The annual Vasco Da Gama Ocean Race from Durban to Port Elizabeth sets off from Durban at 12:00 midday on Thursday 26 April.
The Algoa Bay Yacht Club has entered three yachts in this years race: Wallbanger – a Simonis 35 with only 4 crew onboard, skippered by John Tudehope; Nemesis – a Fast 42 skippered by Tony Bailes and Chinook – a Farr 38 skippered by Leon van Niekerk.
Nine yachts are entered with eight expected to start.
Wallbanger is a ‘veteran’ of the Vasco having sailed in all previous 3 races. Skipper John Tudehope and crew member Alan Straton can now boast of having sailed 4 races consecutively on Wallbenger. Tudehope is somewhat of a legend when it comes to victualling of his yacht. John is a firm believer in the restorative powers and muscle building qualities of Chip Rolls – better known as crisps outside of South Africa!
Tony Bailes, on Nemesis will be banking on his family and their combined experience in the last Cape to Rio as they charge out of Durban heading for the Agulhas Current which is the western boundary current of the southwest Indian Ocean. It flows down the east coast of Africa from 27°S to 40°S and is narrow, swift and strong offering yachts and boats an extra 4 knots on average in speed down the coast.
Hot on their heels (and maybe in front of Nemesis) will be Leon van Niekerk of Chinook – follow that delicious curry smell to find Leon! Taking no chances, van Niekerk has ensured that he has every racing sail possible to cope with every possible weather pattern they could come across during this weekend’s wild dash down South Africa’s treacherous Wild Coast.
The long term weather forecast is showing some ‘interesting weather’:
- Thursday – as the yachts leave Durban – is showing a North East of 10 to 21 knots down to Portobello, ideal for a spinnaker run. Further out the wind is a bit more intense and could make for a great broad reach for those seeking the Agulhas current.
- Friday – from Portobello to Port Elizabeth shows a wide swathe of next to nothing South West wind sweeping up the coast with a narrow patch of 10knots wind in between the Agulhas Current and the coastline.
- Saturday – here it gets interesting as the yachts can expect to be hit with 40 knot South West winds as they approach East London at around 4:00 am. 10 hours later the blow will have passed leaving a dying South West between Port Alfred and Port Elizabeth.
- Those yachts still on the course after 4:00 pm ON Saturday can expect a long slow slog into Algoa Bay as the dying 5 knot wind shifts to the South.
Confirmed entries for the 2018 Vasco Da Gama:
- Nemesis – Tony & Siggi Bailes
- Seaport Supply DARG Shadowfax – Bernard Farmer
- Wallbanger – John Tudehope
- Bellatrix – Gregg Hurter
- Ocean Spirit – Neville Bransby
- Phezulu – Nigel Milln
- Chinook – Leon van Niekerk
- Benguela – Mark Devit
- Magic – Peter Channing
The predicted weather as on Monday morning 23 April 2018: