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The Cape 31 Sails On

by Ingrid Hale
Cape 31 Summer series

The Cape 31 has kept the one-design racing spirit alive in Cape Town despite a tough lockdown. The introduction of a Summer Series and the Performance Cup has helped keep this sporty, racing boat at the top of everyone’s mind. But there has been lot happening off the water too.

Developing a class

With the sudden and tragic death of Uwe Jaspersen of CarboTech, the original boat builder of the Cape 31, decisions had to be taken to ensure that the building of the boats continued without any delay. And to continue with growing the class.

Enter Ellien Perch, a long-time supporter of sailing campaigns with Orion, and a recent owner of the Cape 31, Orion DYP, which is raced by Mark Sadler. Along with Davey James and Stephen du Toit, a new company was formed called Cape Performance Sailing. Stephen secured a premises next to his factory in Capricorn Park and already their first build is out of the mould with a second order being prepared. This will be the 16th and 17th boat built in total.

Taking the class to the UK

South African, Mike Bartholomew of Tokoloshe fame was the first to buy a Cape 31 for racing in the Solent. The boat was built in Cape Town and shipped to the UK about a year ago. Named Tokoshe 3, they have already had great success on the IRC circuit with her – she is fast, competitive, she requires less crew and she is less expensive to run.

Tokoloshe’s  success has sparked interest from boat owners in the Solent, the Cape 31 has slotted itself nicely between the older generation 25 – 30 footer sport boats to the very expensive Fast 40 class. Owners are looking for a sporty one-design racing fleet that provides new and exciting challenges sailed with strict class rules, without breaking the bank account.

David Bartholomew and David Swete are the nominated agents in the UK, and along with one second-hand boat already on route and boat 16 on order for April delivery, more boat orders should be in the pipeline soon.

Interest has also been expressed from countries like the US and Australia. (Boat 01 Flame is already sailing in Australia and boat number 14 Privateer is sailing in the US).

Building a strong class

A class doesn’t grow without the direction and guidance of committed individuals.
As head of the Cape 31 Class Association, Bjorn Geiger has led a strong team to promote the class. The Association organises regattas and manages the day to day with regards to maintaining class rules etc. This close attention to detail keeps the Class strong, fair and exciting.

Other key members include: Hylton Hale – Cape 31 License Holder, Exco members Dave Hudson and Luke Scott, Boat builders Davey James and Stephen du Toit and Class measurer Paul van Tillingen

The next phase of the Cape 31 Class is to roll out the Cape 31 International Class Rules and Constitution, which are in draft form and will be released over the next couple of months.

Day 2 of the Summer Series

The second day of the series was held in gusty conditions. True to typical Table Bay sailing, the wind ranged from 8 – 15 knots.

The Cape 31’s always provide interesting racing. As a spectator you will be amazed at how many lead changes occur between legs. Boat handling is key, one slight mistake in a drop or a tack, will cost the team dearly. And keeping your boat in top condition with new Cape 31 sails and equipment can make all the difference.

3 races were held on Saturday with each of the overall podium winners taking a first. Orion DYP is leading the overall series leaderboard followed by Nitro and Seascape Yanmar.

For full results see here.

Sailing photographer @MatthewduToit has been seen on the water capturing the exciting moments of Cape 31 racing. See his pictures below.





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