“It will be a tough start” – this according to Paul Dennett of False Bay Yacht Club (FBYC), commenting on conditions in False Bay on Thursday, when South Africa’s oldest yacht race kicks off on Thursday morning at 9am. At the time of writing, weather forecasters predicted a sunny 17° Celsius as maximum temperature for the Mother City on the day.
But much more importantly, says Paul, is the 17-28 knot south-easterly winds foreseen for the morning of September 29. This will force Iconic Mossel Bay Race (MBR) crews to negotiate tricky headwinds from the word go – a situation that may well adversely affect progress until yachts start rounding to the continent’s southernmost tip at Cape Agulhas.
Of course, this state of affairs is familiar to previous contestants in this gruelling ocean race, the Cape of Storms having earned its name over many centuries of seafaring expeditions. In fact, inclement weather around the peninsula postponed the kick-off of last year’s MBR, when sailors departed Simon’s Town a day after the planned start. They braved particularly choppy False Bay waters in a howling southeaster and pulled out all on-deck abilities to successfully circumnavigate Agulhas in one piece.
It’s no surprise, then, that the MBR has been attracting the most skilled of crews since its inaugural race in 1955, the event always starting off in Simon’s Town and concluding in Mossel Bay. Participating yachts this year include MBR veteran Wallbanger, as well as Kia Paarl (aka ‘Fomo’), Makers Mark, Serendipity and Me2Me, with a couple of craft and crews still hanging in the wings before confirming their presence at the proverbial starting line.
An exciting and novel addition to MBR 2022 is that the race serves as Cape to Rio (C2R) qualifier – a development recently announced by the organising committee of this legendary international sailing contest. “All yachts and crew doing the Cape to Rio have to complete a qualifying trip to be accepted in the race,” explains Paul, adding that this association with C2R is a feather in the cap for everyone involved with the Mossel Bay Race.
As Sailing Manager at FBYC, Paul serves on the organising committee and says they welcome back all past and new participants to this year’s MBR. “The event is co-hosted by False Bay Yacht Club and Mossel Bay Sailing Club, and supported by Protea Hotel Mossel Bay, Cape Saint Blaze Artisanal Distillery, Central Boating and North Sails,” he says.
“The race covers 200 nautical miles, which takes an average of two days to complete, and cut-off for the last finishers is Sunday October 2. The intention is to allow boats to be delivered back to their home port over the weekend. Therefore, our official prize-giving is planned for the following Friday evening at FBYC.
“We express our appreciation to the patron of this race, Mr Ted Kuttel, whose vision it was that the event be reintroduced as a part of South Africa’s offshore-racing series, and to be run as an annual happening. His passion for sailing the MBR continues to be a motivating factor – not to mention his assistance in many other areas,” says Paul. Contact the sailing office at FBYC on 021 786 1703 or at email@example.com for advice and additional information. If you plan to visit the iconic town of Mossel Bay these holidays, visit www.visitmosselbay.co.za or call 044 691 2202 to reserve your stay.