For over 50 years the local Algoa Bay Yacht Club has held their annual Algoa Bay Week regatta – the name has ‘adjusted’ along with the sponsors; Kwikot Week, Continental Week, Isuzu Week and Giza Week are some that spring to mind. Fleets have ranged from over 125 boats to less than 20 but one thing has always been constant – the fierce on and off water rivalry between skippers and crew alike.
Foreign crews always talk fondly of the incredible and varied sailing conditions, precise courses and legendary parties.
This year 22 yachts, split into 2 fleets, will be jostling on the start line for the 1st race on Wednesday morning 21 March 2012. Expect much loud shouting from those skippers who do not know their racing rules. The air will turn blue as boats crunch and hapless crew toss winch handles and their lunch overboard. Of course the “starboard” warning does not mean much when the one in the right weighs one ton and the one in the wrong weighs 15 tons and is made of metal!
Fleet 1 will be made up of the boy racer sport and sport type boats – Pacer 27?s, J27?s, L26?s and a lone Didi with a menacing prodder on the bow.
They are expected to show the way and complete the courses in record time.
Fleet 2 will consist of the floating palaces and other assorted boats with far too much equipment onboard – to make it ‘just like home’ they tell me. “Well then, why didn’t you stay at home?” I tell them.
Expect to see a Farr 38 (it should be in Fleet 1 but the skipper must be getting long in the tooth), a couple of Astoves and other 30 footers along with 2 Holidays.
Racing takes place off of Shark Rock Pier and here are some nautical terms you can throw around amongst the peasants (sure to get you some points with the opposite sex):
- “They are sailing a sausage” (around two marks)
- “The race officer has laid a triangular course” (around 3 marks DUH!)
- “Is there any red port left?” (Port is the LHS of a boat and the light is red)
- “The starboard boat has the right of way” (The sails will be over the port side of the boat)
- “That downwind leg looks quite tricky” (When the spinnakers are up and the yachts are running with the wind behind them)
This will also be good practice for when you watch the Boardwalk Hobie 16 Nationals from the Shark Rock at the end of April 2012.
To allow the sailors to keep their jobs there will be no sailing on Thursday and part of Friday. Racing will resume again on Friday evening. Saturday and Sunday will be the final two days of sailing.