St Helena Online

Tag: Governor’s Cup

Black Cat gets lucky at last in surprise yacht race win

Black Cat sets out in high winds. Picture by Trevor Wilkins Photography. Click the pic for more images
Black Cat sets out in high winds. Picture by Trevor Wilkins Photography. Click the pic for more images

For the triumphant crew of Black Cat, the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race has provided proof of the unpredictable nature of their sport. They have been named overall winners of the 2015 race, in a boat that finished near the back of the fleet two years earlier – despite sailing faster than the leaders.

The crew of Black Cat before the race. Picture by Trevor Wilkins Photography
The crew of Black Cat before the race. Picture by Trevor Wilkins Photography

The win came as a massive surprise to skipper Dave Immelman. A rival crew in the racing class had actually reached St Helena a few hours ahead of him, but they declared that they had used their engine for 95 miles of the race and switched to the cruising class – leaving Black Cat in the top slot.

Fickle fortunes also saw the 2013 winner Banjo set a new speed record in the race from South Africa, while other yachts were becalmed by a lack of wind that meant some might not even reach the island before the deadline for late finishers – extended by three days to Tuesday 13 January.

Banjo covered the 1,750 miles from Simon’s Town in nine days 13 hours and 36 seconds, shaving five hours off the record set by a different crew in the same yacht in 2010.

Banjo set a new speed record for the Governor's Cup race. Picture by Trevor Wilkins Photography
Banjo set a new speed record for the Governor’s Cup race. Picture by Trevor Wilkins Photography

The voyage was by no means straightforward for the crew of Black Cat, which was battered by high winds in the early part of the race. On their race blog, they wrote:

“To our horror the beating had damaged an already old (now 20 years) water tank and our fresh water became bilge water. Not to worry, on with the water maker and all is great.

“Our next little hurdle was a small hole in the main sail. This led to a venture up the mast and some fantastic views of the boat and Atlantic. Hole fixed without a hitch and full speed ahead.”

On arrival at St Helena Yacht Club, skipper Dave said: “We are absolutely delighted. It was such a surprise and we are over the moon. The owner, Adrian Pearson, is ecstatic because it is his first win ever in this boat.

Black Cat digs in. Picture by Trevor Wilkins Photography
Black Cat digs in. Picture by Trevor Wilkins Photography

“He spent a lot of money bringing the boat up to scratch last year and he has now realized spending the money has really paid off.

“Also we started the race in 2012 but had to retire with gear failure, so to actually finish and win overall is a dream come true.”

Dave was also skipper of Black Cat in the previous race, when he had to make for the Namibian port of Luderitz with near-complete electrical failure.

They picked up new parts and resumed their voyage, actually picking up better winds and sailing faster than the race leaders.

Read more reports on the Governor’s Cup website and Facebook page.

Big waves: the Governor’s Cup race gets under way

Seventeen yachts battled huge waves at the start of the 2014/15 Governor’s Cup yacht race between South Africa and St Helena on 27 December 2014.

The trimaran Banjo – first across the finish line two years ago – was leading the fleet as the yachts left Simons Town behind and headed for Cape Point.

Banjo’s crew had only light winds to carry them towards St Helena in 2012; this time, they were setting out in a strong 25-knot south easterly that tested the mettle of all the competitors.

The Governor’s Cup race has been staged every two years since 1996. The 2014/15 will be the last that allows supporters to follow the fleet out to the island aboard the RMS St Helena – and for crews and yachts to be transported home on the ship. The ship is set to be retired soon after the island’s first airport opens in 2016.

Read the report of the start on the event website, here

SEE ALSO: 
Governor’s Cup stories (2012/13)
Governor’s Cup pictures (2012/13)

Airport could transform St Helena race, Billy tells yachting mag

Patches, the island-crewed entry in the Governor's Cup, makes a double-page spread in Yachting World
Patches, the island-crewed entry in the Governor’s Cup, makes a double-page spread in Yachting World

The opening of St Helena’s airport could triple the number of entries in the island’s biennial race from South Africa, according to a seven-page spread in Yachting World magazine.

