Cape to St Helena, Oyster and World Arc Rally.
St Helena hosts, Cape to St Helena, Oyster and World Arc Rally fleets in one of the busiest January’s in the yachting history of the Island. Here are three events to look out for if sailing is in your future forecast!
Cape to St Helena
In 1996 a former Captain of the RMS St Helena watched the Cape to Rio yachting fleet sail to Table Bay from the Royal Cape Yacht Club; and there birthed the idea of the Cape to St Helena Yacht Race.
Later in that year the concept came to life and backed by Governor David Smallman, history was made in the St Helena yachting arena.
The race took several management forms over the years but was consistent in receiving the prized, floating Governor’s Cup and a number of other floating trophy honours.
Last year Royal Cape Yacht Club approached St Helena with the offer to organise the race once again. In less than 7 months, the race was another accomplished success. Our first weeks of the New Year saw 13 yachts bopping in our moorings as the happy (post-race) crews enjoyed a warm respite exploring the St Helena offering.
Indarba, took the coveted trophy, and also carried race Chairman and organiser John Levin and his 3 man crew.
Being the first race since the decommissioning of the RMS St Helena, meant saying goodbye to a key tradition. The RMS was present at the race starts, prior, and would travel the course with the yachts (albeit a slightly faster voyage). This year a new tradition meant family could arrive by flight to the finish line.
At the prize presentation hosted by her Excellency Governor Honan, John Levin announced that the Royal Cape Yacht Club would retain continuity of this event, and with the blessing of the Governor would lead on the organisation of future Cape to St Helena yacht races.
The next race being scheduled for December of 2020, would mean that time could allow for boarder international marketing, more sponsorship opportunity and as the race evolves it would aim to attract a larger fleet. This is welcomed news for St Helena Tourism!
Sailing closely behind the Cape to St Helena fleet were the Oyster World Rally, on their second, 2 year rally since the inaugural 2013-2014 event. Organised exclusively for owners of Oyster yachts, this event began in 2017 and will end later this year. The Oyster boasts a paced journey giving participants time to enjoy and explore beautiful regions and destinations, whilst sailing around the world.
The fleet are now on their final leg of the rally having spent the end of the 2018 in Cape Town. St Helena ideally breaks the long sail on the South Atlantic trade wind from South Africa to Brazil and onward to Antigua where it started.
World Arc Rally
The last through on route to Saint Lucia were the World ARC fleet who planned a longer stay this year in St Helena. The World Arc rally have frequented the Island for years and describe St Helena as an always anticipated stopover, marking the halfway point from Cape Town to Salvador and “offering visitors an extensive range of outdoor activities.” The 26000 NM tradewind circumnavigation voyage of a lifetime mixes cruising in company with ample free time to explore.
On any yachting event St Helena extends a warm welcome and an opportunity for crews to discover and enjoy the delights of which the Island is known for, and even better the surprise element of what people do not expect to find here.
Feature photo credit: Kim Van Zyl