Major South Africa yachting event announced

Jul 16, 2004
Author: P&S

A major new yachting event on the international calendar was announced in Durban yesterday (15 July 2004).

The event is the 2 Oceans African Challenge, South Africa’s first true global blue water race, which was launched at a maritime conference held at Wilson’s Wharf. The inaugural race is scheduled for the third week of June 2006 and will take place over nine legs lasting an expected 108 days.

Lee Lyons of Ocean Sailing Academy said the race would use unique sailing waters in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The race begins in Cape Town, with legs to Luderitz, the island of St Helena in mid Atlantic, Simon’s Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Maputo, Dar es Salaam, round the north of Madagascar to Mauritius before the final leg which finishes the race in Durban.

“This is the fourth biggest ocean race in the world and can be compared with events like the Clipper Challenge organised by Robin Knox-Johnston.”

Robbie Dove, owner of Ocean Sailing Academy and the initiator of the event said in Maputo, where was about to set off as a participant in the annual Da Gama race from Maputo to Durban, that negotiations were underway with South African yards to have twelve identical 40ft monohull yachts built.

“The race will consist of the same type of boat and will come down to a question of individual skills by each team.” He said a test boat would be built locally which would be compared with a similar boat already on its way from a yard in Bavaria, Germany. After evaluation tenders would be issued.

Each yacht will have a skipper and a crew of eight and Lyons said the organisers were confident of the event being fully subscribed. “We anticipate our main problem will be siphoning through the potential crews.”

Extensive crew training will begin next year in Durban and Cape Town which will form part of the 17-week training programme under the auspices of the Royal Yachting Association, of which Ocean Sailing Academy is an approved teaching facility. During this course the final crews will be selected.

Ocean Sailing Academy can be contacted at Durban 031-301 5726 or visit the website

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