START DATE 23 April 2016
HOST CLUBS Point Yacht Club, Durban & Algoa Bay Yacht Club, Port Elizabeth
Due to the highly successful Vasco da Gama Race run at the end of April this year, the Point Yacht Club (PYC) are pleased to announce that the 400 nautical mile race will start on Saturday 23 April 2016.
The course is again from Durban to Port Elizabeth – with Algoa Bay Yacht Club being the finishing host club.
This will be the 45th running of this classic ocean race.
With 120 crew competing this year, there are 120 exciting and individual stories and reasons to compete in 2016!
To add to the excitement of the Vasco da Gama Race is the simultaneous announcement that the IRC Racing yachts will hold their National Championships in Algoa Bay after the Vasco race has finished. This will make South Africa’s East Coast ‘the’ yacht racing venue from 23 April to 2 May 2016.
Due to this year’s highly successful Vasco da Gama Ocean Race, and interest already being expressed for next year, the Point Yacht Club have purposely started planning early, with all official race documentation in terms of the rules, safety regulations and entry forms now available on request from Lucy, the Race Secretary, at: email@example.com
Already more than half the skippers who competed this year have indicated that they will be back in 2016. “That is a tribute to the course change we made this year and is simply a vote of confidence by the competitors” said PYC Commodore Trevor Donald. “We will do everything possible to make the next year’s race even better”.
The race course South has struck a chord with South African yachties as they can now compete without having to be concerned about foreign clearance as the race is ‘wholly South African’. ‘Going Foreign’ has been a big stumbling block to entries in recent years, so without this restriction entries are expected to build significantly in 2016 from the 17 starters this year.
It has also made it attractive to Cape sailors, as by the time they finish in Port Elizabeth they are already half-way home. And this year Cape sailors took the major honours, so they will be back again to ensure they maintain their presence and winning ways for at least another year.
And the Algoa Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) is simply a superb place to finish as their hospitality and warm welcome is infectious and conducive to a great party after a gruelling ocean race.
“Our members thoroughly enjoyed hosting the Vasco Race finishers and being part of this historic first race to Port Elizabeth” said Alan Straton, Commodore of ABYC. “We could also have 4 or more ABYC boats competing next year”.
An aspect of the race that simply blew people away this year was the incredibly accurate ‘race trackers’ which allowed loved ones and followers at home to keep tabs on the race, almost in real time, with just 15 minutes between updates. It was as exciting for the followers as it was for the competitors. The tracking service was supplied by YB Tracking and sponsored by Gutsche Investment & Management Services (GIMCO) who have committed their sponsorship again for 2016 due to the huge following the race received, and the positive feedback.
Interestingly, the YB Tracking app for mobile devices was downloaded by over 800 people – a number which staggered the tracking suppliers as this was higher than for some key European races they are involved in. The race was followed in 31 different countries and had just under 5000 followers at its peak.
The Vasco da Gama Race 2015 Facebook page was supported by 900 unique followers.
Coastal ocean racing has waned in popularity in this country in recent years although the Vasco da Gama Ocean race is one of the few races which has received annual support. Plus it is a race which has always blooded new offshore sailors. Proof of this comes in the form of statistics from this year’s race where there were 120 competing crew, with 60 being ‘vasco virgins’ competing in the race for the first time. Of those 60 ‘virgins’ 49 finished the race.
More importantly there were 39 crew under the age of 25 in the race, with 25 of those finishing. The youngest under 25 crew to finish was Cape sailor Jason Gray who received the Choose Life Trophy. He was a crewman on the winning boat AL Mount Gay Rum skippered by Rob van Rooyen.
The above all augers well for the future of the race.
In an attempt to attract more cruising boats in the Rally Class, race organisers have increased by two hours the amount of time they may motor, from 6 to 8 hours in every 24 hour period. The other significant change is that Rally Class entrants will be able to use autopilots throughout the race without restriction.
“Some cruisers like to sail in the company of others, and while many are still gaining experience, the above dispensations allow them to keep up and sail the boat without having to worry too much about the helming abilities of the crew” said Richard Crockett, chairman of the organising committee.
A number of new trophies were added this year to an already impressive trophy list, with the awards spread going deeper into the more cruiser-orientated classes, and giving all competitors a shot at the silverware. The trophies added for 2015 were:
David Cox Memorial Trophy 1st on Line Honours PHRF
ABYC Trophy 1st ABYC boat over the line IRC & PHRF Fleets
Bowman Trophy 1st Western Cape boat over the line IRC & PHRF Fleets
de Beyer Memorial Trophy 1st PYC boat over the line PHRF Fleet
1st Rally Class boat on handicap
Port Elizabeth is going to be a busy city sailing-wise in late April and early May as the IRC racing class has agreed to stage their national championship races in Algoa Bay immediately after the Vasco da Gama Race. This may well entice some new boats to the Vasco da Gama Race as well as some of South Africa’s top ocean racing boats and crews.
“It makes sense to have the IRC Nationals in Port Elizabeth next year as both our event and the Vasco da Gama Race will benefit, as will the sport as a whole” said Hylton Hale, chairman of the IRC Class in South Africa.
The IRC Nationals dates are Saturday 30 April to Monday 2 May 2016.
Information on the Vasco da Gama Race may be obtained from the Point Yacht Club:
Tel. 031-301 4787
Information on the IRC Nationals from Hylton Hale:
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