Mossel Bay gears up for Lipton Challenge Cup

Mossel Bay’s entry for the Lipton Challenge Cup was lifted into the water with the help of a crane sponsored by PetroSA.

Mossel Bay – the Garden Route’s only harbour town – is gearing up to host the 100th anniversary Lipton Challenge Cup, which gets under way at the Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club on the 20th of August.

“This is history in the making because the event has only ever before been held in major cities – so it’s a real scoop for the Garden Route,” said Lipton Cup Project Secretary Gayle Newby of the Knysna Yacht Club.

As winners of last year’s Lipton Cup, Knysna was given the privilege of organising this year’s event and naming the venue for the competition: Mossel Bay was chosen because it’s considered to be one of the world’s best sailing destinations.

Twenty of South Africa’s top sailing clubs have entered the challenge, and boats have been arriving in the town all this week, with most of the balance expected by Friday of next week. 

The Lipton Challenge Cup is a one-design event, open to boats of the L26 class, which may carry up to 6 crew members, weighing a total of 410 kg.

“We’ve already seen some interesting sailing just in the practice rounds,” said South African Sailing’s National Training Manager, Mossel Bay-based Rob Holden.

Besides Mossel Bay’s own challenger – ‘Parental Guidance’ (which will be sailed by a crew that includes girls and previously disadvantaged kids of school-going age) – George Lakes Yacht Club’s ‘Knysna Challenger,’ and False Bay Yacht Club’s Team Intasure have been seen at practice in the Bay.

“This is the third year in succession that insurance company Intasure (Pty) Ltd will be sponsoring False Bay’s entry,” said Ms. Newby.

“Under the joint-helmsmanship of Andrea Giovannini and Markus Progli, Team Intasure is singly focused on bringing the Lipton Cup back to False Bay. The yacht itself is owned by the Commodore of FBYC, Chris Lee, and the team has been getting progressively more competitive,  having finished second in the 2010 Lipton Challenge Cup.

“They’re definitely laying down the gauntlet to the defending champions, Team ColorPress,” said Ms Newby. 

The commodore of the Knynsa Yacht Club, Chick Ramsay, said that local business has put its weight behind the event: “Huijs te Marquette Guest House of Mossel Bay has generously sponsored accommodation for some of our helpers, and ColorPress in Johannesburg have come aboard to sponsor the prize-giving dinner.”

Mossel Bay Tourism’s Marcia Holm said that Mossel Bay is excited about hosting the Lipton Challenge Cup because it will provide an opportunity to showcase Mossel Bay as a sailing destination.

“Mossel Bay was one of the first towns in the country to receive accreditation as a sail training centre from South African Sailing, and the recent Dart Nationals (held over the Women’s Day Weekend) – together with the announcement that Mossel Bay is to host the Dart Worlds in 2014 – have shown once again why sailors from around the globe are beginning to say that Mossel Bay offers the best sailing in the world.

“We look forward to welcoming all the sailors and their friends next week, and wish them fair winds for the 100th anniversary Lipton Challenge Cup,” she said.

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