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Governor's Cup - Charge to the finish, line honours at stake

by Sue Pelling in conjunction with ADPR on 2 Jan 2013
Banjo - 2012 Governor’s Cup Race Jan Theron
In the 1,750-mile Governor's Cup race, which got underway on the 22nd December, Kevin Webb’s Farrier F9AX trimaran, co-skippered by Sarel van der Merwe, from Royal Cape Yacht Club, Cape Town, is on her final descent towards the island of St Helena for the finish.

Webb and team continue to make the most of the stunning Atlantic conditions and are currently blasting along on a downwind sleigh ride in up to 20kts of wind, in an attempt to gain time over Robert Newman’s Du Toit catamaran – Compromise – which is currently leading the Rally Multihull fleet on handicap.

For Team Banjo however, the honour of being first across the finish line at Jamestown, will be an experience they won’t forget in a hurry. Billy Leisegang, the principal race officer, says the festival atmosphere on St Helena is revving up, particularly with the imminent sighting of Banjo on the horizon. Speaking from St Helena this morning, Leisegang commented: 'We are anticipating Banjo will cross the line anytime between midday and 1500 today. They are still over the horizon but the atmosphere here on the island is very exciting. We are anticipating a huge turnout of spectators later, and it will be a day to remember.'

As the situation stands Sandpiper 2 – Abri Erasmus/Paul Tanner’s Simonis Voogd 42ft catamaran ¬– will be second to cross the finish line mid morning tomorrow. The team is currently lying in third place overall on handicap in the Rally Multihull fleet with just 200 miles to go, and are keen to beat Banjo on handicap. Speaking from the boat this morning Tanner commented: 'Life is very good on board we are eating well but have had serious electrical problems, which has kept us occupied quite a bit of the time, so I am looking forward to an ice cold beer at the finish. The rest of the crew say they are also looking forward to a shower, and female company. On a serious note, though, what we want most is a good shower and the company of other humans. We haven’t seen another yacht for five days.

'We’ve had a great voyage and enjoyed the camaraderie on board. Other highlights include the tuna we caught, which we had with chips and, of course, the dual we’ve had with Banjo. On a lighter note, I play the bagpipes, so one could say the highlight has been a dual between bagpipes and Banjo!'

As far as the overall honours for the Governor’s Cup is concerned, Thinus Groenewald’s Royal Cape One-Design – Reaction – is the current favourite. Although she does seem to have the edge in the favourable downwind, planning-hull conditions, it is still too early to predict the winning result. Team Reaction are racing hard to retain their position, but they are no doubt very aware of the fact they need to maintain their level of performance in order to keep John Levin’s ever-threatening Stadt 34 – Indaba – in their wake.


JML Rotary Scout, the Tosca 39 co-skippered by Peter Bosch and Steven Jennings and crewed by a group of Scouts from Cape Town and St Helena aged between 16-18 years old, also continue to sail well in the Rally Monohull fleet but overnight, appear to have been overtaken once again by initial fleet leaders, Ivan Flodgren and the Swedish team, aboard their Hallberg Rassey Rasmus 35 – Kuheli. JML Rotary Scout won its class in the Governor’s Cup last time it was held (2010/11) so the team are working hard to defend their title, however, it looks as though the Swedes are on a mission.


A quote from a team member of the yacht which takes line honours today will be posted on the Governor’s Cup website later today.

More details on the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race can be found at Governors Cup.

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