The AMTEC Mphumlanga Provincials had ten great races, amazing hospitality as always and three days that will be long remembered. Some were lucky enough to travel on Friday to Witbank to set up their boats. The down side was the very late night they ended up having accompanied with liquid refreshments. Early Saturday the last boats arrived, and by 12.00 the first race was underway in 5k that steadily built to 7.5k from the SSW. From then on, things only got better with the wind strength building to 18.5k and each race on average 40-45 minutes. Racing was close, and any bad tactical decision had an enormous impact on the final result of each race. Graham, Shaun and Barry on Red G sailed like champions and only lost one first to Jabberwock in the six races sailed on Saturday. The delicious dinner served that evening with ice cold refreshments was welcomed by weary, sore competitors. An early morning skippers’ briefing on Sunday took the unanimous decision to extend the maximum races to 12 and not 10 as per the Sailing Instructions. The wind gods were good, and by 11.20 the first race started in 7.8k building to 12k. The unusual situation in the J fleet of only one recall proved to be the making of DJ who returned to the start line, took a port tack and then rounded the windward mark first. And that was where they finished—first. Great sailing Dominic! The Bridge crew, under Ron Gurnell, ran slick races with well laid courses so by early afternoon 10 races had been completed. It was decided some R&R for the tired sailors was in order. With the Witbank barge loaded with refreshments and people + four Js with motors + Witbank motor boats as backup, they set off down the gorge to Steve’s pub. An awesome way to finish a hard two days of sailing. Thanks to all those that made it happen. A hearty dinner and Josie entertaining everyone in the pub completed the perfect day. The early morning Monday wind did not look encouraging so the decision was taken to have the prize giving at 11.00 and let the travelling boats head off home. Within the hour, the boats were out and then the wind on cue arrived! The final results:
1st: Red G, Graham Baker, Shaun Gurnell and Barry Gurnell
2nd: Laugh a Minute, Dave Martinson and Alex Garoufalias
3rd : DJ, Dominic Van Der Walt, Megan Van Der Walt and Deon Van Der Walt
Thank you AMTEC and Witbank for another wonderful regatta and looking forward to seeing you in 2016.

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