34 Teams with up to 12 sailors per team, took part in this year’s unique Endurance Dinghy Sailing Challenge, sailing from 12 noon on Saturday, 17th March to 12 noon Sunday, 18th March. This year’s Event was very special as the overwhelming majority were young sailors – this is very good for sailing as well as the Event.
Sailors from around the Peninsula, Stellenbosch, Knysna and Simonstown took part.
A Girl Guide Group from Saldanha sailed their very first 24 Hour in a Saldanha Dinghy and Rawsons sponsored them their entry. They are over the moon and will be back next year.
Sea Cadet and Sea Scout Groups together with Royal Cape Sailing Academy sailed Saldanha Dinghies.
Young sailors from Zeekoeivlei, Imperial, MAC and RCYC competed in Pico Dingies.
Enterprise, Sonnet, 420, GP14, Bosun Dinghy sailors from yacht clubs as well as the SA Navy and Izivunguvungu Sailing School from Simonstown took part.
The wind Gods were feeling generous and the wind blew mainly from S/E, light to medium – 8-18 knots throughout the Event. There was a lull of very light/no wind from 4 – 7 am on Sunday. As the wind changes teams need to replace crew for the conditions.
The “change over” beach had spectacular crew changes with the big Saldanhas steaming in at full speed, sailors jumping out and fresh crew in. One over eager Saldanha, which is sailed with four crew, left only their bowman on board after a crew change. He was looking forward so only realised a little later that the boat had been abandoned with no helmsman. Much to the delight of the spectators.
The GP14 Team FROG sailed a flawless race and won on handicap. This boat has a history – in 2000 Gerry Aab sailed her just 10km short of the 259km World Record. He was sailing on the Enterprise Electra Glide who finished third and was quite emotional having last seen the GP14 17 years ago.
Another first for the Event was the Saldanha Black Phantom from the Milnerton Sea Scout Group which finished second on handicap. This is the first time that a Saldanha Dinghy has been in the top 3 – very good news for the class.
Izivunguvungu sailing the bosun Ma Leven finished fourth, only half a lap behind Electra Glide.
The juniors sailing Picos were very competitive with the MAC team Coastal Crazies winning the class, and seventh on handicap. The ZVYC Pico – Young Guns won the BAR One Challenge, which is an extra hour sailed from noon on Sunday, finishing at one o’clock.
Sailors were left exhausted but content with a lot of them just having completed their first 24 Hour.
The MAC 24 Hour was started in 1998 with 9 Dinghies and has grown into an Endurance Event that SA Sailors recognise as having to have on their bucket list of events to do.
Westlanks Yacht Club (WLYC) started their 24 Hour in 1967. Last year they had 63 teams competing in Enterprise, GP14, Lark and Firefly Dinghies. This year will be their 52nd 24 Hour Event.
For more info see MAC 24 Hour Facebook page.
AUTHOR: Mark Algra