Perfect sailing conditions in Mossel Bay

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Western Cape Provincials – Mossel Bay April 2017

The past Easter weekend saw the Western Cape Provincials regatta held in Mossel Bay, South Africa. Over the four days of racing the weather conditions were absolutely perfect for sailing with light to moderate winds and sunny skies.

The challenge for most of the Oppie fleet came in the form of choppy seas with 3 to 4 foot swells and ocean currents. Four days prior to the event a training camp was held for the Selections Team by Claire Walker. Unfortunately the winds were incredibly light so only one real day of sailing was had, the rest of the time made up by theory sessions on shore. The camp was clearly of benefit to the sailors as the standard of sailing was incredibly high.

The Optimist fleet was made up of 28 sailors, the largest of the participating classes by far. Some of these sailors sailing in ocean waters for the first time.
The standard of sailing was incredibly high and competitive with the entire fleet, though well strung out, all staying together and fighting for every position.

The sharp end of the fleet saw Alex Falcon, Jared Tyler and Keagan Nel duelling it out for the full regatta. The pressure was on from start to finish with only one point making the difference at the end of the day. Alex and Jared went OCS in race 9 which gave Keagan a bit of an advantage, but the two came back fighting with the result seeing Alex win by one point. Jared and Keagan tied at 20 points each but Jared’s three 1st’s over Keagan’s one him the edge and second place on the podium, Keagan taking third. It made for nail-bitting spectating !

Chiara Fruet was the first of the girls and placed fourth over all, also giving the boys a real run for their positions. Following her were Helen Jansen van Vuuren and Lena Holm.

The Regatta also played host to the visiting Chinese delegation from Qingdao, China, as part of the exchange program between our two countries. Four of the Chinese sailors took part in the regatta and placed well in the middle of the fleet.

Over the course of the weekend many wonderful friendships and bonds were made by the sailors of both countries. Six of our sailors will be heading over to China later in the year to sail in their International Sailing week held each year.

The first three days of the regatta also formed the Selections regatta for the Worlds and Africans Teams. This was successfully completed and the teams selected. They are as follows :

Worlds Team

• Alex Falcon (ZVYC)
• Keagan Nel (VLC)
• Jared Tyler (MAC)
• Tristan Tomlinson (HYC)
• Matt Ashwell (ZVYC)

Worlds Team 2017. From left to right – Tristan Tomlinson, Jared Tyler, Keagan Nel, Alex Falcon, Matt Ashwell and André Wollheim (President Optimist Sailing SA).

Africans Team

• Alex Falcon
• Keagan Nel
• Jared Tyler
• Tristan Tomlinson
• Matt Ashwell
• Ross MacKinnon (MAC)
• Ingrid Holm (PSC)
• Karl Hofmeyr (MAC)
• Chiara Fruet (MAC)
• Helen Jansen van Vuuren (GLYC)

Africans Team 2017. Back row from left to right – Chiara Fruet, Tristan Tomlinson, Jared Tyler, Keagan Nel, Karl Hoffmeyr. Front row from left to right – Helen Jansen Van Vuuren, Ross MacKinnon, Matt Ashwell and Alex Falcon.

We wish both of these teams all the very best for their upcoming International regattas. With all the training that they 
are about to embark on we know that they will do us proud.

Report by Paul Tyler