first place.

Cihlonele Ben, 18, from the Royal Cape Yacht Club Sailing Academy, said: “The competition was very exciting. Despite the gusting winds, we managed to keep on. It was especially challenging at night because there was no light and when the wind shifts at night, you cannot see it but you feel it when it hits you.”

Ben said the highlight was sharing the experience with new people who shared his passion for sailing.

“I love sailing, it connects many people and introduces you to stuff you didn’t know and places you didn’t see.”

Race officer Paul Allardice said the teams did fairly

well considering the tough conditions.

“These are not very

competitive guys, some are new to the sport, but they did well.

“It is a great drawcard for juniors when they are new

to the sport and it builds camaraderie.

"Teams are diverse with novice and experienced skippers on board. We had competitors ranging from six to 60 years old,” Allardice said.

Overjoyed parent Cheryl Johannes, from Bridgetown, said it was the first time her 15-year-old son had competed.

“It was very exciting to watch. He just joined the sport three weeks ago, through the Woltemade naval academy. I would love for him to continue because it was really a good experience,” Johannes said.

Karen Slater, from Zeekoe-

vlei Yacht Club, said: “We had six teams competing. In two teams we had kids from nine to 12 years old and during the night time the wind was rough. One team did well, while the other had some capsizes.”

Slater said sailing was a phenomenal sport that allowed for a lot of personal growth.

“There are no boundaries or limits, you are the captain of your own ship, you call the shots out there because it’s your life and your survival depends on you,” she said.

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