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Anticipation mounts for Lipton Cup as Theewater Sports Club's female skipper challenges the RCYC

by Christa Badenhorst, RCYC 25 Jun 00:52 PDT 27-31 August 2024
Theewater entry for Lipton Cup © Royal Cape Yacht Club

Accomplished sailor Di Hutton-Squire and her crew from Theewater Sport Club are challenging and competing against the formidable Royal Cape Yacht Club, the current holders of the Lipton Challenge Cup, which they claimed in last year's contest off the coast of Durban.

It's been many years since a woman skippered a yacht in the Lipton Challenge Cup, and with her skill and reputation, she will have a big following urging her to victory.

Hutton-Squire is no stranger to top class sailing competitions and having been on the admin end of the Lipton Challenge Cup on several occasions as Race Officer and Team Manager, but this will be her first on-water attempt at wrestling the cup back for her Club.

"I have an incredibly good boat in 'Tin-Tin', a JPK 10:10 design. She has a wonderful international pedigree with podiums in many international regattas. So, if all the permutations like wind, weather, handicaps and crew work align that week, we could well be in with a chance of lifting the Lipton Cup" she said.

"However, there are always buts, I will not be able to sail with or prepare my crew until late July due to a foot operation. We are sailing this weekend as I have selected some crew and need to assess others. This will be a full-on training session before I make my final crew selection. I sincerely hope that this will be enough to make us competitive."

The Lipton Cup, being a challenge contest, requires a Club other than the Defending Club, to issue a challenge for a contest to be held. The Theewater Sports Club is no newcomer to the Lipton Challenge Cup having won on seven different occasions, the last being in 2008. In recent years the Club has had a scarce presence in the regatta, so the hosts are delighted that Di Hutton-Squire has been selected, to challenge the Royal Cape Yacht Club.

She fully understands that handicap racing, which is the way the Lipton Challenge Cup is now contested, can add pressure to teams. She feels that if the conditions are at the extreme ends of the scale - either very strong or very light - she and her team will have a strong chance of taking the honours and lifting the Lipton Cup in victory.

Entries do not close until 30 days prior to the start on 27 August, and a fleet of more than ten teams is expected.

The City of Cape Town has backed this year's event fully, acknowledging the importance of the Royal Cape Yacht Club in the City's maritime history.

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