Click the pic for a race gallery
Click the pic for a race gallery

Its article, headlined The Greatest Ocean Race You’ve Never Heard Of, enthuses about the attraction of sailing out to one of the world’s most remote islands, and then hitching a lift back to South Africa, yacht and all, on the RMS St Helena.

Writer James Stewart speculates that when the RMS is withdrawn from service in 2015 or 16, it could spell the end of the Governor’s Cup race after nearly 20 years of deep ocean crossings.

But race organiser Billy Liesegang says it could actually make the race fleet much bigger.

The island will still have a supply ship capable of carrying the yachts home to avoid a bumpy voyage under sail, he tells the magazine. And crews would have the possibility of a quick flight home.

Conditions were cramped aboard Reaction
Conditions were cramped aboard Reaction

“With the airport you could sail the race, be back to work on the next flight, and know your yacht is in safe hands until you collect it in Cape Town,” he says.

That would open the race up to people who cannot spend several weeks away from their jobs to take part. “We could end up with 60 yachts,” he says.

Stewart’s lengthy article brings out fresh insights and yarns from the race – like the fact that one crew, all aged over 60, thought it wise to include a defibrillator and oxygen in their first-aid kit.

And the cockpit aboard Reaction – the overall winner – was so small that it had room for only two of the four crew at any time, with others waiting below decks for their turn on duty as the yacht surfed noisily down the big waves, shredding nerves.

Without an autopilot, the helmsman had to keep a hand on the tiller at all times, so if any adjustments had to be made to the sails, “other on-watch crew were called up for trim changes by a tug on a rope tail tied to their ankles.”

SEE ALSO: 
Picture special: the Governor’s Cup yacht race
Governor’s Cup stories

Curry sauce and choice language: island crew’s race adventure

Christmas Day at sea for the crew of Patches. Picture: Hedge Shuter
Christmas Day at sea for the crew of Patches. Picture: Marine Maven (T&T) Ltd

St Helena’s crew in the 2012 Governor’s Cup yacht race sailed home from South Africa on a diet of curry sauce – and blocked the lavatory twice. Skipper CHRIS “HEDGE” SHUTER reports.

Cheers: skipper Hedge
Cheers: skipper Hedge

The race was a great adventure for the crew, who worked very hard together to overcome the challenges of a long ocean voyage.

The crew did amazingly well, considering that they were novices and we had only two training sessions in False Bay before the race.

We crossed the start line with them not knowing how to fly a spinnaker and I taught them to sail en route.

Even so, we managed to finish fourth overall and retain the Muira Trophy for yacht Patches.

There were many amusing incidents, including the crew blocking the heads [toilet] twice, much to their chagrin and causing the skipper to use some choice language as he dismantled it again.

For some reason the RMS St Helena food suppliers delivered us 19 cucumbers, 3kg of garlic, 30 tins of curry sauce, no meat and no water!  This lead to an interesting diet for two weeks at sea.

The welcome home was a very humbling experience. Several boats came out to greet us and there was a great reception crowd waiting at the steps. The skipper and crew were overwhelmed and are very grateful to those who made the effort.

The crew took great pride in representing the island and did their very best to be good ambassadors for St Helena.

SEE ALSO: Skipper praises St Helena crew’s ‘brilliant achievement’

Governor’s Cup winner says ‘never again’ (on that yacht)

The winning skipper in the 2012 Governor’s Cup yacht race has hailed it an “incredible” experience – that he had no wish to repeat.

At least, not on such a small yacht.

The 29-foot Reaction won the overall Governor’s Cup – not open to multihull yachts – as the first monohull to reach James Bay, a few minutes inside 12 days.

Skipper Tinus Groenewald told SHBC reporter Sherilee Phillips: “It’s like a dream come true – fantastic feeling.

