The first race of the Grant Thornton Keelboat Series took place Sunday 17th November and it was a glorious day of moderate breeze sailing, enjoyed by seven boats. Five boats were entered in the racing class where Frits Bus, sailing his Melges 24 Island Water World with a strong experienced crew, showed his skills from race one taking home first place.

Other participants in the racing class were Team Island Water World 2, another Melges 24, sailed by local youth sailors and Arthur Banting as the driving force behind this initiative. Team IGY on Garth Steyn’s new J70 “Franny”, new to the Keelboat Series, but showed excellent skills at the start of each race. By the third and fourth races Kick em Jenny 2, the Melges 32 skippered by Ian Hope-Ross, shook off the cobwebs and took two wins to end up in third place. Wanna Be, skippered by Joris van den Eynde, showed consistency throughout the day and ended up second. Robbie Ferron and Kidz at Sea raced in the Sunfast 20 class, which was won by Robbie Ferron.

The winds varied considerably throughout the day and tacticians often enjoyed choices of sticking to the beach side of the course, although that was most unsuccessful on some other occasions. A port biased line spread the fleet quickly at the start. Crews had to work hard to manage the asymmetrical spinnakers on the downwind legs with the varying directions, the success of this often influencing the final standings.

At the day awards at the SMYC following the event the club honoured a long time contributor to the SMYC, Juul Hermsen who had brokered participation in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta for 30 years and ran the Golden Rock Regatta which was enjoyed by many club members. The Golden Rock Regatta will discontinue but Hermsen will attempt to redirect interest to the club’s Course de L’Alliance event instead.

This was the first day of the keelboat series sponsored by Grant Thornton which continues throughout the sailing season. One more of these events will take place this year on Sunday 15th December. Prior to that the club will host the Stuyvesant Series for dinghies which starts on Saturday 23rd November and the Course de L’Alliance powered by IGY Marinas, the three island event that takes place November 29 – December 1.

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