The Amtec J/22 Mpumalanga Provincials has become a regatta enjoyed by all the top sailors in the J/22 Class in South Africa. Fourteen J/22s entered with many happy to travel to the event, six entries from TYC, four from the Vaal clubs, three local entries and the J chairman from VLC. Weather conditions were critical as sailing instructions required a minimum of four races to constitute a series, and this was needed in two days. Friday’s weather looked bleak for sailing but Saturday proved far better for the 11.00 start. With a nip in the air and a breeze of 3-8 knots coming from the NNW, the shore was a buzz of activity as 14 yachts prepared for racing. Five slick races were sailed Saturday with the last race finishing by 1730 hrs. From the first race, the competitive nature of the fleet combined with the skills on each yacht gave an indication of what was to come. In the first race, 42 seconds separated the local entry LAUGH A MINUTE and TYC entry of US’N’J for a first, with SHAMBLES 55 seconds later in third. The young newcomer to the fleet, Marcello Marica, skipper on JUICE with Amtec’s Mike Hayton showed his potential with a fifth 38 seconds between first and second. In Race 2 saw MAJIC-Jessica Lenz and crew move from sixth (subsequently her discard) to second and then she repeated this result in Race 3. JUICE had their best result, a fourth in the series. JAYWALKER on the other hand did not have a good third race. HAKAHANA also lost valuable places, realizing they were way off course as the Blue flag on bridge was flying and the finish line was open. A valuable lesson to all crew—don’t forget to count laps and watch the flags. Race 4 saw a turnaround for CELL-C who had had a few challenges in the previous races. A first in the next two races improved their overall position, and they certainly went home hoping for wind on Sunday. Great to see Donovan Kruger on HAKAHANA showing his potential with a sixth in this race but never far off the pace. Surprisingly the Race Officer, Mario Scalco, never needed to bring out a black flag. But, his team had to be organized and quick-witted to deal with the close finishes in each race. A beautiful clear blue sky as well as two perfectly rigged brand new Optimists greeted sailors on Sunday at breakfast. That is another story to be told at future regattas. At the first sign of possible wind, boats were rigged but despite two valiant attempts at starting races, it was not to be. At 1400 hrs the final signal was sounded. The winner, LAUGH A MINUTE-John Brookman/Dave Martinson and Ayshia Genloud had a convincing win with a net 8 points. CELL-C, disappointed with the lack of wind, finished second overall with US’N’J finishing third. The hospitality, fantastic improvements and renovations to the Witbank Yacht and Aquatic Club, great racing organizsation and ideal sailing waters all contributed to a memorable regatta that will see many J Boats returning in 2014. For more J/22 South Africa sailing information, visit

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