Countdown begins for 46th Vasco da Gama

PYC Dusky pictured setting off last year in the 45th Vasco da Gama, Westville’s Jon Marshall skippers her this year in the race down to Port Elizabeth. PHOTO: Chris Clark.

SLUGGED as the ocean Comrades race, the 46th Vasco da Gama hosted by the Point Yacht Club will get underway on Freedom Day, Thursday 27 April.

A small but feisty fleet of seven yachts will be lining up for this year’s 400NM blue ocean dash down to Port Elizabeth. Four boats withdrew in the week leading up to the race, including defending champion Al Mount Gay Rum skippered by the hardy Rob van Rooyen.

All eyes are on the Smart Tri 40, the only multi-hull entered, who is anticipated to blast their way down to Port Elizabeth, if the conditions are right. Skippered by Danie Colyn from Cape Town, he is determined to have her on the start line after last year’s disappointment when he experienced rudder issues during her delivery from the Seychelles and was unable to compete in the 45th Vasco.

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Three Durban boats are all geared up and ready to tackle this gruelling experience. Robin Hulley, a relatively newcomer to ocean racing, was the seventh entry received. Hulley will be racing on his Bavaria 36, Mafuta. He has been a regular competitor in all offshore racing.

One of only a handful of skippers to be participating in his third back-to-back Vasco, Neville Bransby has been hard at work training in all conditions and getting in as much water time as possible. Bransby will be proudly skippering his new boat Ocean Spirit, a Shearwater 39, a very comfortable boat for this passage.

The start gun will fire at midday on Thursday 27 April, seeing a small but keen fleet setting sail in this classic and historic ocean race, the 46th Vasco da Gama hosted by Point Yacht Club.

For more information visit www.pyc.co.za or like the Vasco da Gama race’s Facebook page.

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