forget the frostbite

I am the definition of a fair weather sailor. You can keep your Frostbite series and I’ll see you in the spring. I get it that temperatures vary and some Frostbites actually end up in the 60s, but I’m no chancer. So where? I first read about the Cape 31, a one design by Mark Mills first launched during the 2017 Volvo Ocean Cape Town Stopover, sitting in the cold at Christmas. The Southern Hemisphere seemed due far enough south.

Now in Cape Town, excitement is growing as 11 teams prepare to race the Cape 31 Invitational Regatta this weekend, February 8-10. The event kicked off today with the handing over of the charter boats, followed by an afternoon wine tour of sponsor Durbanville Hills wine farm (yes, I manage to write this!). Tomorrow will see practice races and a tech talk, and three days of races will start Friday morning after weigh-ins. Go here to follow results: http://cape31.co.za/cape-31-invitational-regatta/

The boats are moored in V&A Waterfront with racing set to take place in Table Bay. A total of 11 teams are racing, including three international teams who will be sailing in Cape Town waters for the first time. The international teams, from Sweden, Hong Kong and the UK, arrived today.

“Some are out in Table Bay practicing already,” said Hylton Hale, managing director of Worldsport Sailing. The visitors will race against some of South Africa’s top sailing talent including Olympic sailors, world champions, and Volvo Ocean Race sailors. America’s Cup Shozoloza campaigner Mark Sadler is sailing on Team Orion from Hong Kong; Anthony Spillebean, multiple Volvo Ocean Race campaigner and Fast40 circuit sailor is also on Team Orion; multiple international dinghy champion David Rae is sailing Nitro; Olympic campaigner Roger Hudson on Magic, TP52 campaigners Tina Plattner and Tony Norris on TNT Sailing; 29er World Champ Alex Burger on Turquoise; Volvo Ocean Race sailor Paul Willcox with Mike Bartholomew’s UK team on Flame; and Olympic campaigner Gareth Blanckenberg will be racing on TNT Sailing.

It is absolutely exciting to discover a new one design and see it grow. South Africa and the Western Cape in particular have a rich history of boat building. The Cape 31 is a homegrown concept and build. 12 have been built, with three more on order, adding a substantial boost to local sailing and the economy. A new build will set you back R 2.4 million (about USD 176K).

“The V&A Waterfront is proud to be the host venue for the C31 Invitational Regatta, as supporting and developing South Africa’s ocean economy is a significant focus area for us,” said Donald Kau, Head: PR & Communications at the V&A Waterfront. Kau is keenly aware of Capetonians custodianship of one of the most recognized waterfronts in the world, and hopes the event will encourage them to “reconnect with, and enjoy” their rich marine heritage. – Heather Richie