Durban’s own Bash

2014-09-18 00:00

THIS Sunday should see a multitude of yachts and colour off Durban as the sailing fraternity gets behind the global sailing challenge.

The inaugural Bart’s Bash will attempt to rewrite the record books as sailors around the world hit the water over 24 hours, thereby establishing a world record for the most boats in a sailing race.

More than 9 000 sailors worldwide and 716 clubs are participating in the event and closer to home, the Royal Natal Yacht Club (RNYC) open their summer sailing season on the day.

Andrew Simpson MBE gives his name to the event. Nicknamed Bart, he was an English sailor who won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, crewing for Iain Percy in the Star Class. Simpson tragically died while training for the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco when the catamaran he was on capsized in May last year, trapping him underneath.

RNYC commodore Graham Rose lent his support to the challenge, saying, “We are delighted to be part of this record-breaking attempt.

“The Andrew Simpson Foundation was created after his death to inspire the next generation of young sailors around the world and Durban is no exception.”

However, certain rules need to be adhered to in order to set a new world record. The course must be over one kilometre and competitors must sail for longer than 15 minutes. A single start and finish point is required and there must be a minimum of 25 boats participating.

“After all the formalities, we will be racing in the harbour to open up our season,” said Rose. “The day starts with the annual sail past where the flotilla will follow in a single line past dignitaries on a dressed-up yacht, donning their cap before heading off to race Bart’s Bash.”

Sunday will mark the start of RNYC’s 157th sailing season, the same number of years yachts have been racing on the bay.

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