Preparations for the 2014 edition of the Vasco da Gama race are underway, the international premier blue water ocean race that starts in Maputo on Thursday 19 June.
Hosted by the Royal Natal Yacht Club, the race that starts in Maputo and finishes in Durban is a gruelling 300 NM race. It originated in 1967 running from Maputo to Durban and then from Durban to East London during the Mozambique Civil War and then again early in the millennium, returned to Mozambique.
The race is open to both racing yachts and cruisers with the record being held by former Commodore of the Royal Natal Yacht Club, Chris Frost. Frost will be lining up to compete in his tenth Vasco this year; the accomplished skipper set the course record in 2006.
Frost's remarkable record still stands, "We had superb conditions in 2006 with a 25 knot north easterly until Tugela where we were hit by a 50 knot westerly front. Before then we had an eta in Durban of below 22 hours! We shredded our main in the westerly, essentially finishing with a flat tyre, and where delighted to still manage a record time, that has held all these years."
Defending champion, Gregg Hurter who skippers the Beneteau First 40, Bellatrix claims, "I enjoy the big downwind sailing that is associated with the Vasco. It is enthralling surfing down the massive swells you get off the East Coast."
"My best memory from last year's race would be hauling in Skitso in the last hours to the finish, a fantastic conclusion to a great race. Hollywood could not have scripted it better." Hurter continued. "Last year with the drama we had with our spinnakers, I believe we are going to carry one extra, possibly a bigger spinnaker. We have also changed the pole break that let us down the last trip, but that is all that we are changing for this year. Our team isn't finalised yet but I am hoping to have as many of last year's team as possible."
18 trophies will be awarded to the sailors, including for the best navigator, the first KwaZulu Natal boat to cross the line, the trophy for good comradeship and the most recent trophy, the Choose Life Youth Trophy for the first youth under 25 across the line.
"This will be a 'fun' event, as I can't see anyone pushing their boats too hard for this with the risk of damage before the big one." commented Race Committee Chairman, Dave Claxton.
For more info visit the Royal Natal Yacht Club's website
or like the Facebook page Vasco da Gama 2014