Voëlvlei Dam, near Tulbagh and Riebeeck Kasteel, is the second largest dam in the Western Cape, and also one of the most picturesque inland sailing locations in South Africa. Because of its size, Voëlvlei makes for perfect trapezing dinghy and multihull sailing as well as, of course, all dinghy sailing. Each year, Voëlvlei Yacht Club hosts an awesome Multihull and Dinghy events, the Tour de Vlei, which attracts Multihull and dinghy sailors alike. This year, the event was held on the 19th and 20th November.
Saturday 19th November saw pumping winds in the morning, which died down to nothing by lunchtime. It was a sweltering 30 degrees or more by noon, and the water was like a mirror, and so the competitors spent most of their Saturday swimming and lazing around in the shade on the beautiful lawns overlooking the dam. Just as everyone was getting into the swing of being lazy and thinking of opening their first beer and lighting the evening braai, at about 16h30 – Wallah! - The wind came up and the Tour de Vlei commenced at 17h00.
All competitors agreed that it was a beautiful evening’s sail, in a lovely 6-12 knots. The multihulls and trapezing dinghies started first and all other dinghies five minutes later. Voëlvlei is home to the Mosquito class of SA and so the first start boasted Mosquitos, Hobie Tigers, 14s and 16s, as well as 505’s and Fireballs. All other dinghies started next, dinghies doing one lap around the dam, multihulls two, and Oppies a shorter course. There are certainly many worse places to be than being out on the water in such a stunningly lovely piece of water, surrounded by majestic mountains, on a beautiful summer’s evening.
Although the last boats came in after dark, no one complained, and the sailing was followed by a very festive evening around the braai fires and in VYC’s bar, The Goose. (It is worth visiting there for a shooter called a Pancake – say no more!)
Sunday dawned rainy and windy and the more energetic sailors ventured onto the water for the first VYC Speed Trials, which proved to be a great success – and exhausting, as the 15 knots at 11h00 quickly built to over 30 knots! This is definitely an event that VYC will repeat. Prizegiving followed, with some very generous cash prizes, sponsored by VYC, awarded to the first three places in the multihull and dinghy classes.
The Tour de Vlei is definitely an event for all dinghies, Hobie and Mosquito sailors’ calendars!
1st Place – Grant Ballantyne and Evert Groenies (505)
2nd Place – Ian MacRobert and Kirsten Veenstra (Fireball)
3rd Place – Michael Hosthemke and Matiess Ruhl (505)
1st Place – Kevin Webb and Vaughn Krumbock (Mosquito)
2nd Place – Sarel van der Merwe (Mosquito)
3rd Place – Brad Stemmett and Saskia Butcher (Hobie 16)