The 2017 Vasco Da Gama Ocean sailing race was remarkable for two things – A complete downwind dash from Durban to Port Elizabeth and every single yacht in the fleet completed the course within the record time of 2 days, 6 hours and 1 minute set in the 2015 Vasco.
John Tudehope’s Wallbanger – a Simonis 35 has now completed three Vasco Da Gama Ocean Races from Durban to Port Elizabeth. Wallbanger is only able to sail with 4 crew making for a gruelling race down the coast. Accompanying Tudehope on all three races so far has been ABYC Commodore, Alan Straton.
The 2017 Vasco Da Gama Race had John, Alan, Morgan Griffiths (ABYC Sailing Commodore) and Mark Dawson (GIMCO representative) on-board for the 46th race.
After many years of being sailed from Durban to East London as the Wilbur Ellis Vasco Da Gama, the race was sailed from Maputo to Durban until the 2014 decision was made to run the race along the South African Coastline between Point Yacht Club, Durban and Algoa Bay Yacht Club, Port Elizabeth. This decision was the catalyst for the revival of the race and interest in ocean sailing bringing great benefit to the two cities and the yachting industry as hardy sailors grabbed a badge of honour for racing down South Africa’s Wild Coast.
The organising of the 2018 Vasco Da Gama race reverts to the Royal Natal Yacht Club for the next three years and RNYC have yet to announce whether they will continue the race in it’s current format or change the start and end points.