Mosquito Nationals 16-18 December at VYC

Most members of the Mosquito Class of South Africa are based at Vogelvlei Yacht Club (VYC) in the Western Cape, and so Voëlvlei Dam, or Vogelvlei as it was originally known, was the perfect venue for 2011’s Mosquito Nationals.

Voëlvlei is the second largest volumetric dam in the Western Cape, and is also a picturesquely beautiful piece of water. Situated near Tulbagh and Riebeeck Kasteel and unlike many dams, it is unspoilt by motor boats, making it a peaceful and ideal sailing venue. There are wonderful camping facilities on the rolling green lawns near the club house, and the members always make a huge effort to make guests and visitors feel welcome and part of the Voëlvlei Family.

I have learnt that more often than not, the wind at Voëlvlei only arrives around 15h00 in the afternoon. It is also my experience at VYC that if one ventures into the bar after sailing, as one does at regattas, it is not going to be an early night. More like a 3 am bedtime. To my mind, this all makes for ideal summer sailing. Generally, one can sleep late, have a leisurely breakfast, rig one’s boat slowly, laze around in the shade, enjoy a swim or two, and generally ease into a relaxing day and shoot the breeze with one’s fellow sailors. Then – Wallah! – at 15h00 the wind usually arrives – and I mean that one minute the water is flat, and the next there is 15 knots or more blowing – and one can have a wonderful four hours of late afternoon/evening racing once the worst heat of the day is over. Followed by a braai, a visit to the bar, to bed around 3 am, and a repeat the whole thing the next day. And this is exactly how this year’s Mozzie Nationals proceeded!

The Mosquito Nationals was held in conjunction with VYC’s Christmas Regatta, and this year, there were 16 double-handed entries and one single-handed entry. The Mozzie class has been a bit quiet over the last year or so, but it is clear that this is not going to be the case anymore; two Mosquitos were bought in the few weeks leading up to the Nationals, and another two bought by Hobie sailors at the Nationals, and many spectators came down to Voëlvlei to watch the sailing as they were interested in buying a Mosquito. I am a real Hobie fan, so bear this in mind when I tell you that the Mosquito is a really great, versatile, sailing multihull, and not enough kudos is given to this great boat. I like to describe it as almost like a smaller Hobie Tiger, with all the features that a Tiger has and a Hobie 16 doesn’t, like mast rotation adjustments, main cunningham, dagger boards, and – best of all – the asymmetrical spinnaker. This makes for great, fast downwind sailing, without the crew having to have the strength of Thor, as on often feels is the case on a Tiger. Ideal weight on the Mozzie is around 130 kgs and so the Mozzie is also a great boat for couples and parent/children combinations to sail as a small and petite woman or child can crew easily on a Mozzie, unlike a Tiger which demands a crew of considerable strength and muscular stamina. Mosquitos can also be sailed single-handed, without the jib, and, although highly responsive, are a lot more forgiving when one buries the nose – I have learnt that on a Mozzie this certainly does not mean a guaranteed pitch pole! OK, enough selling of the Mosquito, save to say, if you and your crew are too light or not strong enough for a Tiger, but you want the excitement of downwind sailing with a spinnaker and all that – this is the boat for you and the Mosquito is well worth looking at.

On the first day of the Nationals, Friday 16th December, Voëlvlei did its usual thing – light switchy breeze in the morning, dropping to nothing, while everyone rigged under the trees and sat around waiting for wind, which duly arrived at around 15h00. Race Officer Hein Britz did a good job to get four races in before dark, in winds between 13 and 20 knots. This was of course followed by a braai and a festive evening in The Goose, VYC’s hospitable bar.

The next day we repeated the whole thing, spending a lazy day waiting for wind and achieving three races in similar winds in the late afternoon, before being treated to a fantastic Mosquito Nationals Dinner, laid on by VYC ladies Lisa Krumbock, Diane Webb and their team. Sunday 18th saw no racing as the wind arrived too late.

It was clear throughout the racing that the Gold Medal was going to be fought out between 2010’s National Champion, Kevin Webb and his crew, 11 year old Vaughn Krumbock, and Sarel and Charmaine van der Merwe. They were also given a good run for their money by well-known Hobie 16 sailors Brad Stemmett and Saskia Butcher, who loved the sailing so much that they bought the Mozzie they sailed at the Nationals. But it was Kevin and Vaughn who took the Gold in the end.

It was agreed at the AGM that 2012’s Nationals will be sailed out of POYC in St Helena Bay, at a date still to be agreed – and with the class hotting up again, it promises to be a real humdinger! Thank yous must go to the VYC committee for their hard work and sponsorship, with a particular mention for Commodore and Mrs Commodore Sean and Bev Le Seur, for their tireless hard work, and Rear Commodore: Sailing, Jac van Ryswyk, and his team. Also, of course, to Race Office Hein Britz and his team for the great sailing, and to the Mosquito Class for all their hard work and sponsorship – in particular to outgoing Class Chairman Roley Brown and Vice Chairman David Krumbock.

Final Results (first 5 positions):

1st: Kevin Webb and Vaughn Krumbock (VYC)

2nd: Sarel and Charmaine van der Merwe (VYC)

3rd: Brad Stemmett and Saskia Butcher (TSC)

4th: Markus Progli and Kelly Godfrey (ZVYC)

5th: Pieter de Villiers and Daleen Naude (MBYBC)