If being a liveaboard yachtie is your thing, be it whilst sailing, or living on a yacht as a second home over weekends, or as a permanent lifestyle, the truth is you have to like the landfall. And to regular racing yachties participating in regional and international competitions that require staying over for different periods of time before making the return leg, mooring conditions are all important. In the case of visiting members of the international sailing fraternity, who have been spoilt for choice in putting down anchor at Blue Flag facilities around the globe, the city’s soon to be Blue Flag status marine clubs will be a bonus.
Facilities available to either permanent or visiting yachties at comfortable marinas can provide any number of pleasures including organized clubs equipped to handle emergencies, and entertainment facilities such as pubs and restaurants that can serve as useful distractions when needed.
For liveaboards in marinas or anchored berths, in either solitary environments or with family and friends, one of the many pleasures of this lifestyle is getting to know other cultures, countries and areas. Those who make their yacht their home in Cape Town, or whose port of call it is from afar, regularly comment on how easily weeks run into months while enjoying favourable sailing conditions. Yet, they say the rewards after a satisfying day of sailing, when coming ‘home’ to a pristine environment and lively community at anchorage, can be equally pleasing.
And when yachties have a keen interest in their natural environment both on land and at sea, the state of such an environment becomes even more important. Most welcome then is recent news that of Cape Town’s 15 marine clubs approached by the city to join the Blue Flag Marina Programme, three have agreed to acquire international standards by June 2012. The three clubs that received Pilot Blue Flag Status, False Bay Yacht Club in Simonstown, Granger Bay Water Club in Mouille Point and Royal Cape Yacht Club at the V & A Waterfront, will be supported by the city toward complying with 24 Blue Flag International criteria. Each participating marina is also required to run three environmental education programmes through the City’s Youth Environmental School programme, with outcomes to be announced in October, 2012.
SA has participated in The Blue Flag voluntary eco label award since 2001, with annual awards going to over 3650 beaches and marinas in over 44 different countries across the globe. The city views Blue Flag status as a significant tourism draw card that challenges local authorities, beach operators and yacht and marina management to achieve high standards in environmental management, environmental education, safety and security, and water quality.
Cape Town’s world class yachting facilities has resulted in the city hosting a number of events annually. Included are Cape Royal Yacht Club facilitating the starting point of the South Atlantic Yacht Race, previously known as the Cape To Rio. False Bay Yacht Club recently hosted the Lipton Cup, and is also the point of departure for the Cape to St Helena race. The city is a port of call on a biannual basis for the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race that saw a 10 strong fleet of 68 foot competing yachts arriving, and departing on the fourth race to Western Australia after being moored at the V & A Waterfront last week.