Mykonos Regatta 2022 | A Tactical Race – Sail+Leisure
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Mykonos Regatta 2022 | A Tactical Race

by Simone Balman

Royal Cape Yacht Club’s Mykonos Offshore Regatta provided both tactical and frustrating sailing for both the downwind dash to Club Mykonos Langebaan, and the Bay Race. Close on half the fleet retired from the downwind dash due to a lack of wind, but the ever-popular Bay race on Saturday provided the expected thrills. Some surprising results mixed things up a bit, which was great to see for a change. We hear from a few of those teams.

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Pictures: Ashleigh de Villiers

Outliers win the Mykonos Off-Shore Race

By Saths Moodley, Cape Dancer

Team Cape Dancer has never been bothered about the old male dominated world of yacht racing. Instead, the two owners, Saths Moodley and Oliver Schuppart have gone out to seek talented young men and women from the world of dinghy sailing. Close inspection of their team during successive regattas, you will always find a minimum of two young women and a very young crew. Secondly, at least one women “trainee” is part of the crew. Judging from the results of Mossel Bay Off Shore Race, West Coast Off Shore Race and more recently, the Mykonos Off Shore Race, this combination has been working for us.

“We won the Mykonos Off Shore Regatta because of the combined skills of Ryan (detailed weather and route planning), Jason’s contribution to fine tuning trimming the sails at every wind shift and young Alec’s ability to make sure I was on course and didn’t fall asleep after 8 hours on the helm. I was sorry for his crew because of an error I made during the gybe at the rounding at the last mark during the bay race. And no, I held no hard feelings towards Nitro, as by then, they had known that were retiring”, says Moodley. The team celebrated their two 1st and two 2nd places with vigour…. that party continued till Sunday morning and will continue to the 2023 Mykonos Race.

The concept behind Cape Dancer

Cape Dancer RSA 4482 is owned by Saths Moodley (South Africa) and Oliver Schuppart (Germany), who strive to grow sailing amongst young men and women”. This is a quote from their Facebook page. In fact it is well-known that Oliver was supporting the Royal Cape Sailing Academy, long before Cape Dancer was purchased. He brought that ethos into Team Cape Dancer.

Moodley, a former member of the Executive Committee of South African Sailing, says he wishes that racing yacht owners, consciously make an effort to address the gender politics of sailing. “Having women team members keep male egos in check and the crew works hard.” He stresses the fact that in preparing for and during races, there is absolutely no space for gender. Each team member just gets on with their tasks. “Sailing knows no gender, age or colour”.

Some of the original crew members of the team, including Jason Gray, a former instructor at the RCYC Academy and now a member of Central Boating, Alec Webb who runs his own foiling school and Ryan Barnardo who works as an Engineer on a Swan based in Europe, on why they return for key regattas in Cape Town. All three of them will tell you, it is about the vibe during a race and, on and off the boat.

Every crew member just gets on with their tasks. Moodley says, “the skills of every team member is exploited and nurtured to the fullest.” The success of our team rests on the fact that the boundaries and skill set of every member of the team is pushed and pushed hard.

A case in point. Rebecca Hall, their youngest team member can be usually found on the mid bow or assisting with upwind trimming. On recent races, she was on the bow. True to form and evidence of pushing boundaries, taking the helm for the ‘Bay Race’ at the Mykonos Race on Saturday was “Becca”, as she was popularly known on the yacht.

And to boast about her helming skills, she rolled the strongest and most experienced competitors in our class, which included Fomo skippered by Dale Kushner, Tin Tin skippered by Hutton Squire, Jackal skippered by Jimmy Jacka and Yolo skippered by Matthys Lourens. She led the fleet up till the last mark. Not sure, whether Cape Dancer will want to relive that experience at the last mark with Nitro. It cost them the Bay race. However, on the bright side, that scored many many beers from Team Nitro, later that evening.

“These young men and women that Oliver and I have the pleasure of sailing with, are best at their game, and are setting standards for us and hopefully other racing yacht owners in South Africa. We feel privileged to have them on Team Cape Dancer”, says Moodley.

Pictures supplied

Why a winning mindset won’t win you the Mykonos trophy

By Claire Heginbotham, Hollard Jacana

People often talk about having “a winning mindset.” As if a mindset alone could make something as difficult as winning inevitable. If you want to score first place in a yacht race in Cape Town, “a winning mindset” alone just isn’t enough.

Mykonos is the most-anticipated race of the racing calendar for almost every crew at Royal Cape Yacht Club. This year, Hollard Jacana won. We’ve done it before, and we’re doing it again next year.

From a junior member, here’s a fresh perspective on what makes our team perform at such a level, so consistently.

