Bell buoy, offshore race set for December

The sailing season kicked off earlier this year, in August, to allow for more boats to compete in December.
Following the opening of the sailing season in August, several races are on the cards.

The season officially commenced with the Namibia Sailing Association (NSA) Laser Nationals, where defending champion Susan Steyn retained her title for a second consecutive year. “Usually, the championships are hosted along with the other competitions over December, but we decided to spread out the events since we have sailors who are Hobi Cat sailors as well as Laser sailors. Also, with this change, we get more boats in the water and more sailors participating,” chairperson of the Namibia Sailing Association, Lauren Davidson, explained.

The Bell Buoy race is set for 23 December at the Walvis Bay Yacht Club followed by the offshore race on 26 December. This year, junior sailing events have been added to both races. The Bell Buoy race is open to all classes, with boats sailing to the buoy about 500 metres from Pelican Point and back. The offshore race, which is usually sailed from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund, was modified with participants now racing from Walvis Bay to Langstrand and back to the Walvis Bay Yacht Club.

Last year, the competition saw two-member sailing teams on six Hobie 16’s and one Hobie 14 in action. The defending champions are Günther Gladis and Leanie Roux, who clinched the title in the 48th edition of the event in a time of 3 hours and 27 minutes with their Hobie 16 “French Connection”. Adam Key and Peter Davidson completed the race in 3h32m to take the second position, while Lothar Redecker and Doris Gladis filled the third spot in 3h34m. Lauren Davidson and Reiner Einbeck (3h39m) ended in fourth place.

According to avid sailor Peter Davison, the offshore race has been held since 1973 when the municipalities of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund joined forces to host a race from Walvis Bay to Swakop. “In 2020 we decided we would sail to Langstrand, up towards one of the oil rigs and back to Walvis Bay. The reason was largely due to the Covid pandemic.”

Davidson says that most of the sailors decided that it was a great idea because logistically, it’s difficult having to sail to Swakopmund. “The sailors have to hook up trailers and take them to the Mole in Swakopmund where space is limited. Hence, we decided to keep it offshore and give the Langstrand residents the joy of watching the event because it gives them a good view of the boats when they come along the beach. Depending on the wind, it becomes quite a competitive race back to the Walvis Bay Yacht Club.”

The prize-giving for all sailing events is set for 30 December 2022 at 18:00 at the Walvis Bay Yacht Club.