RCYC successfully defend the Lipton Cup with a 4th place finish in the final race.
The final race got off to a late start as the wind was not settled. Conditions were sub-optimal for racing, with the wind changing directions and unpredictable gusts coming up as swiftly as they vanished. All eyes were on rivals Royal Cape Yacht Club and Hout Bay Yacht Club, RCYC the defending champions and HBYC strong contenders for overall second place. It soon became clear that this particular race was unpredictable in every sense.
After a bad start, causing RCYC to drop to last place, Ziptrak False Bay Yacht Club lead the race for quite a while, before Hout Bay Yacht Club overtook them. This race was to be cut off at 16h00 sharp – a decision causing the fleet to literally race against time, as boat speed was relatively slow due to the shifty wind. As Royal Cape Yacht Club slowly worked their way back up through the fleet, the race was threatened to be abandoned due to the cut-off time. Eventually, after a nail-biting last leg, Hout Bay Yacht Club managed to cross the finish line first, with 11 seconds to spare – rendering the race valid – followed by False Bay Yacht Club, the RCYC Sailing Academy team, sponsored by Vasco Taverna, sailing for Langebaan Yacht Club, in third place. RCYC managed a well-deserved fourth place, successfully defending the Lipton Cup Challenge by 9 points.
This year, the Royal Cape Yacht Club decided to replace their more experienced sailing veteran team of the previous three years, headed by David Rae and Greg Davis, with youngsters Roger Hudson, Asenathi Jim, Sibu Sizata, Sabata Gayeka, Joweal Klaase and Gerry Hegie, giving the next generation a chance to prove their skill in this unique offshore race, which was initiated by Sir Thomas Lipton more than 100 years ago. Co-sponsored by RCYC and RaceAhead, the team had fantastic support from team manager William Crockett, who, in true world-class fashion, loyally chaperoned his team throughout the event, never losing sight of the sailors, whether before, during or after racing, always ready to support, consult, encourage, criticise or console.
The RaceAhead Foundation is a proudly South African initiative, brought to life by David Hudson, dedicated to spot and nurture sailing talent, especially in previously disadvantaged communities, and lead them to world class performance.
The RCYC was proud to have four talented guys from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, who have become world-class sailors, in this year’s team. The RaceAhead success story of Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim has become famous in the South African an international sailing world already, with Asenathi and Sibu currently racing on the international world championship circuit on Olympic level, while Roger nowadays focuses on managing and mentoring the sailors. South Africa can look forward to many more talented youngsters that will be given the chance to sail on an international level due to the visionary work of the foundation, slowly but surely changing the face of sailing, which is often still regarded as a privileged sport.
Lipton Cup – The Good
This event is still the ONLY national inter-club sailing contest in the country. It must be nurtured, cherished and preserved as it is a unique and exciting event with a worldwide following.
Lipton Cup – The Ugly
The race trackers were not up to scratch with boats disappearing from sight at regular intervals, coming back and then disappearing again. This made it impossible for those not at the event and on the water to follow the race wherever they were in the world. This is also not the first year that this has happened.
Unless guarantees are given for the future, alternative tracking systems should be considered.