This year’s entries sees family cruising boats with wedding anniversaries and birthdays being celebrated out at sea, a folding trimaran competing with the fast downwind racing yachts vying for line honours, entries hailing from Australia and New Zealand and Saints returning home!
With the entry deadline now closed, this year’s Governor’s Cup Yacht Race from Simon’s Town in South Africa to Jamestown on St Helena, sees 18 boats entered with over 90 crew and supporters taking part in this truly unique race – the final time the race will take place in its current format.
An entry on many sailors’ ‘bucket list’, the Governor’s Cup yacht race is recognised as being different from other yacht races, with the 2014 race seeing one of the largest entry lists since the event began in 1996 and attracting a range of yachts from IRC ocean racers, to downwind multihull and monohull cruisers.
While the accent is on fun and camaraderie, this one-way handicap race covering 1700 miles of downwind racing takes the boats past Cape Point and to one of the most remote and extraordinary islands in the world, St Helena. Once at their destination, the crews enjoy traditionally welcoming St Helena hospitality and the wonders of this remote and historic island. The next challenge is leaving; the only way off the island is by sea – either on the last operating Royal Mail Ship, returning on an upwind sail to South Africa, or cruising onwards across the Atlantic. This, however, is set to change with the opening of a new airport on St Helena due in February 2016 and the subsequent decommission of the RMS St Helena, making this the last time the race will take place in this format.
The diversity of the race is also reflected in the race participants. The 2014 entries include the fast and lightweight Banjo, an Ian Farrier – designed F9AX trimaran, through to the Schooner Windjammer, a 65ft Peter Culler. No stranger to the Governor’s Cup, Banjo, skippered by Kevin Webb will be looking to repeat past performances after taking line honours in the 2012 race. On the other hand, Ashley and Cathie Kerr’s Schooner Windjammer, this year’s largest entry, will be entering the race for the first time. Hailing from Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia, the couple are competing in the race as part of their round the world voyage, which they embarked on in December 2010.
Another international entry is New Zealand couple Paul and Gina Rae, who will be racing onboard their Hyas 44, Solace. Originally from New Zealand, the couple are taking part in the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race as part of their navigations around the world.
Also marking the start of their world cruise is Wiets and Sue Wilken onboard Revelation 1, a Simonis designed 50’ luxury cruising multihull. As their first cross ocean journey, the Wilken’s are making the most of the race as a means to cross the Atlantic with the safety net of other boats near them for much of the crossing. After their stay on St Helena, they’ll be proceeding to Brazil.
Cool Runnings is an entry which sees three families competing on the Baltic 42 – skippered by Carel Jacobs who is joined by his son Pieter, together with father and son team Peter and Travis Taylor, and husband and wife team Franz and Marina von Moltke, who will be celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary during the race! The Cruising Monohull class is proving to be something of a family affair with skipper of DoDo, Roux Gerber also competing with his wife and daughter onboard their 37’ Fortuna, and skipper of Tallulah, John Seager competing with his two daughters onboard their Tosca 36 – both crews will also be celebrating birthdays whilst at sea.
Two ‘Saints’ will also be competing after being selected to represent St Helena – a key tradition of the race. 23 year old Tommy Lee Young will be joining the crew of Vulcan 44, a Humphries 44 skippered by Stephen Wilson, with 29 year old Kerry Furniss joining the crew of Onyx, a Sparkman & Stevens 42 skippered by John Cross.
The Governor’s Cup Yacht Race begins at 12h00GMT on 27th December 2014 from False Bay Yacht Club in Simon’s Town, South Africa. The boats are overtaken en-route by the Royal Mail Ship St Helena, which carries friends, relatives and the race management team. Following their stay on St Helena, entrants choosing not to continue their cruise to other destinations can return their yachts and crews to South Africa onboard the Royal Mail Ship.
Commenting on the 2014 race, Principal Race Officer Bram Weller says, “The Governor’s Cup is a truly unique race offering three holidays in one. From the challenging first leg out of False Bay where the yachts have to sail in to strong South Easterly winds, to the excitement of seeing St Helena and the finish line appearing on the horizon, crews know that the fun won’t stop there. Once on St Helena it’s party time, with an extraordinary island to explore and a host of tours, sporting activities and other social events for everyone to take part in organised by the St Helena Organising Committee. The ‘holiday’ continues with the return voyage on the RMS St Helena, which offers five nights of fun, laughter and traditional ship deck games.
“It’s with a heavy heart that this will be the last time the race will take place in this format after 18 years, but I also believe that it will grow in stature and attract more entries in the coming years with the opening of the airport on St Helena offering more flexibility and considerably reducing the amount of time participants need to spend away from home.”
Information from: www.governorscup2014.com
Aurora Alex Cousins
Avanti Klaus Wiswedel Vickers 41
Banjo Kevin Webb Farrier F9AX
Black Cat Adrian Pearson Dudley Dix
Canace Kevin Ward Elan 435
Cool Runnings Franz von Moltke Baltic 42
Do Do Roux Gerber Roberts 37
Entheos Bertie Chapman Island Spirit
Iechyd Da Stefan Hundt Muira
Onyx CJ Cross Sparkman & Stevens 41
Revelation 1 Wiets Wilken Simonis 50 Cat
Solace Paul Rae Hylas 44
Spirit of Africa Vic Smith Lavranos 36
Strumpet Justin Spreckley Simonis
Tallulah John Seager Tosca 36
Vulcan 44 Stephen Wilson Humphries 44
Wind Jammer Ashley and Cathie Kerr Peter Culler 65
Zig Zag Brian Alcock Coral Sea 35 Cat