No storm in the Lipton teacup

26 August 2002
CAPETONIANS may have welcomed last week's surprise advent of sunny weather, but it did cause havoc at the Lipton Challenge Cup Regatta where UCT's North Sails was among the 29 boats taking part.

The event, which took place from Sunday, August 18, to Friday, August 23, is considered the most prestigious sailing challenge in the country. Organisers had to scratch their heads in frustration however as the wind – gushing spiritedly only a few days before – was a virtual no-show.

Not only did this lead to late starts on the Sunday and Monday, but also had sailing called off in toto on the Tuesday.

The UCT sailors – skipper Roger Hudson, David Bartholomew, Finn de Haan, John Eloff, Hudson's sister Dale and Lara Keytel – took their yacht, North Sails, out on Wednesday however as proceedings got off to an early start to take advantage of the morning winds.

By Wednesday afternoon, the UCT team was in eighth place overall. A one-design race, which means everyone sails an L26 (L for the boat's designer, Angelo Lavranos, and 26 for its length in feet), it would all come down to skill, Dale Hudson noted on the day before the event.

But with the UCT boat only getting to the Royal Cape Yacht Club late on the day before racing was to start, and the crew only coming together recently, team members were realistic about their chances in this year's event (UCT finished fourth last year). "On paper, we have the skills to get a top three result, but at this stage we haven't put in the time and we're too young as a team to expect too much," Hudson observed.

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