Vasco da Gama Race from Durban to Port Elizabeth – NEWS

Vasco da Gama Ocean Race 2015

START DATE            25 April 2015
HOST CLUBS            Point Yacht Club, Durban & Algoa Bay Yacht Club, Port Elizabeth
ENTRIES CLOSE     17h00 on 27 March 2015

FACEBOOK. Follow the race build-up, news and excitement surrounding this race on FACEBOOK at:

There is already a far bigger following for the race to Port Elizabeth that there has been in any of the previous races – so LIKE the page and be part of the excitement.

The Vasco da Gama Ocean Race is the oldest coastal ocean race on the South African sailing calendar and will be sailed for the 44th time this year. It is open to both MONOHULLS and MULTIHULLS with details in this regard being available in the Notice of Race.

For the next three years the race will once again go south from Durban and finish in Port Elizabeth, adding an additional 100 nautical miles to the distance, making it a 400nm ocean race.

There are so many positive aspects surrounding the race this year that there is every chance it will be a record breaker in so many different ways.

It has caught the imagination of Cape yachtsmen, and if just half the number of potential competitors from the Cape make it to the start line, this race will have more Cape entries than at any other time in its history.

But more importantly than this, it has caught the imagination of so many different people who are itching to compete.

“At the Cape Town Boat Show I was chatting to a guy and his wife from Bloemfontein” said Richard Crockett, chairman of the organising committee. “I enquired where people in that area sailed, and he simply said Gariep Dam. He then went on to say that on Gariep Dam there are a number of biggish keelboats which race once a month, his being a Jeannea Sun Fizz 40 named ‘Star Spirit’. The essence of revealing this is that Willie Pretorius is planning to take the boat from Gariep Dam to the coast for the race. He hopes to be able to compete in the Mykonos Race with his crew, before heading for Durban and the Vasco Race” said Crockett.

Another great story is that from Tony Bailes who submitted the third entry. He entered ‘Malgas’ an L34 which he has been prepping for serious racing for some time. But, having entered, the bug bit hard and he thought he would rather sail something a little bigger, so has bought the Fast 42 ‘Nemesis’ which is being prepped in Cape Town. Tony plans to compete in RCYC Summer Regatta, Fling Regatta and Mykonos Race before taking her to his home port of Port Elizabeth for additional crew training prior to sailing to Durban for the Vasco start.

”I am getting some items updated and the bottom cleaned in Cape Town” said Bailes. “She has caused some interest in PE with everyone now keen to get on her and go for a sail. All of this can be attributed to the Vasco Race which certainly got me motivated to get a bigger boat and get back into the racing circuit. I am really looking forward to the Vasco. The challenge is on for the family teams from ‘Nemesis’ and ‘Ray of Light’ – last years line honours winner” said Bailes.

These are just two ‘feel good’ stories which are sweeping the country and which will make this years Vasco da Gama Race the best ever since the days when it went to East London

Readers of this newsletter are invited to submit their own ‘feel good’ stories on their Vasco preparations.

Vasco da Gama Race & Algoa Bay Week Dates
The dates for this year’s race were selected very carefully to permit people to sail and take as little leave as possible, and to enable competitors to stay on and compete in the Algoa Bay Week regatta should they wish to.

The Vasco Da Gama Race starts on Saturday 25 April.

Monday 27 April, and Friday 1 May are both public holidays. This means that competitors will need just 3 days leave for the Vasco da Gama Race, while the Algoa Bay Week Regatta takes place on a public holiday and the weekend – 1 – 3 May.

There is still a possibility of a race from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town after the Vasco da Gama Race.

The bottom line, is that with very little leave commitment, one can accomplish a lot of sailing.

Entries so far
There are 8 entries so far from the following:
1 Al Mount Gay Rum – Rob van Rooyen
2 Majimoto – Jon Marshall
3 Malgas – Anthony Bailes. Now Nemesis – a Fast 42
4 Bellissama – Vernon & James Goss
5 Yolo – Dale Kushner
6 Bellatrix – Gregg Hurter
7 Gumption – Nicholas Mace
8 Ray of Light – Michael and Heidi Kavanagh

With the interest being shown a fleet of between 20 to 30 boats is highly likely.

If you are interested in entering, please let us have your details. Send to (

All competing boats will be fitted with Satellite Tracking Devices. These devices have been sourced in the UK and are used regularly on major international races around the world.

