Rotary Scout wins Rally class in Governor's Cup yacht race

JML Rotary Scout, a 11.7m Tosca owned by Scouts SA, took part in the Governor's Cup Race in December 2012. It is a race of 1780 nm from Simon's Town to Saint Helena, an island in the Atlantic in line with Angola.

The race started on Saturday 22 December at 12h00 with a crew of 7 on board. Consisting of Peter Bosch and Stephen Jennings as co-skippers and crew of Sean Parker and Michael Hardy from 1st Muizenberg, Daniel Frieslar from 1st Bergvliet, Lorraine Le Seuer from 1st Durbanville Kraaifontein and Tyler Brady from 1st Jamestown St Helena. Unfortunately, due to very bad seasickness, the 2nd member of the Jamestown troop, David Joshua, could not go with.

The race started in very light winds. Normally this is the season of South Easters, which means beating out of False Bay and then with spinnakers up sails to St Helena. This time we had a Westerly wind and with spinnakers up sailed out of False Bay and round Cape Point. The wind dropped badly there and the competitors drifted there for quite a while. The wind only started coming through much later that night and still westerly. So it was a fetch and lasted for 3 more days until eventually the South Easter started coming through.

Life on board becomes routine. Watches of 2 hours are set and everyone takes their turn. There are always 2 people on watch. Breakfast is normally a non-formal affair because with some still sleeping because one does 2 watches during the night. For lunch bread is baked and we all eat together also supper is eaten together. Then there is tidying and cleaning the boat and the constant adjustment of sails. If the wind gets to strong then it is all hands to change sails and back again if the wind drops.

The race was uneventful in the sense that we had no breakages or equipment failure. We only blew our 12 year old light weight spinnaker. Fortunately we had a new one already, since we were expecting this to happen.

We crossed the finish line at St Helena Thursday 21:28:31, thus 12days 9hrs 28min 31sec. Racing with different type boats necessitates having different handicap ratings for each boat. We were at that time lying 1st but that depended on other boats finishing before their allotted time. Kuheli and us swapped places a few time during the race with us gaining 1st and Kuheli overtaking us on handicap and Rotary Scout gaining 1st again. Kuheli had to have passed the finishing line at 11h28 on Saturday 5th but fortunately she passed it only at 12:01;13. So we were 1st in the Rally Fleet and unofficially 2nd in the racing fleet. The crew equipped themselves very well during the race.

We spent a nice time on the Island with Jamestown Scout families and then we came back on the RMS St Helena arriving back in Cape Town on 23 January 2013. A wonderful time was had by all!

Another take on the trip

JML Rotary Scout joined a fleet of 18 yachts in the 2012/13 Governor's Cup Yacht Race to St Helena Island. On board were: Tyler-John Brady (1st Jamestown Scout Group, Ste Helena Island), Sean Parker (1st Muizenberg), Daniel Frieslaar (1st Bergvliet), Michael Hardy (1st Muizenberg), Lorraine Le Seur (1st Durbanville/ Kraaifontein), and adult co-skippers Stephen Jennings (co-skipper) and Peter Bosch (co-skipper).

It took the crew 12 days to sail to St Helena Island. The yacht performed very well and won the Rally Class of the race \96 winning a second trophy for being the first False Bay Yacht Club entry over the line. The crew raced the yacht hard \96 using the watch system to have at least 2 people on deck 24 hours a day. The crew took turns to cook and clean. They washed their own clothes and climbed into a safety harness to shower and wash themselves on the back of the boat every day. They caught and ate lots of yellowtail each day for the first five days \96 but then lost their lures as they got deeper into the South Atlantic and large tuna snapped their lines.

The yacht had a spectacular broach in the early hours of the 2nd last day of the race, ending up with one of the spinnakers being blown to shreds \96 but the crew soon had the situation under control again and were joking after the adrenalin had settled.

JML Rotary Scout is available throughout the year to take scouts sailing. To find out more, or to book a trip, email Evan Smuts at evan.smuts@gmail.com

Background

JML Rotary Scout, a Tosca 39 owned by SCOUTS South Africa, is moored at False Bay Yacht Club. The yacht has a very active sailing programme and youth are taken sailing most weekends.

The yacht was donated by the Rotary Club of Bellville as a bare hull to the Sea Scout Base at Sandvlei, Lakeside in 1987 and fitted out over a number of years by legendary Scout leader, Neville Coxon, finally being launched in 1994.

The programme helps provide valuable life-skills such as leadership and teamwork. The yacht is administered by adult volunteers from the Sea Scout Base in Lakeside, Cape Town.

In addition to the Scout sailing programme, the yacht was part of a "Marine Awareness", a two-and-a-half day training programme presented by SCOUTS South Africa and aimed at school learners. Over the last three years over 1500 learners from disadvantaged backgrounds learned about marine conservation, elementary chartwork and navigation, star gazing, knotting, a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium, and sailing on JML Rotary Scout.

Through their experiences on the water the youth acquire valuable life skills. The youth push the boundaries of their personal courage and learn to overcome challenges, such as fatigue and seasickness, developing team work and leadership skills in a nurturing environment that places great emphasis on safety.

JML Rotary Scout is no stranger to blue water sailing. The yacht took part in the Cape to Rio Race in 2000, crewed and skippered by teenagers. The yacht has sailed to St Helena Island in the middle of the South Atlantic no less than five times!

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