By SYDNEY MORWENG
The ‘Round the Island Race’ last year’s winners Jonathan Crawford and Brian Lion-Cachet have made a promise to defend their title, twice in succession.
The sailors’ annual event, sanctioned by the Lake Deneys Yacht Club takes place at Deneysville, Vaal Dam from February 4 to 6.
Having won the LDYC Nocturnal Challenge and the 100 Miler, the champs who have been hard at work, will have to ward-off any threats from other either Multi-23’s; Nacra Inter20’s and Hobie Wild Cat, respectively.
Initiated as far back as 53 years’ ago, according to the organizers LDYC this year’s event will attract close to 4000 sailors, and the number could increase. This is an indication to show the popularity of the sail sport in South Africa is growing and fixtures on the national sailing calendar.
As a result in 2007, it was entered into the Guinness World Record category for Most Yachts in Inland race.
Aptly coined Weekend Regatta, sailors with a sail-worthy sailing craft of any description whatsoever are urged to drag it down with family and friends for a weekend of sailing and fun.
“Do not discount the current record holder, the Sea Cart Marc Hammick’s Bogmonster who is sure to be among the top contenders. I would also keep a close eye on the two JS9000s Agattu and Frumious Bandersnatch.
They have been fighting for line honors in the NKA distance series throughout the season,” warned Rodney Beresford from the club Rear Commodore.
In 1986, as many as 712 boats participated and the spectacle of 400 odd boats jostling on the start line was awesome.
In addition to the other races on Saturday, the regatta provides a dynamic event to launch the first of three selection match racing events in the nominated J22 keel boat class.
Match racing is a spectator event where even non-sailors can enjoy the excitement and thrill of how close and competitive sailing can be. This will form the basis of the Northern Region Match Racing Ranking Ladder.
Similar events will be held countrywide ultimately resulting in the selection of the team(s) to represent South Africa. These teams will participate in the African Region ISAF Nations Cup scheduled for Cape Town in May 2011.
The club expects an estimated 4,000 visitors to camp over the weekend and enjoy the traditional line-up of live entertainment, air shows, flea market, a tea garden, giant water slide and pool.
Entertainment in the form of The Warbird Yak Formation Team will stage an airs-show at 3pm on Saturday afternoon, and Friday and Saturday nights the crowd will be entertained by Mackenzie Blue.
Gigantic screen will broadcast live feeds of the sailing action on the water for non-sailors and can follow the races as it unfolds. The plan is also to stream footage live as a webcast on the internet.
According to the organizers’ knowledge this live streaming will be a first for any sailing event on the African continent if not in the world. Another first will be a Wi-Fi hotspot at the club for internet access.
This year’s event is sponsored by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which has embarked on nationwide Boating Safety Campaign to advice on water and boat safety.
Cost for weekend will be once-off entry fee R50 per person over 16 years’ and they stand a chance to win prizes up for grabs. Full bar and catering will be on site, and for campers, there is space and hot water in the ablution blocks at no extra charge.
It will be filmed and broadcast on SuperSport in March.
For full programme competitors are urged to register before the weekend by downloading from the website: www.ldyc.co.za