15 Dec 2011

The Boating World team joined an excited throng of boaters just outside Cape Town harbour for the very festive V&A Waterfront In-Port leg of the annual Volvo Ocean Yacht Race recently.

Sunny skies and gusting winds set the scene when Derrick, Suzanne and Greg met new boat owner Hilton Bannon and two other guests on board the Fairline Targa 38 cruiser - for stunning viewing of this short, sharp and intense stage of this popular event which attracts sailors from around the world.

In-Port racing undoubtedly offers spectators the closest action short of actually being on board one of the race boats. Winning the start is essential in these races which are 45-60 minutes long leaving very little time to recover from a poor start. The sailors do their best to be the first off the starting line as the gun fires so there is aggressive jockeying for position ahead of the start.

It is fascinating to watch competitors attempt to ‘squeeze’ out the competition forcing them into a poor start, or even pushing them onto the wrong side of the starting line. So it’s not surprising that around 100 boats of all types and sizes from sailing to powerboats, Cruisers to Sport Fishers also jostle for the best viewing spots.

Greg says the strong wind of around 15 – 18 knots made the water bumpy forcing the spectator boats to keep moving and adding even more to the excitement of the day.

After nearly an hour of spectacular racing around the strategically positioned buoys, Ike the Martinez's Team Telefónica consolidated their position at the top of the leader board with a comprehensive victory.

Crew member Andrew Cape says, "It’s not really a tactical thing. You have got to get the start right and that’s really 70 per cent of the battle. You have to get the sail choices right and not have any big problems. We had some minor problems but less than the others so it’s one of those things that just comes together.

"I think it was won at the start. We had an excellent start and we had the right sail up – the right puff and off. That set us up nicely. It got a bit confusing for us at the bottom with hoisting and dropping, but it went OK. We are getting better. In the inshore racing things happen really really fast. You are talking about four minutes on a leg, if it’s a long one. The better you can get it the better it is."

Once it was all over Derrick and his guests made their way back to Granger Bay for a welcome, relaxing finger lunch and refreshments. Other spectators made a beeline for the Volvo Village at the waterfront where all the race boats finally docked, to enjoy the festive atmosphere, food and drinks.

Derrick concluded that the 12.13m Fairline Targa 38 is the perfect entertainer with luxurious wrap-around seating and other comforts necessary for an outing like this or even an overnight trip.

Powered by a Volvo Penta D6-370 EVC diesel she easily reaches speeds of 42 knots with all the “vooma” for all forms of water sport from waterskiing, wakeboarding to simply cruising and even a spot of fishing.

Her two cabins comfortably sleep four to six people.