The most prestigious sailing event heads to Durban this July, the 65th Lipton Challenge Cup will be taking place offshore of Durban from 6 - 13 July, hosted by Point Yacht Club.
The defending champions, Royal Cape Yacht Club kindly offered the Durban yacht club hosting rights of this esteemed event that has all the yacht clubs in the country entering their top teams to compete on an L26 yacht.
The last time this event took place on local waters was in 2013 when, after six days of nail-biting sailing, Point Yacht Club managed to claim victory in dramatic fashion. Returning to defend the 2013 title are four from the original crew, with youngster Jethro Brophy-Tintinger, who has been rising through the ranks replacing former Olympic sailor, Alec Lanham-Love. They will be sailing on the recently overhauled yacht, Element.
Leading the team is helmsman and key decision maker, Richard Weddell. The quiet lad is a demon on the tiller, and determinedly lead his team to victory five years ago, taking on Lipton giant Greg Davies and his well-oiled gang representing Royal Cape Yacht Club and various other top squads from around the nation.
Weddell is joined by Struan Campbell, Byron Watt and Rudy McNeill all from the winning team and up-and-coming school boy, Brophy-Tintinger. Campbell, a familiar face on two hulls, has been honing his skills on the ultra-slick and super-fast Hobie Tiger. Campbell has sailed professionally around the world, and is the most senior sailor onboard, he will be sharing his years of sailing wisdom with his team mates in the hope of securing Point Yacht Clubs 11th victory.
Durban North's McNeill, a former highly international competitive Laser sailor most recently travelled to Canada to compete in the Laser world champs, will be competing in his third Lipton Challenge. Keen ocean sportsman, Byron Watt has competed in five Lipton Challenges and is keen to get his sixth under his belt. The ocean adventurer has sailed in five Vasco da Gama races and has one Cape2Rio under his belt and is eyeing out the 2020 epic Atlantic crossing.
The Point Yacht Club team will be taking on the crème-de-la-crème sailors from around South Africa in this exciting six day offshore regatta. Race Officer, Jimmy Melville will be setting a variety of courses as per the Lipton deed, with the one class design needing to compete 12 nautical miles per race.
Defending champions, Royal Cape Yacht Club have had their name engraved 15 times on the historic trophy, followed by Zeekoevlei Yacht Club on 11 titles and then PYC with 10 wins since this historic sailing event started in 1911.
Anyone with a vague interest in sailing will be watching with keen enthusiasm as the 65th Lipton Challenge Cup takes place offshore of Durban mid-July.