The largest international sailing event coincides with the colourful formalities of Point Yacht Club's annual Opening Cruise where all the yachts parade past the dignitary's boat, donning their caps and saluting to all on-board. The boats will then head down to the start line in preparation of attempting to break the Guinness World Record set last year.
The global event invites sailing boats of all shapes and sizes to embrace the idea of getting on the water, racing, having fun and celebrating everything Andrew 'Bart' Simpson stood for. The event, held in honour of Simpson recorded a phenomenal 30,734 sailors participating in the 2014 event and 16,870. Over 500 venues hosted the 2014 worldwide race, with a total of 87,228,403 meters being sailed, which roughly equates to sailing twice around the world. In January this year, the inaugural Bart's Bash entered the Guinness World Record books for the Largest Sailing Race in 24 Hours (multiple venues).
Simpson, an Olympic sailor, tragically died in a training accident for the America's Cup in 2013. Bart's Bash was created both as a fundraiser for various sailing academies around the world and of course to remember the inspirational sailor.
Initially Bart's Bash organisers had hoped for 50 clubs to sign up for the inaugural day, with possibly 2,000 participants in the United Kingdom. The 2015 event appears to be gathering momentum as race day approaches.
Commodore for the Point Yacht Club, Craig Millar considers, "Entries are already over 320 yacht clubs and 45 countries participating and we are delighted to be one of those clubs. Last year we had 96 boats and over 200 sailors participating, the most we have had on the water in sometime. It was a phenomenal start to our busy season and was heartening to see so many sailors dusting off their kit and join in on this amazing event."
Each race venue sets the course with the only specifications to be part of the Guinness World Record set by the race organisers, Bart's Bash is for the course needing to be over 1km and sailed for more than 15minutes.
This exciting international event coincides with the opening of Durban's summer sailing season, where Point Yacht Club will be hosting the Opening Cruise in the Durban Harbour on Sunday 20 September.