Durban all set for the Vasco

2015-04-22 00:00

A FLEET of 19 yachts take to the ocean this Saturday for the Vasco da Gama race from Durban to Port Elizabeth. Hosted by Point Yacht Club, the 400 nautical mile ­journey takes the field along one of the world’s most tricky and treacherous coastlines.

History is being made this time around with the race heading south as for the past 30 years it has started in Maputo, Mozambique, and finished in Durban. This should not deter defending handicap champion Gregg Hurter and his crew on Bellatrix from going all out to defend their line honours, the same applying to the husband and wife pair of Michael and Heidi Kavanagh who took overall honours last year in Ray of Light.

Besides warding off the challenge of the field, the Kavanaghs will have some family hierarchy to take care of, with Heidi’s sister Sigi and husband Anthony Bailes sailing Nemesis to Port Elizabeth.

Adding more spice to the race are six boats from outside KwaZulu-Natal, the first time since 2008 this has been recorded. There are also two boats from Richards Bay. The first to arrive in Durban was Star Spirit under the command of Willie Pretorius. The boat travelled by road from Gariep Dam to East London and then took to the water to sail up to Durban.

Other boats to steadily arrive for the start include Rocket with ­Herbert Karolius in charge, making the trip from Cape Town; Wallbanger from Port Elizabeth, Gumption also from Cape Town and Nemesis from Port Elizabeth. Due to arrive soon are Alacrity from Richards Bay and Al-Mount Gay Rum from the mother city.

Off the water, there are three new additions to the trophies offered. The Dave Cox Memorial trophy is waiting for the first line honours in the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) division, the De Beyer Memorial for the first Point Yacht Club boat across the line on handicap in the PHRF division and the Algoa Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) trophy awaits the first ­ABYC boat across the line.

Vasco da Gama fleet list

Al-Mount Gay Rum - Rob van Rooyen

Alacrity - Dave Taylor

Skitzo - Nigel Milln

Majimoto - Jon Marshall

Nemesis - Anthony Bailes

Bellatrix - Gregg Hurter

Gumption - Nicholas Mace

Ray of Light - Michael and Heidi Kavanagh

Rocket - Herbert Karolius

Star Spirit - Willie Pretorius

Deo Volente - Trevor Donald

Wallbanger - John Tudehope

Bellissama - Vernon and James Goss

Alkistis - Christo Moller

Numzaan - Ron Schwalbach

HQ2 - Grenville Wilson

Nomad - Craig Deverson.

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