Team (Arrow Yamaha)
Team (Arrow Yamaha) has had an outstanding season achieving a 2nd in the National Championships in the modified class and 2nd in the 2018/2019 Trans Agulhas in the modified class. A huge effort was put into the 2018/2019 Trans Agulhas by the entire team with no less than 2000km of hard training been covered prior to the event as well as extensive equipment development and their Yamaha 50hp race engine performed faultlessly.
Trans Agulhas 2018/2019 (28 December 2018 – 1 January 2019)
Day 1: Plettenberg Bay to Mossel Bay with 9 checkpoint beach stops (198 km)
Team Arrow Yamaha departed their base in Mossel Bay for the start in Plettenberg Bay at 3.30am and on arrival in Plettenberg Bay, a short run was done to assure that the correct propeller choice was made. The flag dropped at 8 am and they were off to a good start slotting into 2nd position with the 3rd placed boat in close attendance. A close tussle ensued between Team Arrow and the 3rd placed boat all the way to the Klein Brak beach stop which is approximately 15km from the stage finish where they managed to pull a slender lead and finished in overall 2nd position. Day 1 is always a challenging day with huge surf conditions that have to be negotiated at places such as Brenton On Sea and Natures Valley as well as rough sea conditions passing the Knysna Heads.
Day 2: Mossel Bay to Stilbaai with two checkpoint beach stops at Vleesbaai and Gourits (86km)
This being the shortest leg of the event it is often the toughest with relentless sea conditions which usually prevail and this year was no different. Team Arrow decided to run close to the shoreline all the way to the first beach stop at Vleesbaai to try and hide away from the wind which worked out well with another 2nd position overall at the finish in Stilbaai.
Day 3: Stilbaai to Struisbaai with 2 checkpoint beach stops at Witsands and Arniston. (170km)
This stage proved to be a very difficult stage for many teams with only two beach stops over a 170km distance. Team Arrow again decided to run close inshore all the way from Witsands to Aniston in search of flat and sheltered turquoise waters. This, unfortunately, did not pay off for them this time as the sea conditions flattened out deeper in as well which cancelled out any advantage of running in the shallows at a higher speed but covering a longer distance and we finished 4th overall.
Day 4: Struisbaai to Uilenkraalsmond with checkpoint beach stops at Die Damme and Pearly Beach. (90 km)
This is the most exciting stage of the event for the competitors as there are many “shortcuts” through the various reefs and kelp beds which can save valuable time between Die Damme and Uilenkraalsmond but can be a huge risk at times with the chance of getting stuck in the kelp beds or hitting a reef being good. As luck would have it, Team Arrow managed to pick up a piece of kelp which cut off the water supply to our engine. We had to run for approximately two minutes at full throttle with no cooling water supply to the engine before we could stop to clear the water intakes. It was amazing that the Yamaha race engine suffered absolutely no damage at all! The team was very happy to finish in 4th position overall at Uilenkraalsmond even with losing approximately two minutes. By this stage, they had managed to maintain the 2nd position overall in the modified class from day 1 and planned to hold onto to it to the finish.
Day 5 : Gansbaai to Gordons Bay with checkpoint beach stops at Hawston and Pringle Bay (136 km)
Day 5 been the final leg of the event often delivers rough sea conditions and this year was no exception. With big seas and strong headwinds, all the way to Cape Hangklip Team Arrow managed to maintain a comfortable 3rd position and held onto this position till the finish in Gordons Bay where they finished in 2nd overall in the Modified class for the 2018/2019 Trans Agulhas.
The 2017/2018 event attracted approximately 100 000 spectators at the various beaches that the event visited and it is estimated that the 2018/2019 event exceeded this amount.
Team Atlas Copco/MOTUL
The 2018/19 event proved to be a tougher one than usual with windy weather producing some choppy seas and exciting racing. The first day is always the hardest with a marathon 190km stage but the Atlas Copco team stuck to their game plan by starting with a consistent pace and ensuring to complete this stage without any incidents. Day one also consisted of 10 compulsory beach stops with some monster surf favouring a cautious approach as many competitors lost time due to navigational errors and equipment failure. The first overnight stop was at Mosselbay followed by a shorter stage where the team could push harder finishing off with their first podium position as a well- deserved bonus.
Every stage is followed by the Motul king of the waves in the afternoon with all the boats racing around buoys in a set-out surf circuit. As this was Dagmar’s first Trans Agulhas it was also her first taste of short circuit surf racing and despite being nervous she did very well learning how to move her weight around and keeping the boat level while jumping huge surf while only an arm’s length away from other racers at times! The Motul sponsored surf racing is a crowd favourite with masses of holiday goers watching the spectacle over consecutive days.
The next overnight stops were Stilbaai and then Struisbaai where the long haul is not only followed by the surf race but the customary night race. Competitors line the beach after sunset and with the drop of a flag engines roar into life racing one lap of a 10km triangular course heading straight into the dark ocean. Two boats fitted with bright lights act as turning beacons with the last leg consisting of a crazy scramble to finish on the beach with co-pilots sprinting to the finish line high up on the sand. A bad start meant their boat dropped to the last place but fought their way through the field on choppy black water to finish in a close fourth position. Unfortunately, Dagmar tore knee ligaments in the surf race which meant Reghard had to do the running duties for the remaining two days with Dagmar gritting her teeth with a painful strapped-up leg during the remaining stages to Gansbaai and the final day to Gordonsbay. Despite this physical setback, the team kept their strong pace with their Infanta Inflatable powering through very rough seas and high winds on the final day to finish with a well-deserved podium position after 5 days of brutal ocean racing. Massive appreciation for the team partners that made this huge effort possible: Atlas Copco, PlatinumWheels, StuntSA, Pepson Plastics, Motul, PTL Products, AMP, Infanta Inflatables, Yamaha Marine SA, Customised Optics, Red Bull, BellMT, Van Wyk Transport and Janus from Nissan SA for the Navara tow vehicle. What makes this event unique is the monstrous team effort and it would not have been possible without the assistance of our team manager/engineer and funny guy Gary van Heerden as well as input and advice from Marc Gleed and the GleedSpeed team. Brothers and sisters were on hand to help lighten the general load, feed us and keep the spirits up through consecutive 18 hour days of racing and preparation.