Dash into the Dusk

Relive the exhilaration of the heart-pounding Lufthansa Twilight Series 2018

With its backdrop of Table Mountain, infamous South Easter summer winds and striking harbours, Cape Town has become one of the world’s most underrated sailing destinations we can’t get enough of!

Located in the Port of Cape Town, the Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC) hosts a range of annual sailing races and activities, including this year’s Twilight Series, sponsored by Lufthansa.

In a truly spectacular switch from day to night, the Wednesday early evening race boasts breath-taking views of the Mother City and lasts less than two hours. International and local sailors on more than 30 boats belonging to a diverse range of classes enter into fierce competition to see whose boat will reach the finish line first. It’s a white-knuckle ride into the sunset!

DESTINATION - SAILING photographer, Sébastien Rohner, was invited to sail alongside his former teammates on a Lavranos 26 vessel named Triton. As a qualified skipper and sailing pro, this adrenaline-pumping race is just one of many Rohner has experienced. In this Series, however, he dropped his usual foredeck duties to take in-action shots.

“It was awesome – so much fun and so packed on the water!” Rohner explains. “We had a really great start – which is key to success in a short race like this – and stayed in front for a while until we hit a disaster. Close to the end, our keel struck a load of kelp that slowed us down and eventually forced us to stop completely to remove it. We lost our position, but it was still a great race. And even better feeling that next time we have a real chance at winning.”

Outrunning most of its competitors was the recently launched, magnificent Cape 31 Class – a high performance one design masterpiece optimised for speed.

To encourage interest in the sport, the RCYC opens its doors to the public on Wednesday race days so non-members can climb aboard a sailing boat and enjoy the race from the deck. No experience is required, but it’s a good idea to wear waterproof clothing that will also keep you warm in windy conditions.

“It’s the perfect way to test whether or not sailing is a hobby you should invest more time and money in,” says Rohner. “Sailing is a wet business that can be tiring, so staying fit is paramount.” He also advises a Competent Crew Course as an essential starting point for any rookie sailor looking to get more involved on the boat, as well as staying on one boat consistently while you’re learning.

“Cape 31 is definitely one to watch! It’s gaining popularity with four or five in the fleet already. When I saw the Cape 31 go past us, I thought ‘that’s like a Ferrari racing against a Golf’ – it’s so quick! And really exciting to see that this super speedster is helping the Cape’s sailing world expand and develop an industry that’s home to some of the top sailors globally.”

For more information on upcoming Cape Town sailing events, visit rcyc.co.za.

Photography by Sébastien Rohner

Words by Shalagh-Ann Fredericks