South African Olympic Sailor Dominique Provoyeur and Durban's Luke Wagner have qualified for the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final after winning the African Regional Final in Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.
The ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final for Africa was hosted by Royal Cape Yacht Club and organised in conjunction with International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and the Women's International Match Racing Association (WIMRA).
It is the first event of its kind ever held in South Africa and was contested by three women's sailing teams and two men's teams racing in J22 keel boats. Because there were no entries from other countries in Africa, the local event, which started on Thursday 5 May and ended on Sunday 8 May, became a selection for the South African teams that will represent the Africa region.
Crewing with Dominique Provoyeur
was fellow Olympic sailor Penny Alison
, Caitlin Moore and Louise Meek all of Cape Town. Crewing for Wagner was Byron Watt and Jean-Marc George
all of Durban. They will represent the African region at the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Finale and compete against the winners from nine other regions around the world.
Claire Walker of Durban and her crew Carla Dyer, Cathy Largier and Sarah Arnold were the runners up in the women's division followed by skipper Shellee Nel of Germiston and her crew Joanne Cooper and Tamzin Gennissen. Ricky Robinson of Johannesburg and his crew William Crockett and Shayne Elliot were the runners up in the men's division.
"It was great to have sailors from around the country competing and to have the support we did from umpires and bridge officials. Without them it wouldn't have been possible to have run this event. What we are trying to do now is establish a South African national match racing tour and hold events like this in other regions as well," said Provoyeur who skippered South Africa's only sailing team at the Beijing Olympics.
This week's ISAF Nations Cup was preceded by a three-day Match Racing Clinic which was open to sailors and match racing umpires and run by international Women's Match Racing Champion, Elizabeth Baylis (USA), who was in Cape Town from San Francisco especially for the event.
"It was great to see the enthusiasm of the sailors, umpires and race officials for putting on an event like this for the first time in Africa. After the first clinic which I ran last October the sailing community embraced match racing and the momentum looks set to ensure many more successful events.
"South African sailors, as representatives of the African continent, are also in a good position to race on the international match racing circuit and this is what they should work towards," said Baylis.
The ISAF Nations Cup is a global competition to find the world's top match racing nations in both open and women's events and to develop match racing infrastructure around the world. The Nations Cup encompasses a series of eight Regional Finals from March to July 2011, from which the top team will qualify for the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final, which will take place in Sheboygan, USA from 13-18 September 2011.
View photographs from the regatta here.