By Richard Crockett
I was privileged to watch the Cape 31s racing yesterday, all in preparation for the Lipton Cup which starts on Monday 5 August.
This was the final dress-rehearsal as there is no formal racing until Lipton. Not all teams had their full Lipton crew, but that did not detract in any way from the quality nor intensity of the racing. There was no quarter given, and every single mistake was punished – even the smallest of mistakes.
This is best illustrated by the comment of Geoff Meek after racing yesterday when asked if he had won the final race. “No he” said, “we had to ease the asymmetrical spinnaker just before the finish line due to a big gust, so that we did not spin out. The grinder had not put a winch handle into the winch so we could not wind the sail in again quickly enough to stave off the guys on Orion. The won by a whisker – and no more than that!”
The day ended belonging to the team aboard ‘Magic’ who will be representing the Hermanus Yacht Club. They won the first race, and then finished 3rd & 2nd to win overall with a superb show of consistent sailing. ‘Magic’ has co-skippers in Malcolm Hall and Roger Hudson.
Consistency is what always wins the Lipton Challenge Cup which, in athletics terms, is a marathon and NOT a sprint. The team that sails consistently well at the top of the fleet in every single race of the Lipton Cup will win. A win followed by an ‘iffy’ results and then an okay race is unlikely to win the Lipton Cup. So it’s a case of stringing 6 consistently good results together.
Surprising everyone on the day, and finishing second overall in the 3 races was the team aboard ‘Orion DYP’ who will represent the Royal Natal Yacht Club, and is helmed by Mark Sadler. In fairness to these guys, their boat was only launched a few weeks ago and their full Lipton crew were not sailing, so they were not expected to be real contenders on the day, but they put in a great performance by finishing 2; 7 and 1 to be second overall.
Another powerhouse team that had the pundits confused after the first race was ‘Scud’ who only managed an 8th – far below their ability. But they dug deep to claw their way back to third overall with a 1 and a 2 in the final races – and show that they will be real contenders once the Lipton Cup races start in anger. ‘Scud’, who will sail for the Langebaan Yacht Club, also has co-skippers with Geoff Meek and Greg Davis.
The Full Results HERE show what happened on the day.
What is absolutely certain is that this years Lipton Cup is going to be one of the tightest contests for many years. And that’s simply because the very best yachtsmen in this country are competing – of that there is no doubt.