Governorís Cup Yacht Race: The Ultimate Christmas Getaway - get your crew together for an exhilarating downwind race
Monday, 22 October 2012
Still time to compete in the 2012 Governor’s Cup Yacht Race from Simon’s Town, South Africa, to Jamestown, St Helena starting 22 December 2012
October 2012 - In these days of easy air travel, there are very few places which can really claim to be truly accessible only by sea. But St Helena, a volcanic island in the south Atlantic, 1,800 miles from South America and 1,200 miles from South Africa is one of those places. Other than the rare visiting yacht, the island’s only lifeline is one of the last operating Royal Mail Ships, the St Helena, which travels between Cape Town, St Helena and Ascension Island, carrying vital mail, goods and people on a regular round trip to one of the world’s most extraordinary, welcoming, exciting and historically interesting islands.
Every two years, intrepid sailors looking for the race of a lifetime, can take part in the Governor’s Cup Race, a downwind 1,700 nautical mile race from False Bay Yacht Club near the historic Simon’s Town, round Cape Point, and across the South Atlantic Ocean to the finish line off Jamestown, St Helena. The race starts on 22 December 2012, with the leading yachts anticipated to cross the finish line around 31st December 2012. The majority of the participating sailors and their yachts are booked onto the RMS St Helena’s departure from the island on 11 January 2013, arriving back in Cape Town on 16 January – to enjoy a relaxing cruise home on board with many of the other race crew, and plenty of post race parties!
As well as the thrill of the race itself, there’s plenty to see and do on St Helena. Discovered in 1502, the island’s remote and dramatic location means it has over 400 endemic species not found anywhere else in the world. This includes the Wirebird, the island’s last remaining endemic bird; the world’s rarest tree, the Bastard Gumwood; and the world’s oldest land animal, Jonathan, a rare Seychelles Giant tortoise estimated to be over 175 years old. The island is rich in naval history; it was first sighted by Vasco de Gama in 1497, but not landed on until 21 May 1502 by Portuguese navigator Joao de Nova. It is famous as the island where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled in 1815 until his death in 1821. After the abolition of slavery in 1834, many freed slaves were landed on the island prior to being repatriated to their African homelands, and from 1899 to 1903 the island was home to a Prison of war camp for Boer prisoners captured at the Battle of Paardeberg. Much of the island’s history, from military forts to underwater shipwrecks, ancient churches and historic buildings, remain intact for visitors to explore.
Today, the island’s history adds to its beauty as a sub-tropical island with a unique bio-diversity. Only 10.5 miles long and 6.5 miles wide, its landscape ranges from vegetation to sub-tropical desert, and is home to many natural wonders unique to the island, from its rugged coastline to the famous 600 foot high Jacob’s Ladder offering panoramic views. As well as its own brand of St Helena coffee and special liquors, the seas teem with tropical fish including tuna and blue marlin, and its night skies offer unrivalled views of the stars. Astronomer Edmund Halley visited the island in the 1670’s and more recently a 1,000 star photo was taken in a bid to be recognised as an ‘International Dark Sky Place’.
Described as ‘further from anywhere else in the world’ (by author Julia Blackburn), St Helena is about to change, with work starting on an airport, the biggest infrastructure project the island has yet seen. Due to open in 2015, there is no doubt this will increase its attractiveness as a tourist destination, and it is hoped, encourage more ‘Saints’ as former islanders are known, to return home with the increase in business on the island.
The Governor’s Cup Race is organised by False Bay Yacht Club, and more details on how to enter can be found at www.governorscup.co.za;
The Governor’s Cup Race is a downwind 1,700 nautical mile ocean yacht race organised by False Bay Yacht Club, www.fbyc.co.za, and is now claimed to be an entry on many sailor’s ‘bucket list’. First held in 1996, the Governor’s Cup Race is a bi-annual event starting from False Bay Yacht Club in the quaint naval town of Simon’s Town, South Africa finishing in Jamestown, St Helena. For further details on the race including race documents, visit http://www.governorscup.co.za.
The closing date for entry to the race is 31st October 2012, however late entries will be accepted up to 17:00 on 15th November 2012.
This year the race is being supported for the first time by Enterprise St Helena, which promotes the growth of economy of St Helena through the development of existing businesses and the promotion of the island to new investors and developers. With the opening of the island’s airport due by late 2015, it is anticipated that tourism, and marine tourism in particular, will be a key economic driver for the island and its community. For further details visit www.investinsthelena.biz.
For further details on St Helena Island, visit www.sthelenatourism.com.
The Governor’s Cup race is proud to be supported by Andrew Weir Shipping SA (Pty) Ltd – www.aws.co.uk and RMS St Helena – www.rms-st-helena.com.
For further media information or if you would like to take part in this unique race to report on the Governor’s Cup Race and life on St Helena, please contact Polly Tyekiff, firstname.lastname@example.org or Leah Rosewell, email@example.com; or tel +44 (0)1460 241641. Flights to and from Cape Town are included, but you will need to be a qualified and experienced sailor. The return journey on RMS St Helena will arrive in Cape Town on 16 January 2013.
Last Updated ( Monday, 22 October 2012 )