“This was our third attempt and at last we’ve got it. We worked very hard on virtually the smallest boat to make it. It’s a great great great feeling.”

Asked whether he would compete again, he said: “Not on the same boat. It’s too hard. I think we’ve achieved what we wanted to do but next time I come past here I’ll come cruising again.

“I think it’s an incredible package because you get the racing part, you get the week on the island, which is absolutely fantastic – it must be the most honest, friendliest place on Earth – and then you get the trip back on the RMS St Helena, which is just as great.”

SEE ALSO: Governor’s Cup stories

Skipper praises St Helena crew’s ‘brilliant achievement’

Hedge Shuter has praised Saint contractors who installed "world class" moorings in time for the arrival of the Governor's Cup race fleet. Picture by Mark Stevenson
Hedge Shuter has praised Saint contractors who installed “world class” moorings in time for the arrival of the Governor’s Cup race fleet. Picture by Mark Stevenson

St Helena’s crew in the Governor’s Cup yacht race has been praised by skipper Chris “Hedge” Shuter after a 15-day voyage from Simon’s Town in South Africa.

He described it as “a brilliant achievement by a novice crew”.

Four boats carried officials and wellwishers out to Banks Battery to escort Sandy Francis, Ross Towers, James McCabe and Kathryn Jackson for the final approach to James Bay.

Their yacht, Patches, crossed the finish line as light was fading, claiming fourth place on handicap in the racing monohull class.

A cheer went up from 70 people at the landing steps when Hedge and his crew stepped ashore.

In an interview with the St Helena Broadcasting (Guarantee) Corporation, Sandy’s mother, Valerie, described how she cried with worry nearly every day while she was at sea, “but when I saw her today out there on the boat, I felt so proud.”

Sandy told reporter Sharon Henry it had been a “wonderful” experience, with “one or two scary moments”. And she said Hedge had been a wonderful skipper.

  • Hedge has also praised Graham Sim, Keith Yon and Craig Yon for their work laying new yacht moorings below Ladder Hill Fort in time for the arrival of the Governor’s Cup fleet. He said: “St Helena now has world class yacht moorings, something which is great news for the yachting world, and the island can be rightly proud of this achievement.”

PREVIOUS STORY: Governor’s Cup: Hedge and co claim fourth place

LINK: SHBC report and pictures on the arrival of the St Helena crew aboard Patches

Governor’s Cup: Hedge and co claim fourth place

The St Helena Yacht Club crew aboard Patches has finished in fourth place on handicap in the racing monohull class in the Governor’s Cup yacht race.

It crossed the line at 18.30 hours on 6 January 2013, finishing in a time of 15 days, eight and a half hours – and three seconds.

The results table showed the yacht JML Rotary Scout, with Saint scout Tyler Brady aboard, claimed victory in the rally monohull class by just over half an hour.

(Note: in the results table, elapsed time indicates the actual time taken to reach St Helena; corrected time shows the official time, once handicapping is taken into account).

PREVIOUS STORY: Governor’s Cup: last boat is the fastest

Tyler has home in sight, with six yachts due in a day

Banjo becomes the first yacht to finish in the Governor's Cup. Picture: SHBC
Banjo becomes the first yacht to finish in the Governor’s Cup. Picture: SHBC

Saint scout Tyler Brady is expected to arrive in James Bay on 3 January 2012 in the Governor’s Cup yacht race, according to the official website.

He has been a crew member aboard JML Rotary Scout, one of six yachts thought likely to cross the finish line on the same day. At one point the yacht had taken the lead in the rally monohull class, but by 2 January had dropped back to second place.

Team Banjo: finished in time for tea. Picture: SHBC
Team Banjo: finished in time for tea. Picture: SHBC

The two fastest yachts, Banjo and Sandpiper 2, reached the island on New Year’s Day and 2 January.

