Gale force winds test MAC 24-hour sailors

Sailors from across the city came out in numbers during the MAC-24 hour sail in Milnerton a fortnight ago

pictures: Angela Gray

Twenty-seven entries launched their boats – six did not make it to the noon start line in these extreme conditions. After hours of sailing the 24 Hour Fleet had been reduced to just six boats.

The wind had taken it’s toll on boats and crews with the Sea Scout’s Saldanha Dinghies broaching and capsizing spectacularly much to the delight of the spectators and photographers.

The Sonnet, 420, Pico and RS Feva Dinghies were nosediving into the big swell that was running – many of them capsizing.

Team CES Liugong Forklift – an Enterprise Dinghy had special storm sails cut for the Challenge and they worked beautifully – not capsizing in the extreme conditions.

The Sonnets were flying around the course, sailing 40% faster than the other dinghies – this was the weather they had been waiting for.

After three and a half hours the wind peaked at 30 plus knots and the race committee postponed the event.

An attempt to restart at 5.30pm and 8.30pm was thwarted by the consistently strong winds.

Sunday morning 5.30am Skippers briefing and 6.30am start, and the Challenge was on again.

The wind had subsided, but by 10.30am was back up again.

Most teams finished the event at noon Sunday and carried on sailing an extra hour in the Bar One 25 Hour Challenge.

The Sonnets dominated the first three positions on handicap with Junior Sailors on a Pico in 4th and RS Feva in 5th and Enterprise in 6th.

A well run prize-giving ended the 24-Hour Challenge with tall stories from all competing sailors – all ready for next year’s event.

Top six positions were:

1st Radio Holland (Sonnet)

2nd Cape Dancer (Sonnet)

3rd DCYC Sonnet (Sonnet)

4th JML Sailing Together (Pico)

5th Sailing Feva (RS Feva)

6th CES – Liugong Forklift (Enterprise)

See MAC 24-Hour Challenge Facebook page for photos and results.

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