Great Escape’ now has new meaning for Mossel Bay Race finishers

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A weather-beaten but victorious collective of yachtsmen and sail-savvy ladies gathered at Café Gannet in Mossel Bay’s historic CBD on Sunday morning, to enjoy a scrumptious brunch and compare notes after conquering a gruelling ocean trial during the preceding 48 hours.

Inclement weather around the Cape Peninsula postponed the kick-off of this weekend’s Mossel Bay Race (MBR), from September 30 to October 1. After setting off from Simonstown on Friday morning, participating crews braved choppy False Bay waters in a howling southeaster, stretching all on-deck abilities to successfully circumnavigate the continent’s southernmost point in one piece.

Anthony Wentworth of False Bay Yacht Club (FBYC) says of the eight starters, two craft had to retire before even reaching Cape Agulhas. He expressed his gratitude to the FBYC staff who contributed to the success of the event, and to Wilhelm von Schutz of Mossel Bay Sailing Club for manning the bridge from home turf ‘til the last boat was safely moored.

“We are also indebted to JJ Moorcroft of Café Gannet for Sunday morning’s hearty reception,” he adds. This year’s race was supported by Protea Hotel Mossel Bay, where the able Gannet staff ensures all guests are suitably sated, and Cape St Blaize Artisanal Distillery, products of which enhanced the sailing party’s welcome bubbles upon arrival.

The first yacht to arrive from Simonstown, Sentinel Ocean Explorer (aka Atalanta), reached Mossel Bay just after 4.30pm on Saturday October 2, having spent nearly a day and a half in particularly challenging waters.

Skipper Adrian Kuttel and his crew of Theo Yon, Gerry Hegie and Alex von Nes were back on their yacht before the lunch hour to return to Cape Town, albeit at a much slower pace. The second yacht to reach Mossel Bay was Maker’s Mark.

Third-placed Cape Dancer had the distinction of counting local sailor Megan Robertson, 22, as part of its seven-strong crew. Proud dad James says Megan has been sailing since her early teens, and this preparation would have come in handy when being offshore in the early morning hours, winds lashing in excess of 40 knots.

To add to Cape Dancer’s obstacles, two of its crew suffered severe bouts of seasickness throughout the race. But young Miss Robertson says she was bolstered by the fact that single-minded determination powered their effort, and relieved that no one was injured.

Mossel Bay Tourism ensured the race received due coverage on national TV and regional radio and print media. Book your Great Escape at www.visitmosselbay.co.za or call 044 691 2202 for details.

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