The inaugural Cape 31 Class Regatta was held at the height of the Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town stopover. The Volvo fleet has now left town, but in it’s wake is left the excitement of our new One-Design class.
The seven Cape 31’s were moored in the Volvo 65’s berths in front of the Table Bay Hotel for the weekend. This created a lot of interest in the class. It was great to see the “little” sports boat in the moorings of the ocean-going “big” boats.
The regatta really showcased what this fast-growing fleet of Mark Mills-designed sportboats is all about. Racing took place off Granger Bay in light SW winds and created a stunning, colourful treat for spectators who watched from the V&A’s boardwalk.
RCYC ran the regatta and eight closely contested races were completed over the two days. Bridge Officer, Doug Allison, ran quick windward/leeward races, which the competitors enjoyed. In one race, there were only 30 seconds between the first and last boat. This is what one-design racing should be all about.
Team Nitro’s Mike Hayton summed it up: “Great one design racing with just seven boats on the water! This is the start of a new era in South African sailing”.
And that it is, with thanks to Irvine Laidlaw’s vision and generosity, and to the owners who have run with the concept and who are making Irvine’s vision a reality.
While every boat in this regatta spent time at the top end of the fleet, it was Tina Plattner / Tony Norris’s pace-setting TNT that edged out Mike Hayton / David Rae’s Team Nitro to take the overall honours. The newly launched SCUD, Greg Davis and Luke Scott’s colourful boat, rounded off the podium places.
Listening to the excitement of owners and sailors on Saturday evening, during a wine pairing by Waterford Wines, and a preview of Sail + Leisure Magazine, the message was clear – this is a class that’s going to attract the very best young sailors in SA!
Two international invitational regattas will take place early in the new year : 20-22 January and 17-19 February. We’re hoping to have the 8th boat on the water for these regattas, with the 9th due to be launched a month later. For more enquiries on chartering a boat or joining a sailing team, contact: Michael@gilesprojects.co.za
Picture credits: Greg Beadle, Jeff Ayliffe, Alec Smith