Henley Midmar Yacht Club (HMYC) 9 Hour Regatta
For the past 40 years the 9 Hour Regatta held at HMYC on Midmar has been a major event on both the South African sailing calendar as well as the Natal Midlands events calendar. The HMYC committee is looking to build the event in 2015 as this is the fortieth anniversary of the inception of this popular all day event. This event is the sailing equivalent of the Midmar Mile, the Duzi Canoe Marathon and the Comrades Marathon.
Sailors have always loved this event using it as an opportunity to compete against rivals in the same class of boats as well as between different classes, settling scores as to which boats are faster! Serious sailors use the event to compete and use as a training opportunity and the less serious use it as an opportunity to get less used boats on the water with as many people on board having fun. It is also a wonderful opportunity for youth sailors to be able to gain experience and an introduction to the sailing fraternity at large, as well as families to spend the day hanging out together – either on or off the water.
Many challenges occur between the teams with sailors remaining competitive to the maximum. Boat owners use the event as an opportunity to make the day a corporate event inviting staff, associates and customers to join them on the day for a unique experience.
The winners are determined based on total number of laps completed as well as total elapsed time. The organisers include as many additional prizes for the event as possible so as not to only focus on the actual winners. Prizes are given to winners in individual classes, first lady, first junior and a multitude of “fun” prizes like best dressed, funniest occurrence on the water and any other opportunities that present themselves on the day.
The event starts at 09h00 on Saturday 28th of February 2015 and ends after 9 hours of continuous sailing. Prize giving happens after the race in the club house later that evening during much festivity! Most of the participants make the 9 Hour a whole weekend and arrive on the Friday and leave on the Sunday. This makes it a very festive weekend away for the out of town participants.
Midmar is considered a premier location both from a sailing and recreation perspective. The clean water and safe surroundings make it the perfect family venue. A multitude of accommodation options are available to visitors from basic camping to bungalows provided by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife at Midmar itself. For those who have a Wild Card or Rhino Card entrance to the Midmar resort is free. This accommodation is supplemented by many commercial offerings in the wonderful Midlands ranging from budget establishments to the truly luxury.
Culinary and refreshment needs are also well attended to at the event. The Club provides food offerings for the whole event bringing good quality wholesome food at reasonable prices. A bar facility will also be operating providing tipple to thirsty participants and spectators. In addition to the club’s offerings those venturing forth will be met by a multitude of fantastic restaurant, produce and drink establishments on the Midlands Meander.
A unique feature of the event is that the spectators are as much a part of it as the participants. This is due to the unique position of the club facility giving perfect viewing of the entire course on the dam. The crew swop over area is also directly in front of the club house and always gives spectators exciting spectacles, especially as the wind picks up and over zealous sailors clamber between boats!
The HMYC committee is looking to continue the wonderful tradition of this regatta into the future by hosting a professionally run event offering sailors and spectators a fantastic and memorable annual experience. To achieve this, the 9 Hour will be positioned as a major sporting event on the sailing calendar as well as a premier Midlands event. The HMYC Committee is confident that with the experience and commitment from the organising committee the continued delivery of this prestigious event will occur.
Support from business and the community will be critical to achieving this objective. A number of opportunities will be offered for sponsors to get involved at various levels. With the event structured to attract a major number of participants and spectators, it promises to bring the sailing fraternity out en mass both locally and from far afield.
Detailed programs, sponsorship packages, the Notice of Race (NOR) and Sailing Instructions (SI) will be available in due course.