A word to describe the Easter Regatta would be gnarly, over the four days the enthusiastic sailors from around South Africa were greeted with a pumping westerly that challenged the sailors over the four days.
Four classes lined up to compete: The 505 and Dart one up Nationals, the Hobie 14 Provincials and an Open Class. Local sailors representing Point Yacht Club claimed victory in three of the four classes. World class sailors, Peter and Thomas Funke (PYC) won the 505s, Ben Meine the Darts, Peter Hall (PYC) the Hobie 14 and Siyanda Vato and Nhlanhla Phakathi the Open Class.
Race Officer for the regatta, Jimmy Melville had a testing time on the bridge boat as he sat watching the wind speeds that registered near 20knots on most days, too dangerous for the small dinghy boats. Melville only managed to get in five races over the four days, with the second day of racing being abandoned.
Leading man in the 505s, Thomas Funke said, "Yeah, it was tight racing all round, absolutely good fun. I think there was competition everywhere in the fleet and for a lot of the guys it was down to the wire with not much in it!"
"Our campaign started early this year and we spent a lot of time on boat preparation. I would say that was key for us, sorting that out as we usually leave that as one of the last things. Peter and I made a huge effort to meet at least once a month to get on the water. We changed some of the rigging, got a new mast and a new set of sails. It worked well for us! The last day, seeing the predicted heavy conditions we changed to our old sails which made us a bit slower but we managed to tweak some of our settings and it was all good!"
Ranked in the top ten 505s, the Funke brothers will be concentrating their efforts here this year, "Roundabout now, we would be packing up the boat and shipping it off to the Worlds, but we aren't going to the States for the Worlds but have opted to stay here and build the local fleet. There is so much potential here, it looks really promising. Then maybe next year we will head to Europe to race there and then Australia in 2019."
Leading Hobie sailor, Peter Hall said, "Overall, the regatta was great, I would say it was quite testy on the water. Conditions were quite blowy and in the only race held on the last day, first place changed about five times. Testament to the concentration required out on the water. It was very competitive racing. I capsized on the start line and managed to score a second in the last race, so only just managed to squeeze Garth out on points to claim the title."
"My success would have to be down to boat speed, conditions were really trying the whole weekend, the surf conditions were tough. A couple of the up-country boys did alright on the water, the others struggled."
Close of 100 sailors now have loads of tales to regale after a tough long weekend on the water at the Point Yacht Club's Easter Regatta that took place offshore.
Top international 505 sailors, Thomas and Peter Funke navigate the beat down towards the shark nets during the Easter Regatta held offshore by Point Yacht Club. The Funke brothers were crowned national champions after they dominated the 505 fleet in the four day regatta. Pic by Sophie Thompson.