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Governor’s Cup: last boat is the fastest

Unlucky: Black Cat
Unlucky: Black Cat

The yacht trailing at the rear of the fleet in the race from South Africa to St Helena has actually sailed faster than the leaders, according to an update filed by JOHN LESLIE (6 December 2012).

He writes: There are now three yachts reporting less the 50 nautical miles (nm) to the finish line at 0900 CAT this morning.
First in should be the Norwegians on Maggie followed by either Patches (the St Helena Yacht Club entry) or Tico-Tico.
Ocean Cloud (92nm) should be at the island later tonight, with Silver Cloud (122nm) and Black Cat (148nm) probably crossing the finish line in the early hours of Monday morning.
What is really impressive is that Black Cat, which detoured to Luderitz, and only resumed racing on Sunday 30 December 2012, will have covered the 1,332 miles from Luderitz to St Helena in eight days, averaging a very respectable 167nm per day.
Banjo, the first to finish, averaged 166nm per day from Simon’s Town, and the Governor’s Cup winner, Reaction, managed an 24-hour average of 144nm for the race.
Perhaps the Crew from Black Cat will be the first entrant into the next Governor’s Cup, because I’m certain they, like Tinus Groenewald from Reaction, will have some “unfinished business” to avenge in 2014.

St Helena crew ‘home by Twelfth Night’

Reaction has claimed the 2012 Governor's Cup. Picture: Jan Theron
Reaction has claimed the 2012 Governor’s Cup. Picture: Jan Theron

Hedge Shuter and his crew aboard the Governor’s Cup yacht Patches are expected to reach St Helena by tea time on 6 January 2013 – just in time for the traditional end of Christmas on Twelfth Night.

Hedge and team mates Ross Towers, James McCabe and Sandi Francis have been at sea longer than expected, thanks to light winds that slowed down the 19-strong fleet.

According to the race positions at 0900 on 5 January, they looked set to finish at 18.00 – an hour ahead of chasing yacht TicoTico and four hours behind Maggie.

The Patches crew teamed up in South Africa.
The Patches crew teamed up in South Africa.

Fellow St Helena competitor Tyler Brady has found himself among the class winners aboard JML Rotary Scout, after a loss of wind frustrated Swedish challengers in Kuheli within sight of the island.

Kuheli reported being ten miles from the island at 09.00 on Saturday morning (5 January), with a good chance of crossing the finish line by 11.22 in order to beat the scouts team on handicap. The wind dropped in the final three hours, giving JML Rotary Scout a narrow victory.

Tyler was one of four scouts on the yacht – the others all from South Africa. He had little sailing experience before heading for Cape Town in time for to take part in a qualifying voyage of 200 nautical miles.

Co-skipper Stephen Jennings said Tyler would be welcome aboard in the future. He told SHBC reporter Damian O’Bey: “Tyler surprised us a lot.

Team Reaction celebrate reaching St Helena. Picture: SHBC
Team Reaction celebrate reaching St Helena. Picture: SHBC

“He came to us with hardly any experience, us thinking this might be a liability. As soon as he jumped on the yacht he was wide eyes, and he immediately got to work.

“He did tend to sleep a lot, but when he was helping us he learned quite quickly.

“Whenever we were pulling down a spinnaker, whenever we needed a bit of foredeck work, he would be chucking on his harness, tightening up, clipping himself in and trying to get in with the crew. Eventually he was on his own at the front, pulling in spinnakers.

“I was happy to have him as crew I’m quite happy to say he can be part of the crew whenever he wants.”

Johnny Clingham’s St Helena Community website reports that Tyler was not the only Saint novice in the race:

Sandi Francis is very new to sailing, he writes, unlike James McCabe – back in St Helena on a gap year – who has enjoyed boating all his life.

Compromise, winner in the multihull class. Picture: SHBC
Compromise, winner in the multihull class. Picture: SHBC

Ross Towers, who served as first mate, took time off from his job with St Helena National Trust to take part in the race.

Hedge Shuter, serving as a sergeant with the St Helena police, is a qualified Ocean Yacht Master who’d been a leading figure in yachting in a previous posting in the Caribbean.

The overall Governor’s Cup 2012 winner has been named as Reaction, which finished the race in 11 days, 23 hours and 43 minutes – just fast enough to beat Indaba on handicap.

Thinus Groenewald said the win resolved “unfinished business” from the previous race.

“Last time, when we were flying towards St Helena, our rudder failed and we had to pull into Saldanha Bay to fit a new one. We were convinced we could have won that one had we not had gear failure.

“Therefore we are absolutely delighted with this result. Once we found the breeze we enjoyed a fabulous sail all the way to the island.”

The first yachts home in the race, Banjo and Sandpiper 2, actually finished second and third in the rally multihull class behind Compromise, the winner on handicap.

PREVIOUS STORY: Tyler and friends re-take class lead as yachts dash for home

Tyler and friends re-take class lead as yachts dash for home

map midday 3 jan

JML Rotary Scout's young crew. Picture: Jan Theron
JML Rotary Scout’s young crew. Picture: Jan Theron

Saint scout Tyler Brady and his crew mates aboard JML Rotary Scout have re-taken the lead in their class in the Governor’s Cup yacht race, with the finish at St Helena almost in sight.

They sailed 156 miles in 24 hours, against the 101 miles of closest rival Kuheli. Read the full rankings, as recorded at 09.00 on 3 January, here.

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

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.

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

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

Governor’s Cup: Sandpiper 2 slips behind in duel with Banjo

map day 10 dec 31This is how the Governor’s Cup yacht fleet looked as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. Two days earlier, there was speculation that Sandpiper 2 might shrink the lead established by the trimaran Banjo – first across the line in the 2010 race. The yacht tracker appeared to suggest that Banjo had pulled away, though readers should watch the cup website for confirmation of positions: the tracker does not always present the accurate picture. On handicap, though, neither yacht looked set to claim the overall prize.

PREVIOUS STORY: St Helena crew moves up the Governor’s Cup fleet

St Helena crew moves up the Governor’s Cup fleet

Hedge Shuter and his St Helena crew aboard Patches have moved up to fourth place in their class in the Governor’s Cup yacht race, overhauling PERI African Renaisance in the handicap table.

JML Rotary Scout, with young Saint Tyler Brady aboard, is now leading the eight remaining boats in the rally monohull class.

The race tracker showed the scout yacht to be 559 miles from St Helena at 11.32 hours on 31 December 2012, with Patches lying 786 miles from the island at 10.47 hours, towards the rear of the fleet.

The leading yacht, Banjo, was 270 miles from the island at midday, with the tracker suggesting it had re-established its lead over chasing yacht Sandpiper 2. However, the catamaran Compromise was still listed as leading the four-strong racing multihull fleet at 0900.

The crew of Black Cat, now back in the race after pulling into Luderitz for repairs, report good spirits on board: “Other than being damp, with little sleep, we are all very happy to be heading north again. The air is warm and last night’s sunset was magnificent, the food is good and plentiful and the morale high.” Read more here.

Race is on for a New Year’s Day finish

Positions at 0900, 31 December 2012
Yacht tracker (click on the image at the left of the screen; refresh the page if need be)