The small town of Deneysville in the Orange Free State, on the banks of the Vaal Dam, played host to the NR Provincial Regatta for 2017 courtesy of LDYC.
This amazing club with its awsome location, incredible amenities and facilities, and fantastic galley was the perfect venue for the gathering.
Registration, boat issuing, rigging, and skippers briefing all went well and everything was set for a great regatta, and then …. no wind. Two attempts were made to get the racing started and each time the AP flag was raised. The weather otherwise was absolutely perfect. At 30 something degrees the pool in front of the clubhouse became the popular spot in between the attempts to get started.
After watching the breeze change direction constantly on the intermittent puffs, it finally settled at around 13h30 and the race committee managed to get the boats out of the bay and into the main channel of the Dam where there was a fairly constant breeze.
Finally …. Race on !
After first starting the 505’s and then the Lasers it was the turn of the Oppies. Two General recalls later the black flag was hauled out, and stayed out for the rest of the regatta. Incredibly though no sailor fell prey to it.
The first, and only race of the day, seemed to go on forever in the very light and shifty wind. The fleet handled the conditions incredibly well but the spoils went to those who were paying attention and looking for the all-important gusts.
All the Oppies sailed in one fleet which made for an incredibly long drawn out line of boats – 35 to be precise. What a fantastic turn out for the class !! – and what a pleasure to watch.
At the front end of the fleet the racing was incredibly tense and tight. The light conditions dictated that tactics would make all the difference. The race was won by Matt Ashwell, followed by Alex Falcon and Jared Tyler respectively.
Day two saw similar conditions with most of the breeze far out in the middle of the dam. Whilst this did not make for great spectating it allowed for the all important three races required to make up the regatta to be sailed.
Again the winds were incredibly shifty with intermittent gusts the order of the day. Races two, three and four, all under the black flag, got underway with no issues and racing was again tight and technical in the incredible heat. The NOR stated that no races could start after 2 pm so at 13h55 a fourth race was started which would have given the sailors a handy discard. Unfortunately though the wind was not playing along and just 10 minutes after the start the race was abandoned on account of no breeze.
A word of congratulations must go to all the sailors who took part and handled the tricky conditions, and remained motivated throughout. It really was fantastic to see such a strong turn-out for the event. The regatta was ultimately won by Matt Ashwell. Second place went to Jared Tyler, and third to Alex Falcon.
Report by Paul Tyler