MSC Week incorporating J22 Nationals and L26 Provincials

The UKZN Yacht Club crew get in some training ahead of 2 weeks of racing off Durban at the beginning of July.
Pic by Sophie Thompson

Offshore of Durban: 2 – 6 July

With the annual MSC Week almost upon us, crews are busy getting their boats in ship-shape for the five day regatta hosted by Point Yacht Club offshore of Durban from 2 – 6 July.

Joining the MSC fleet are two of the biggest one class design classes in South African sailing. The J22s will be hosting their highly competitive nationals, together with the L26 Provincials. The L26s will be using this event as a fine-tuning session ahead of the most prestigious sailing event in South Africa, the Lipton Challenge.

A fleet of about 30 Js are anticipated to be racing offshore of Durban. Having just had the J22 Mpumalanga Champs, the 22-footers are keen to head out onto the open waters to stretch their legs in some of the best sailing conditions in South Africa. Well known J sailor, Graham Baker topped the log at the inland champs recently and is in good form leading up to the Nationals. However, Dave Rae and his team of Mike Hayton and Shane Elliot will be keen to retain the national title that they won in 2017.

The last time the J22s hosted their nationals offshore of Durban, was in 2015 during the MSC Week. Durban and the J22s have had a magnificent history, when the J22 World Champs took place on the water local waters in 2007 and local sailor Mark Sadler earned gold and Ian Ainslie was awarded bronze.

A popular racing class in Durban is the L26: ten Ls participated in the MSC Week last year, with double that expected to take to the water for MSC ahead of the Lipton Challenge this July. In 2017, Rob Wilcox representing Point Yacht Club took the honours on the yacht Philanderer.

A number of different classes are anticipated to compete in the popular MSC Week. Back to defend his title is feisty and passionate catamaran sailor, Wayne Smith on his racing multihull Crazy Diamond. A regular feature in sailing events, Gregg Hurter and his crew on Bellatrix should be back to defend their title in the racing class. They will be pushed to the limits by newcomer to the local scene, the slippery Argo FY skippered by Craig Millar.

An exciting addition to this year, is the inclusion of kite surfing. The class will keep a window of opportunity open as they require a fair bit of breeze as they blitz around the race track.

Last but not least, a small gaggle of cruising boats will be the final class competing in the round-the-cans event. Keen sailor, Clynt Finn and his wife, Jackie led the way last year on their small yacht, My Way and should be returning this July.