In many ways, Jacana is run like a business. First, we’ve got our leader and CEO, Patrick Holloway. Patrick’s leadership style is black and white and is based on a combination of loyalty and mutual respect. On the water, you know who’s ultimately responsible for making the calls. Off the water, you know there’s someone to mentor you and give you a sharp wake-up call when you need it. Next up is our executive team with a mind-boggling skill level and the experience to back it up. Combined, we’ve got 200+ years of racing experience on the boat at any point in time. And more than a few world championships. Each of these guys could give Patrick a run for his money if they chose to race against him (and many have over the years). But ultimately, they’re on board, and they’re there to compete. The executive team takes care of tactical decisions and handles the primary roles on the boat. They make sure everything runs like clockwork.

Then there’s us, the worker bees, the heavy lifters, and the up and comers. Every young person who hops on the boat is highly dedicated and competitive. The work of winning has been hammered into us. We’ve been made strong through the sheer number of sails Patrick has us change and repack. When we’re in race mode, there’s no space for incompetence or slowness. There’s always space for learning, post-race breakdowns, and recaps over a beer. We learn through watching and listening. It’s a fabulous mixture of brute physicality and intellectual capability.

“Ah,” you might think at this point, “it’s all just about having a great crew…” And you’d be dead wrong. These days, people are so busy, so overwhelmed, that racing needs to put more into their cups than it takes out. You do that, and you can keep your crew both consistent and dedicated.

We participate in all the extracurriculars that make racing fun. We get team khalifas, we stay for at least one quick drink at the club after every race, we celebrate our wins, we comfort each other over our losses, we all show up wearing the right kit, and we honour our generous sponsor Hollard Insurance. And we definitely join all the other hard-working teams for Saturday’s infamous Mykonos party!

So as you can see, winning the Mykonos Offshore Regatta 2022 wasn’t just about cultivating a “winning mindset.” Along with countless hours of preparation, it took unwavering leadership, loyalty, respect, and good ol’ competitive spirit.

See you on the water next year!

Pictures: Ashleigh de Villiers

A surprise win

By Kevin Webb, Banjo 

After the skippers briefing we enjoyed a meal in the restaurant while discussing the probability of little or no wind forecast for the race – but I had a niggling feeling that the forecast would be wrong, and we would have wind from the beam – perfect for a multihull.

And so it was – a downwind start in 15knts wind from behind. After a poor start (due to Sarel using the Milnerton buoy as the pin), Banjo lifted her skirts and sailed past the four multihulls fairly quickly and the race to Mykonos was on. It was not easy at first, as Sea Biscuit getting ahead of us and so the pressure was on. After a few gybes we found ourselves on the right side of a wind shift – with wind on the beam we were able to use our medium code sail to great effect, and soon pulled away from Sea Biscuit and focused on catching the Class C boats.

The wind held all the way to Bok Point, and we even managed to hold off Windpower II – and we dared hope that this wind would hold all the way! Of course, we fell into a hole at Bok Point, and watched Windpower II sail around us and on towards Mykonos. After about 15 minutes we got through the hole and settled into a light beam on wind that gently pushed us along at 6 -7knts, sometimes less but we kept going. At this stage we noticed the boats further offshore had better breeze, and were slowly outpacing us.

Thunderchild was one of these, and she managed to sail around us and get ahead – undaunted, we sailed on believing we could catch her once through the heads – and we tried, but ran out of runway, finishing about 40 seconds behind her, third over the line. This was one of our most enjoyable distance races.

Saturday morning arrived with NO wind – not a bad thing for us who start the pursuit race later, normally when the wind arrives. This is a huge advantage for us, as the slower boats don’t cover much distance in the light air. We slotted into our normal starting time, one minute before the Cape 31’s, and to our delight, the wind filled in and the direction meant a lot of tight fetches and reaches – perfect for a Farrier Trimaran.

We had a good tussle with the Cape 31’s, who got through us on the upwind legs, while we took back the positions on the tight downwind legs. After Jutten we were all together, but the last two legs were perfect for Banjo, and we managed to overtake the last ten boats on the fetch from the Channel buoy to Langebaan yellow mark, leaving only Hollard Jacana in front of us. I know how competitive Patrick is, and doubted we could catch him – but again, our luck prevailed as the wind picked up and we found ourselves sailing the perfect angle to the finish. At 16knts we caught Hollard Jacana about three quarters down the leg, and managed to hold off the Cape 31’s and Windpower II to cross the finish line first.

This was our best Bay race ever – everything was right for us to maximise our speed – as Stephen du Toit told us “every dog must have its day” – so we will take this day for sure!

Thanks to RCYC and the organisers for another great MOR.

Pictures: Ashleigh de Villiers

See Friday’s  photos here and Saturdays pics here.

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