Sailing Champs
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 13:24

The 2012 KwaZulu Natal Inter-schools Sailing Championships were held over the weekend of 10 and 11 March 2012, at Midmar Dam in the KZN Midlands.

Midmar is a great venue with generally good, light to medium winds and sailing conditions. It is therefore ideal for this regatta, where many of the entrants are inexperienced or novice sailors. The Grantleigh sailing team fielded four Laser dinghies in the event, effectively making up two teams. The racing is based upon individual scores and results, with the top two finishers from each school, counting towards the overall score for the KZN Inter-schools Team Trophy. Whilst individual placings are seriously fought for, the ultimate prize is taking home that Inter-schools Team Championship title.

Ruan Pretorius and Mauritz van den Heever, sailing in their first ever regatta, performed extremely well. Despite sailing in pretty old boats and sailing in highly competitive fleets for the first time, they started and finished every race, with their results improving throughout the regatta. Grantleigh can be justifiably proud of the newest recruits to their sailing team. Mauritz finished 7th overall and Ruan 9th. Well done boys!

Whilst Ruan and Mauritz competed in the 4.7 Laser class, James Leigh and Matthew Russell competed in the Laser Radial class. These boats have a larger sail area and are more suited to sailors with more experience. Matthew must be the most improved Laser sailor in KZN at the moment. His speed and confidence were great to see and despite a few mishaps, always had the speed to ensure that Grantleigh were amongst the top three finishers. This is not to say that he played second fiddle to James by any means, as he was often ahead of James. The two of them kept the front runners honest and constantly playing catch up.

Through very consistent results, James won the individual fleet racing with Matthew finishing second in his Radial. A Laser full rig sailed by Vuyo from Eden College was also in the event but his scoring was based upon a handicap system due to his much larger sail area. He just pipped Matthew in the overall rankings. Considering that a Standard Laser sail is some 25 % larger than the Radial, this is no mean feat for Matthew.

Yes, Grantleigh, we are the 2012 KwaZulu Natal Senior Sailing Champions! The scores of Matthew and James convincingly brought the trophy home. Congratulations to our sailors and the support team. Mrs Angela Leigh, our sailing coordinator, has worked hard to get our sailing off the ground, literally. Congratulations Angela, the hard work is starting to pay off.

Mrs Bev Russell, produced some magic Grantleigh Sailing Team shirts, whilst Mr Andrew Russell and David Leigh assisted in getting boats to the venue. Mike Leigh acted as coach and intimidator, with Robyn Leigh and Tammy Farrell the cheerleaders. Riaan and Ann Pretorius and Willie and Zelda van den Heever joined the Grantleigh team, and apart from beaming at the achievements of their young sailors, were of great support and help to Grantleigh. With a team like this, we just cannot lose.

Here’s to next year and getting an Optimist team onto the water as well.

Mike Leigh

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 13:29