This weekend 23 and 24 February will see the Annual 24 Hour Sailing Challenge take place on the North End Lake in Port Elizabeth.
This regatta is unique in that it takes place on an inner city lake in the shadow of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and is the last remaining 24 hour sailing regatta in South Africa.
Teams consist of a maximum of 10 sailors – five two man teams, who sail in shifts on a designated course on North End Lake.
It was in the first part of the last century that Bayonians (PE People) first started sailing on this stretch of water.
The first record of boating on the lake was in January 1907 when a W. Chant was given permission to hire out boats.
Once also named the Linden or Linton Reservoir, the North End Lake is an oasis in the centre of North End and a suitable backdrop for the Nelson mandela Bay Stadium. An average depth of three metres makes for safe participation in activities such as sailing, boating, fishing and water-skiing.
At a stage the North End Lake was called the Prince Alfred’s Park Lake – formed from run-off rainwater from the surrounding hills.
The first record of competitive sailing on the North End Lake was in the Herald of 1908 which recorded the holiday programme of the Port Elizabeth Yachting and Rowing Club (PEYRC). The preogramme included sailing, rowing and flat races, decorated illuminated boat procession and a fireworks display.
Sailing teams in two person dinghies from Knysna Yacht Club, Redhouse Yacht Club, Algoa Bay Yacht Club and East London Yacht Club will gather this weekend to see which team can sail the furthest distance around a designated course in 24 hours.
Presented by RYC and hosted by the EP Powerboat Club the weekend is always a fun challenge and interested persons are welcome to pop in for a chat and frothy libation of their choice.