CAPE TOWN – Young sailors from all over Cape Town took to the sea on Saturday morning for the Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC) annual Youth Regatta. The motto for the weekend’s racing was 'Celebrating our youth, celebrating our future.'
This year three classes of boats were invited to participate and a fleet of 19 yachts of various sizes could be seen racing in Table Bay. A total of 158 sailors took part in the Regatta, of which 112 were under the age of 28.
The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), this year's co-presenter, has recently become involved in RCYC's youth training programmes for the marine industry, focusing mainly on youth from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
This programme, as well as sailing academies and skills development initiatives by Western Cape yacht clubs, are successfully transforming the sport of sailing, with numerous sailors from disadvantaged backgrounds participating in prestigious regattas and races both nationally and internationally.
The Youth Day Regatta, which also prepares young local sailing teams for the upcoming Lipton Cup, which is to be held in Durban this year, was divided into three classes according to yacht size and speed.
The fleet faced really difficult, yet challenging conditions on both competition days.
Big swell left over from last week's stormy weather and a fairly consistent breeze provided challenging conditions for racing. Whereas the wind threatened to die down completely on Saturday, which is bad news for any sailing race, the cold front heading towards the Cape on Sunday brought some fairly strong, gusty North Westerly winds.
All in all, the Weather Gods made sure that they tested the sailors' complete set of skills, before allowing them to return to the safety of the harbour in the early afternoon on Sunday, the second and final day of racing.
The Royal Cape's team 'Home Choice' (skippered by Roger Hudson), which will be representing RCYC in Durban from 7-14 July, won the first place overall in their class (C) with an impressive, solid performance. RCYC's Sailing Academy team, skippered by Sibu Sizata, finished second overall.
Of the larger yachts that entered this year, a locally manufactured yacht Cape 31 named 'Turquoise' (skippered by Heidi Burger) took the first place in Class B, while Zeekoevlei Yacht Club's team, sailing on 'Naledi', skippered by Felix Scheder-Bieschin, won overall in Class A.