The Governor’s Cup is a 1700 mile plus – usually downwind, yacht race from Simon’s Town in South Africa, to James Bay on St. Helena Island. The 2012 race will be starting from False Bay Yacht Club in the quaint naval town of Simon’s Town and will have the added thrill of rounding the beautiful but dangerous Cape Point very early in the race.
History of the Governor’s Cup
The first race was held in 1996 and attracted 15 entries with line honours being taken by the yacht ‘Merlin’ and with CP van der Merwe on his Farr 38 ‘Freedom’ winning the Governor’s Cup Trophy on handicap. Interest in yachting on the island was sparked and with the donation of two sailing dinghies by race supporter, Nina MacLellan, young St Helenians began sailing. Here is a photo of Freedom which was used for the 1998 race:
The 1998 race saw 22 entries with 2 from the UK. Line honours were won by Hugh Brown on ‘Merlin’, with ‘Apricot’ winning the Governor’s Cup Trophy on handicap. St Helenians took part for the first time in the race as crew aboard the yachts ‘Group 4’ & ‘Sprint’.
The 2000 race saw 16 entries with Paul Bennett and Jonathon Paarman setting a new line honours course record with ‘Beluga-Monarch Assurance’. Their crew included four St Helenians who had been brought to Cape Town for intensive training prior to the race. Handicap winners for the Governor’s Cup Trophy were the British entry ‘Gladeye’ skippered by Lt Col Charles Glee of the Household Cavalry.
The 2002 race saw 19 entries with Billy Leisegang on ‘Our Dianne-Monarch Assurance’ with co-skippers, Terry and Riàn leisegang, winning the Governor’s Cup Trophy on handicap with three “Saints” on board. Line honours was won by Jonathon Paarman on ‘Beluga-Monarch Assurance’ with a crew largely consisting of St Helenians.
The 2004 race results: 13 entries
Line Honours: ‘Shackattack’
Governor’s Cup Handicap Trophy winner, 1st in IRC Class: ‘Our Dianne’
1st in Cruising Class: ‘Shoestring’
The 2006 race results: 10 entries
Line Honours:’Our Dianne’
Governor’s Cup Trophy winner, 1st in IRC and Muira Classes: ‘Didakoi’
1st in Cruising Class: ‘Summer Love’
The 2008 race results: 15 entries
Line Honours: Phoenix
Governor’s Cup Trophy winner, 1st in IRC Class: ‘Patches’
1st in Cruising Class: ‘Blazin’
The 2010 race results: 17 entries
1st in Cruising Class: ‘Rotary Scout’ co-skippered by Mark Jennings and Peter Bosch