Thanks to Sharin Richmond of the South African Class for this report: 13 entries and yet another awesome regatta at Witbank Yacht Club for the J/22 Mpumalanga Provincials. Saturday got off to a busy start for all the boats, with some only arriving that morning and others having a slow start after the previous late night. The wind was no enticement to get out there with 3-5 knots that was switchy and unreliable. After two races (one being abandoned) and the promise of good winds on Sunday, the fleet headed for shore. On Sunday, although racing was scheduled to start at 0900 and there was no lack of wind, the Race Officer saw the difficulty boats had getting off the jetty and delayed the first race to 09.15. Then the fun began! The Committee boat assured all sailors that the wind speed was 15-16 with gusts of max 22.2, but some of us didn’t believe it. With races of 35-40 minutes, skippers and crew has little time to take a breath. There were some breakages (Hot Salsa being the biggest casualty as it was not an easy fix, and they missed the remaining days sailing), spectacular broaches, spinnakers flying where they wanted and Hay J having only a starboard clew with a few strands of cloth to prove they did leave the jetty with a spinnaker. Sun glasses, hats and one crew member landed in what luckily was warm, clean dam water. After three races and the “breeze” (perhaps) increasing, everyone went ashore on signals of the Race Officer. Oh! Yes the signal did happen, and out they went again but only a fleet of five braved the challenge. The leading boats made an amazing sight with spinnakers up powering through the water, and then there were those who took the easier option—one leg with a spinnaker and then down it came. Hey, a fifth is a fifth! On shore “referees” had an abundance of advice and comments to the brave five. On Monday, there was an easterly breeze of 6-8 knots at the start of the first race with a U flag flying. Three boats were over so realized they were in for a long wait until they would race again. The race was completed with a back to back flag flying. Luck was on their side as the race was abandoned with no wind. So what do you do with no wind and a beautiful summer afternoon to enjoy? The generosity of the offer of the Party Boat and two speed boats saw competitors heading off to the Sand Bar up the river. Fun was had by all with even the most unexpected taking their turn to jump from the (rather high in my opinion) diving board. A hearty club dinner and an early night for most. On Tuesday, the Race Officer was going to do his best to complete two more races with a promising breeze from the south. The first start at 09.30 was an Olympic course but unfortunately with only the triangle being completed had to be shortened. No more wind in sight so the boats were pulled, very efficiently by the shore crew, in time for prize giving. Thanks for trying Ron. Red G Us ‘n J sailed an amazing regatta with seven first places and two second places. They were uncatchable…congratulations on a great result to Graham, Sean and Barry! The local team, Laugh a Minute, gave a good challenge but despite being 13 points ahead of third place, they couldn’t catch Red G and took second place. Andiamo had their challenges but were well ahead of the fleet to claim a solid third place. Well organized, great food, friendly, helpful members all contributed to a fun regatta, good sailing and a reason to return in 2018 to do it all again.
April 29, 2017