This means that the fleet will be tracked from start to finish, and progress monitored via the race chart.

These trackers are tamper-proof and cannot be turned off or de-activated, so every boat should be visible for the duration of the race!

While an expensive aspect of the race, it does bring the Vasco da Gama Race right into the homes of the public keen to follow the race and loved ones.

Point Yacht Club
The PYC will be hosting this race for the next 3 years and is looking forward to opening their facilities to out-of-town guests and all competitors.

Boats will be moored in the ‘Clipper Corner’ area of Durban Marina.

There will be functions arranged for competitors and a host of volunteers available to assist and advise all competitors.

Algoa Bay Yacht Club
The ABYC is abuzz with excitement at the opportunity to host this classic and historic race. A few weeks earlier they host the 505 World Championships – so their club will be geared up to hosting this race.

Their Commodore, Alan Straton says that they have hardy old salts ready to brave all weather to finish the yachts off the Shark Rock Pier, and that the traditional breakfast will be ready for each finisher!

Now that breakfast alone is worth competing as it just seems to taste so much better than any other breakfast – ever!

“We look forward to being a valuable partner in ensuring that Ocean Racing and the Vasco da Gama race in particular assumes it’s rightful place as the pre-eminent ocean racing regatta in Africa” said Straton.

The ABYC is lucky to have a good bunch of guys who give back to the Club in many ways, but all who are members of the Due North Rum Club! These guys are itching to meet the competitors and party with them. Possibly shades of the old East London days?

We are in touch with potential sponsors, but have as yet not secured one. Should anyone have any contacts or suggestions in this regard, please contact Richard Crockett ( as a sponsorship proposal is available.

Crew Available
We already have some people looking to crew on the race, so if crew is an issue, please give them a call as it would be good to assist these guys. To be added to this list contact Lucy de Freitas ( and give her your details.

Anthony Engelbrecht  –
He has a trimaran and takes care of youth sailing at LDYC.

Rear Commodore at LDYC.

Is the owner of Dix 45 ‘Fairwinds II’.

I am a young 54 yrs old and can happily cope with the physical side of sailing. I live in the KZN Midlands and enjoy cycling, scuba diving and hiking.

Race Documentation
The following official race documents are available and may be obtained from the Race Secretary:
• Notice of Race
• Entry Form
• Vasco 2015 schedule 1 Safety Equipment & Scrutineering Check list
• Vasco 2015 schedule 2 – list of trophies
• Vasco 2015 schedule 2 – list of trophies
• Vasco Crew List 2015

Club & SAS Membership
The Notice of Race requires each and every competitor to be a member of a Yacht Club. Skippers are required to make sure that they submit the membership details of each and every crew. This is a SAS (South African Sailing) requirement.

Should you have any good stories that may interest the media, please liaise directly with Sophie Thompson (083 609 8729 or

We will be using Facebook as the prime means of disseminating news of the race. The official Vasco Facebook page is: Vasco da Gama Ocean Race 2015 – Durban to Port Elizabeth or at:

This race has a large selection of trophies which are awarded each year, many dating back to original race in 1968.

Recent additions to the silverware are:
Choose Life Youth Trophy                   1st youth under 25 on IRC handicap
R&G Trophy                                           1st Multihull across the line
Gary Warren Memorial Trophy         1st Multihull on handicap

There is the possibility of two new trophies for the Cruising Class being made available this year, so those who like to race at a more leisurely pace will still be in line for some magnificent silverware

Additional Information
Competitors, and indeed potential competitors too are welcome to contact any of the committee members listed below for info on the race. Remember that this is YOUR race, and that we are here to assist you in every way possible.

Race Contact Information
Information on the race may be obtained from the Vasco da Gama Race Secretary, Lucy de Freitas, at the Point Yacht Club.
Tel.            031-301 4787

PYC Contacts and Organising Committee
Chairman                                Richard Crockett             083 265 3885
Principal Race Officer          Jimmy Melville                082 900 8573
Race Secretary                       Lucy de Freitas                083 340 3089
Safety Scrutineer                   Gavin van der Meulen    083 708 3830
PYC Rear Commodore         Jon Marshall                    083 703 2995

ABYC Contacts
Alan Straton (Commodore)
Eugene Lombard                

Check Also

Raymarine & Beneteau Oceanis Sailing Yachts Partnership

Raymarine and Groupe Beneteau have announced a partnership to supply Raymarine award-winning Axiom chartplotters and …