After Mike Holt and Carl Smit won the SAP 505 World Championships with a day to spare, the final day in South Africa was all about who could secure 2nd place overall on Friday 3 April 2015.
The 2015 World Champions decided to sit out the final race, and instead contributed to the live commentary from on the water. “It’s been great to watch a race from the outside and just enjoy it, rather than worrying about the result,” said Holt, celebrating his second world title. “I’m glad we didn’t leave it until the last day to decide the regatta, because it looked really tricky out there.”
Holt paid tribute to the hard-working volunteers who put on such a great show at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club. While one day was cancelled due to 45-knot winds, the other five days produced some of the best sailing conditions that the international 505 fleet has ever experienced. “I can’t speak highly enough of the sailing we’ve had here,” said Holt. “I wish more sailors had travelled to Port Elizabeth to experience it for themselves.”
At an emotion filled prizegiving the international sailors were treated to praise South African style and were vocal in their 100% thumbs up for a friendly yacht club in the friendliest of cities.
Noteworthy dignitaries included the Executive Mayor Oom Ben Fihla who, to his eternal credit, arrived quietly and unannounced in his own vehicle and with no entourage or bodyguards – a testament to his confidence and comfort in his own stature.
Thanking the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan City leaders for their vision in supporting the World Championships led Alan Straton to leap off the stage, stride to Oom Ben and hug him in thanks for supporting international sailing whilst helping cement Port Elizabeth as the Watersport Capital.
Sailors and sponsors alike were effusive in their praise of the facilities and many people who gave up of their time to assist as volunteers. As ABYC Commodore Alan Straton quipped; “Sailing is one of the very few sports in which captains of industry will give freely of their time by spending days on the water away from the office only to be rewarded with a daily lunch pack and bottle of wine as a thank you!”
The professional local team running the races in Algoa Bay came in for praise from the International Jury who pointed out that the well laid courses contributed hugely to a protest free championships. Even the difficult time charged resetting of courses ran smoothly and efficiently.
All sailors received participation medals and a DVD of images from the championships. Volunteers and officials were recognised with medals and a bottle of wine each whilst personnel from the main sponsors each received a unique wire beaded keyring – a touching gift organised by the late Glynis Baer weeks before her tragic accident – and an ABYC burgee.
The 5O5 class presented Ronnie Baer and Rodney Idris, representing ABYC and the local 5O5 committee with a framed historical 5O5 burgee surrounded by images from the 60th SAP 5O5 World Championships.
And then it was off to a traditional braai and dancing until late (or was it early morning?).