Patches, with a full St Helena crew under skipper Hedge Shuter, is one of five yachts looking likely to reach the island on 5 January, with the last boats coming in the next day – including Black Cat, which lost time pulling in to a Nambian port for repairs.

Sue Pelling, the official race journalist, reports that Banjo’s crew crossed the line to a heroes’ welcome at 17.35 on Tuesday, 1 January 2012, after a 10-day downwind blast from the South African port of Simon’s Town.

As they stepped ashor, writes Sue, Team Banjo were surprisingly chirpy but joint skipper Kevin Webb did admit to feeling content to be back on shore: “We are feeling relieved and happy. We tried hard, had a great sail. We made a couple of tactical errors but our revised strategy paid off.”

Although the conditions were light at times, particularly in the early part of the race, most experienced classic Atlantic conditions at some point. For Webb and van der Merwe, there was one particular day that really stood out. “We had a run of 225 miles over a 24-hour period with the highlight being screaming down waves at 18 knots. We also had a few bad points too, which included experiencing really dark nights and falling into massive holes in the sea.”

The race is now on for handicap honours in the racing monohull fleet. The yacht Reaction was just 12 miles ahead of Indaba but sailing more slowly, giving either a change of a class win.

  • Sadly, Tyler Bradley is the only St Helena scout aboard JML Rotary Scout. Another member of the Jamestown scouts travelled to South Africa to join the crew, but was unable to take up his place for medical reasons.

map 2 Jan v2PREVIOUS STORY:
Why Banjo sailed so fast: it was being chased by a bagpiper

LINKS:
Latest report by Sue Pelling
Estimated finish times: Governor’s Cup website

Why Banjo sailed so fast: it was being chased by a bagpiper

Banjo, photographed by Jan Theron
Banjo, photographed by Jan Theron

The yacht Banjo became the first to reach St Helena in the Governor’s Cup yacht race at 17:35:24 local time on New Year’s Day. A detailed report will follow later. Chasing yacht Sandpiper 2 was expected at around midday on 2 January 2012.

Paul Tanner of Sandpiper 2 told race journalist Sue Pelling that after being kept occupied with electrical problems, he was looking forward to an ice-cold beer at the finish. “The rest of the crew say they are also looking forward to a shower, and female company,” he said.

“On a lighter note, I play the bagpipes, so one could say the highlight has been a duel between bagpipes and Banjo.”

He did not say whether he would be playing in the bows when Sandpiper 2 crosses the finishing line. Maybe it was the very thought of that prospect that kept the Banjo crew working hard to get away from their close rival.

PREVIOUS STORY: Sandpiper 2 slips behind in duel with Banjo

Banjo heads for second win in Governor’s Cup yacht race

 

Banjo, photographed in 2009. Source: www.governorscup.co.za
Banjo, photographed in 2009. Source: www.governorscup.co.za

The lead yachts in the Governor’s Cup yacht race have passed the half-way mark in their voyage from South Africa to St Helena.

With a strong lead, the racing multihull Banjo looks set to be the first across the line for the second time in a row.

But light winds that have plagued the fleet meant the yacht was unlikely to match its 2010 finish time of 9 days, 18 hours and 59 seconds.

On that occasion it was sailed by just two crew with a borrowed spinnaker and few comforts aboard. The yacht now has a new owner, Kevin Webb, who has fitted out the yacht at its base in South Africa’s St Helena Bay.

Kevin has 40 years of racing experience, but the Governor’s Cup is his first “true” off-shore event, according to the race website. His two crew include his son, Miles, a yacht delivery skipper and a national racing champion.

Patches, with a St Helena crew under skipper Hedge Shuter, lay well behind the bulk of the fleet at the end of Day 7 (28 December 2012), but JML Rotary Scout, with two island scouts aboard, was one of a group of yachts all with just under 1,000 miles still to sail.

Read the half-way stage report by official race journalist Sue Pelling here.

map day 7

 

Facebook