Vasco da Gama

Point Yacht Club
Vasco da Gama Ocean Race
Offshore Durban: 23 April

This year’s Vasco da Gama Ocean Race hosted by Point Yacht Club promises to be a cracker of a race with a fleet of 18 yachts lining up at the start line for the blue water race from Durban to Port Elizabeth on Saturday 23 April.

Back to defend his title, Cape Town’s Rob van Rooyen skippering Al Mount Gay Rum was the first person to sign up for the 2016 edition. In last year’s race, van Rooyen won the handicap honours in the racing class, crossing the line in second place last year, just 38minutes after the first boat, Gumption.

Dockleveller Yacht a contender for the Vasco Da Gama Title

“Van Rooyen’s entry brings much to the event as he is a hot competitor who leaves absolutely nothing to chance and who prepares his boat meticulously. Add in a top crew, and he is always a tough nut to beat!” claimed Richard Crockett, the Race Director.

This year’s Vasco da Gama truly is a national race, embarked by ocean going yachtsmen. More than half the fleet are from out of Durban, with two boats from Richards Bay joining in, and ten from outside of KZN. Boats from as far afield as the Seychelles, Gariep Dam, Cape St Francis, Cape Town, and Richards Bay will be taking to the 400NM race along one of the toughest coastlines in the world.

Joining Al Mount Gay Run and back for more after last year’s race are Bellatrix with Gregg Hurter at the helm; Bellissima skippered by the Honorary Commodore of Point Yacht Club, Vernon Goss and his son, James; Deo Volente with Neville Bransby; Nemisis with husband and wife team, Tony and Sigi Bailes; Ray of Light also with husband and wife team Heidi and Michael Kavanagh; Rocket skippered by Herbert Karolius; Skitzo driven by Nigel Miln and Wallbanger with John Tudehope.

The classic race welcomes to this route, Alacrity helmed by David Taylor; Ithaca with Pierre Roussouw at the wheel; Izimoyo II helmed by Jasper van der Westhuizen; PYC Dusky with the Commodore of the Point Yacht Club, Craig Millar skippering; Nina helmed by Willie Pretorius; Nomad skippered by Craig Deverson; Rotary Scout with Grant Chapman in charge; Shadowfax with Bernard Farmer on the wheel; SmartTri40 from Seychelles with Danie Colyn helming and Yes Girl skippered by Gabriel Fernandes.

“Our entry list was sitting on 21 but we had three withdrawals in the two weeks leading up to the race. The gorgeous new CFM owned by Stuart Ritchie arrived in the country three weeks late, which didn’t allow them time to prepare the boat properly. And Zeus from Richards Bay withdrew after their race from Inhaca to Richards Bay as they felt the boat wasn’t ready for the hard slug down the coastline. Also, Bellissima skippered by Vernon Goss has withdrawn. We completely respect their decisions and we are delighted with the quality fleet of 18 boats that will be joining us on the start line. These numbers bode well for sailing in South Africa.” explained Crockett.

Leading up to the Vasco, a number of the KZN boats competed in the recent Zululand’s Inhaca Race as a warm up for the Vasco. The Kavanagh team on Ray of Light did extremely well, taking the line honours, Skitzo was the first Fast 42 over the line, and Nomad was the first multihull to finish.

Of the roughly 120 crew members that will participate in this event, half of them are what are called ‘Vasco-Virgins’, with about a third of the newcomers being under the age of 25. A recent addition to the trophy list is the Choose Life Youth Award, a special trophy that is on offer to the first under 25 across the line.

“It’s a good indication how many youngsters want to get out and experience this event. Getting additional sailing experience! It is wonderful for the development of the sport that we are welcoming all this young blood! It’s good for the race, good for yachting!” said the Race Director.

The fleet of 19 boats are all eager to get underway in this year’s Vasco da Gama Race, hosted by Point Yacht Club, that starts on Saturday 23 April and heads down to Port Elizabeth.

For more info visit or like the Facebook page

The detailed entry list as follows:
1 Rob van Rooyen/James Largier (Al Mount Gay Rum, a Farr 38)
2 Pierre Roussouw (Ithaca, a Hartley)
3 Vernon & James Goss (Bellissama, a Hanse 400)
4 Tony & Sigi Bailes (Nemesis, a Fast 42)
5 Bernard Farmer (Shadowfax, a Charger 33)
6 N Bransby (Deo Volente, a Lavranos 36)
7 Don Voysey (Zeus, a Fast 42 – withdrawn)
8 Danie Colyn (SmartTri40, a SmartTri40)
9 John Tudehope (Wallbanger, a Simonis 35)
10 Jasper van der Westhuizen (Izimoyo II, a Wayward 37)
11 Stuart Ritchie (CFM, a M.A.T. 1180 – withdrawn)
12 Willie Pretorius (Nina, an Elan Impression)
13 Gregg Hurter (Bellatrix, a Beneteau First 40)
14 Nigel Milln (Skitzo, a Fast 42)
15 Craig Millar (PYC Dusky, Corrida 36)
16 Michael Kavanagh (Ray of Light, a Beneteau First)
17 Herbert Karolius (Rocket, a Simons 54)
18 David Taylor (Alacrity, a Taylor 37)
19 Grant Chapman (Rotary Scout, Tosca 36)
20 Gabriel Fernandes (Yes Girl, an L35 mod)
21 Craig Deverson (Nomad, a Cape 54 Cat)


The Johnnie Sailor crew which all sailors Fair Winds and Following Seas and may you reach your destination wiser, bolder and safe.

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