Fleet face fog and light winds
After first night at sea, fleet settle in to life in the Atlantic
Sunday 23 December, 2012 – The competitors on the 20 yachts, which started the 1,700-mile Governor’s Cup race from Simon’s Town to the island of St Helena at noon yesterday, are all safely round Cape Point and settling into the rhythm of the race after their first night at sea.
The powerful breeze at the start yesterday helped make the first, potentially tricky, part of the race, rounding Cape Point, a relatively straightforward affair. All yachts were round the Point before nightfall, allowing crews to concentrate on tactics as they headed into the Atlantic.
Most of the fleet suffered lightwinds overnight, which hampered progress but other than Tico-Tico, Steve Burnett/Jan Mare’s Maxim 38 multihull, which encountered auto-pilot problems, the fleet is now progressing slowly. The team on Tico-Tico decided to head into Hout Bay for assistance but on the way in the team managed to fix the autopilot fault, so are now back on course again, without losing too much on the rest of the fleet.
Although it is too early at this stage to identify the leading boat in the fleet, the tracker shows Rob Newman’s Du Toit catamaran – Compromise – from False Bay Yacht Club, currently at the head of the fleet, with the Royal Cape Yacht Club duo, John Sheen/Pat O’Brien’s Vickers 41 – Ielool, and John Levin’s Stadt 34 Indaba – close behind.
Royal Cape Yacht Club members Michael/Heidi Kavanagh aboard their Beneteau First 44.7 – Ray of Light – together with their regular race team, and their four-year-old son, Sean, are also in contention in the front half of the fleet. This morning they clocked 118 miles but their more inshore overnight route left them in slightly less breeze, which is hampering their progress. Michael Kavanagh commenting on their tactical decision to keep inshore, said: “The weather files are suggesting it is still going to be light and variable so our immediate tactics are to sail as north as quickly as we can and then stay reasonably close to the shore in order to position ourselves well for the south-easter. It looks like it will be another difficult variable light wind day, so we are really trying to pick an angle where we can keep the boat moving in a roughly northerly direction.”
The Kavanaghs say they had an extremely busy night because of the variable winds and thick fog. “We’ve used every sail in our wardrobe except for the storm jib. We’ve had four different spinnakers up and two jibs, so we’ve had a lot of sail changes. The wind has been quite light and variable. It has been up to 17-18kts but mostly between 4-7kts. As I speak [0800 UTC] the crew are still running around the deck tidying up after another sail change.
“As for the fog, well all I can say is thank goodness for AIS because we were able to identify ships and we had a number of ships that came close by during the night. We currently have a flipsy-flopsy 4-5kts southerly breeze but spirits are high and we are all enjoying the adventure.”
More details on the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race can be found at www.governorscup.co.za; or by visiting the Governor’s Cup Facebook page
Issued by Sue Pelling in conjunction with ADPR.
Pictures by Jan Theron