A busy weekend of yachting enjoyed by sailors

2008-11-20 00:00

EIGHT yachts entered race two of the HMYC Partington Plate and the Caruthers Jug race on Saturday afternoon.

It was pleasing to see eight Hunters competing with the L26 of Georg Muller and the Hickman 680 of Anton Ellens. The wind was a moderate easterly and race officer Elspeth Gray set a good course around the fixed marker buoys in the main bay at Midmar. The Hunters enjoyed very good racing, but were dominated by Odin’s Eye, sailed by Tony Cockerill and Hank Pike.

Although starting late, the Hickman 680, with Anton Ellens at the helm and crewed by Vaughan Gerson and friends Shaun and Kevin, soon sped into the lead and disappeared into the distance. Despite using a small spinnaker as their big one was torn, they took line honours by about half an hour. However, after all this, they were handicapped into last place.

This is very disappointing to all competitors. Handicaps should be reviewed often, performance carefully noted and the handicaps adjusted regularly to give everyone a chance. This applies particularly to the backmarkers, who seldom appear among the winners on handicap. If yacht racers are to be encouraged, everyone should have a chance to win something on handicap.

The Hunter Odin’s Eye crossed the line first, just six seconds ahead of Georg Muller’s L26 Desiree. The Hunter Picannin, sailed by Tim Duguid and Geoff Scallan, came in third, followed by Knip sailed by Mark Patrick and Andy Arbuckle.

Handicap results: first, Odin’s Eye; second, Picannin; third, Knip.

This Sunday, HMYC is holding their Ron Weston Marathon to be sailed right around Midmar. This long-distance race usually attracts a big entry. It is very challenging, testing yachts and crews to the full. It is hoped there will be a good breeze to speed the yachts on their long journey.

Among the entries will be two Soling keelers. These beautiful, sleek 29-foot (8,8 m) yachts are a sight to behold with their large spinnakers. Used for years as the Olympic three-man keel boats, HMYC used to have a magnificent fleet of these yachts, but they have slowly moved to other venues.

On Sunday, Nico Jacobs’s yacht will be skippered by Keith Gerson, and Georg Muller’s will be sailed by Giuseppe Fardello and family. The race officer will be Roy Shooter. A skippers’ briefing takes place at HMYC at 10.30 am.

Five Radio sailors took part at HMYC on Saturday afternoon at Midmar and relished the conditions. Eight very good races took place, with all skippers deciding to use their middle-sized sails once again. The one-metre yachts handled the conditions beautifully and all enjoyed good racing.

The founder of the R36 Shipmate class, Peter Simons from Durban, sailing his new yacht, was in fine form, running out the winner on eight points. Desmond Fairbank from MRYC finished second on 12 points and Gerson came third on 24. Guy Bompas was fourth on 27 and Alex Gracie fifth on 31.

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