Cape Town crews have won silver and bronze in sailing’s Laser SB3 World Championships in Portugal, a fairy-tale ending to a tough season of training and racing on the European circuit.
Team RaceAhead have steadily developed into two powerful racing teams, and both ashore and on the water they were great ambassadors for SA and for the sport of sailing in our country.ÔÇ¿ World championships this year were held in the open North Atlantic off the coast of Cascais in Portugal in perfect racing conditions – moderate to strong winds and at times the kind of waves that we often see off our own Atlantic seaboard in winter.
There were 56 teams from the UK, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Australia and our two from SA. ÔÇ¿Racing on “City of Cape Town” were Wandisile Xayimpi (20) Jamie Waters (28), Neil Malan (19) and Dave Hudson as skipper.
The “Spirit of CapeTown” team was Taariq Jacobs (19 – helm), Marlon Jones (20), Ashton Sampson (29), and Roger Hudson (31) who skippered the team. ÔÇ¿Between the teams they won seven of the 14 races that decided the title over the 5 day event ÔÇ¿Going into the last day of racing, “Spirit of Cape Town” team were only two points behind the leaders – the 2009 UK national champions led by highly respected British helmsman Craig Burlton.
After a classic bit of match-racing at the start of the last race that left the UK team languishing mid-fleet, our guys began their charge toward the front of the pack. Sadly they ran out of time, and the title was decided in the final minutes of the last race.
At the same time the┬á “City of Cape Town” team was engaged in a great final race tussle for the bronze.ÔÇ¿ After 10 races they had been only five points off the lead, and with four races still to go at that stage it was felt the championship was well within our reach. Then unfortunately two tactical errors in the next two races took us out of contention for the title ÔÇ¿All the same, nailing third place by winning the final race – our fourth win of the championship – left the young team in very high spiritsÔÇ¿.
As Roger Hudson said at the prize-giving: “It was devastating to have come so close to taking the Championship this year without being able to clinch it in the final moments. At the same time we gave it absolutely everything we had, and its clear that both teams have greatly improved their skills and abilities. at this level of competition.
“I believe we are beginning to show what the RaceAhead approach to top level interntional competition can achieve. And we are unlocking and developing a wonderful pool of talent and commitment that we are finding amongst young South African yachtsmen.”