French Connection sailors clinch the offshore race

Sailing season draws to a close
Irene Van Der Walt
Günther Gladis and Leanie Roux managed to win this year’s edition of the Walvis Bay offshore sailing race in a time of 3 hours and 27 minutes with their Hobie 16 “French Connection”.

The 48th Walvis Bay offshore race was hosted on 26 December and saw two-member sailing teams on six Hobie 16’s one Hobie 14 in action. Following the arrival of the French Connection at the Walvis Bay Yacht Club finishing point was Adam Key and Peter Davidson with a time of 3 hours and 32 minutes. Lothar Redecker and Doris Gladis finished in the third position with a time of 3 hours and 34 minutes followed by Lauren Davidson and Reiner Einbeck in a time of 3 hours and 39 minutes in the fourth position. Niko and Christopher Brückner made it to the finishing line with a time of 3 hours and 40 minutes. Hans Knupp with his Hobie 14 made it in a time of 4 hours and 27 minutes to claim 6th place. Gero Knupp and Marianne Friede completed the race in 4 hours and 6 minutes taking 7th place.

The offshore race, which is usually sailed from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund, was modified last year with participants sailing from Walvis Bay to Langstrand and back to the Walvis Bay Yacht Club again.

Peter Davison one of the sailors explained that the offshore race has been going since 1973 when the municipalities of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund joined forces and decided to do a race from Walvis Bay to Swakop. “Last year we decided that we would sail to Langstrand, up towards one of the oil rigs and back to Walvis Bay. The reason is largely due to the Covid pandemic.”

According to Davidson most of the sailors decided that it was a great idea because logistically, it’s difficult having to sail all the way to Swakopmund. “The sailors have to hook up trailers and take it over to Swakopmund to the Mole where there is limited space. Hence, we decided to keep it offshore and give the Langstrand residents the joy of seeing the boats because it gives them a good view of the boats when they come along the beach. Depending on the wind it becomes quite a competitive race back to the Walvis Bay Yacht Club.”

Six Hobie Cats and one Laser participated in the 2020 edition of the competition with Brian and Adriaan Key clinching first place. Lauren Davidson and Ryno Engelbrecht finished second, with Zane and Zia Cooper finishing third.

This event serves as the closing for the sailing season which commenced on 17 December.