Boating World enjoys Clifton Challenge

07 Dec 2015

The usually tranquil waters of Granger Bay suddenly turned on their head recently, as boats of all shapes and sizes - towing skiers, tubes and even an airchair - churned up the sea before racing off towards Clifton.

The frenzy of action marked the start of the 57th Clifton Challenge and the Boating World team were right there to cheer them on from Derrick and Suzanne’s apartment overlooking the marina.

They were joined by enthusiastic neighbours, Dan & Daphne and Ann, who came to enjoy the festivities and take in the bird’s eye view of all the action.

Meanwhile excitement mounted down below at Oceana Powerboat Club, where a huge crowd of friends and family gathered in support of the intrepid competitors who were rearing to go.

According to Mike Binder, the Club’s Liaison Officer (and Ex-Commodore) - the sea conditions were very rough (for the boats which are much smaller than before) and the normal route (to Clifton’s Barker’s Rock) had to be shortened to Three Anchor Bay. 

He mentioned that the extremely high-powered boats of yesteryear are no longer a feature in South African powerboat racing. Whereas before, the ski racers came from all around the country nowadays the field is made up of mainly Cape contestants. Not that the heart of those taking part has shrunk - there was as much enthusiasm as ever


By now they had been separated into Open, Leisure and Junior classes and courses were marked accordingly.  The big boats had to complete the circuit twice – racing from the club to Three Anchor Bay and back again and the smaller boats had to go around once. Skiers and tube riders hung on for dear life as they sped along, negotiating the choppy waves and wind in their faces. 

Back at the apartment, Derrick reminisced about the races of years past – in which he skied with Helmut Winkler and was towed by Derek Dresner and won several times. 

The Open Class winner in this year’s Challenge was Evan Darcy-Jones (pilot) pulling skier JonathonWayne in a Telstar boat. They completed the circuit in 12 minutes.

After it was all over – the competitors joined their supporters for lunch back at the club. Meanwhile the Boating World team progressed from their snacks and drinks on the balcony to a wonderful Paella lunch.