The Algoa Bay Yacht Club annually send a team to contest the Lipton Cup Challenge.
Some years ABYC have sponsors and some years not, but, each year club members hold a breakfast and auction off items of value that are donated by members and friends of the Yacht Club. The proceeds from this auction are used to bankroll the ABYC team in the week long sailing regatta to contest the Lipton Cup.
The 2012 Lipton Cup is being sailed in False Bay from 19 to 24 August.
Items donated for the auction that will be held in 2013 include:
- Web Site Design worth R6500.00 by Alan Straton
- Web Site Hosting for a year worth R1 800.00 by Alan Straton
Interested donors are welcome to pledge their items for the 2013 Lipton Cup via the form below:
Some Lipton Cup History:
In 1909, Sir Thomas Lipton presented the magnificent silver-gilt Lipton Cup to the Table Bay Yacht Club (which later became the Royal Cape Yacht Club). The cup itself was manufactured by the noted British Silversmiths, Elkington and Company, in Birmingham UK during 1908 of solid sterling silver, and then hand gilded with gold plate. This is confirmed by the four hallmarks embossed on the main body of the cup. The trophy is believed to have been crafted by at least seven different people, each specialized in different skills required, including casting, silver-smithing, gilding, engraving and assembly. The era during which the Lipton Cup was made was at the height of the British Empire’s prosperity and affluence when demand for trophies of this opulence, size and style was said to be high. Although not impossible to re-create the cup in the same detail, materials, size and style today the cost would be exorbitant due to the limited number of people with the required skills. The total cost of re-creating something similar in size and design (but not detail) in this new millennium is estimated at around R1,5 million plus. In addition, it would take at least a year for one person, with all the necessary skills, to manufacture. In reality the Lipton cup is irreplaceable and has enormous historic and sentimental value for sailing and indeed, South Africa and for anybody interested in Africana.
Going back in history – in a letter to Sir Peter Bam, Member of Parliament for Harbour and vice-president at the yacht club, Sir Thomas Lipton is reported to have written all those years ago:
“Dear Sir Peter,
With reference to your kind promise, to undertake the delivery of the cup which I am giving for competition among South African Yacht Clubs, I now have the pleasure in sending you the deed of gift in connection with the cup mentioned and which I have duly signed. I should be glad if you would kindly hand this, along with the cup, to the Committee of the Table Bay Yacht Club. As I have already explained to you, I have always taken a very great interest in yacht racing and boat sailing, and my earnest wish is that this great sport should be encouraged in South African waters and particularly in regard to deep-water sailing. The deed of gift, which was drafted by the Committee of the Table Bay Yacht Club, I think covers the main points with regard to the conditions of the competition, and I have very gladly agreed to all their wishes and suggestions in this respect. It will be a very great pleasure to me if this cup could be the means of encouraging and developing yacht racing around the South African coast, and I am greatly obliged to the officials and members of the Table Bay Yacht Club for their kindness in undertaking the custody of the cup and the general arrangement regarding the competition. I hope you will convey to the gentlemen my sincere thanks for their courtesy in this respect, and I also would like to take this opportunity of thanking you personally for all the interest and enthusiasm you have displayed in this matter, I am, yours faithfully,
Thomas J. Lipton”
With that most magnanimous gesture sailing history was made in South Africa and this kind deed has been immortalised in the form of the (now) annual Lipton Challenge Cup event – traditionally competed for on the home waters (or other suitable waters of their nomination) of the winning club each year. Sir Thomas Lipton consented to being a patron of the club and was duly elected a life member. No challenge was received by the Table Bay Yacht Club in the year the cup was donated. 1910 passed and there were still no challengers – this owing to the fact that no South African club owned a yacht which complied with the conditions and measurements of the deed of gift.
The conditions were: “That any recognised yacht club that had headquarters between Walvis Bay and Beira could compete for the cup with one representative yacht which was to be not more than eight meters and not less than six according to international measurement.”
The mere presence of the cup was not enough to encourage the building of an eight meter but, by 1911, a challenger was being built by the Point Yacht Club in Durban. A Mr. Nick Chiazzari had an eight-meter named “Tess” under construction and he would challenge the Table Bay Yacht Club, who would “defend” in “Patricia” sailed by Charles Eglen. Chiazzari and his crew aboard “Tess” won all three races clinching the second round with only half a second separating the two yachts. The Lipton Cup was promptly whisked off to Durban where the crew were given a resounding civic reception and welcomed by the Mayor. The following year Chiazzari was elected commodore of Point Yacht Club. The Point Yacht Club’s subsequent record of winning the trophy nine times was overtaken by Zeekoe Vlei Yacht Club in 1994. The next most successful club is Royal Natal with eight victories to their credit.
The declaration of World War One and the subsequent depositing of mines off Dassen Island and Agulhas by the then enemy meant that no craft were allowed to leave harbour and yachting in general became dormant. However, the American’s Cup race of 1920 in which Sir Thomas’ “Shamrock” came so near to grasping the trophy that eluded him through his life re-awakened an interest in the Lipton Cup.
The challenge was on again but the Lipton Cup continued to elude the Table Bay Yacht Club. The 8 m class became defunct and the prized Cup lay in storage in Durban until 1951.
The fifties saw renewed activity in offshore racing. A new class had been introduced to South Africa from Scandinavia – the Thirty Square Meter. The trustees of the Cup were approached and it was agreed that the deed of gift should be changed and the competition was opened for the contest to be raced over five rounds. By the early seventies it was becoming evident that the graceful Thirty Squares, elegant as they were, were getting old and on their last legs. The last year finally arrived in 1973. Although the Lipton A fleet of Lavranos 26 (L 26) yachtsCup was to become dormant once more it seemed fitting that Jimmy Whittle, who had done so much to revive the cup in 1952, took the honours in the Lipton Cup sailed in the Thirty Squares. By 1982, quarter ton IOR racing had become increasingly popular and with the introduction of the Lavranos designed “Sweet Pea” it was again agreed that the challenge be opened up to a new class and the deed of gift amended. However, as soon as one year later the Lipton Cup was in jeopardy as it became obvious that the very few clubs could afford the funding needed for boats of the calibre of “Fuel Free” and “Royal Flush”. The L26 class was then introduced for the 1984 Challenge as a class that offered a potential long term future for the Lipton Cup. The increasing country-wide interest in the event proved that it was the right decision, and for the first time in the history of the event, the Cup was won by the inland Transvaal Yacht Club.
The Lipton Cup had once again become a premier event on South Africa’s yachting calendar. By 1988 a record 26 clubs were competing with skippers and crews that represented the cream of the country’s yachtsmen and women. Over 85 L 26 class boats have been built since the introduction of the Angelo Lavranos design. Not all of them are in a competitive condition but the advent of sponsorship, both of the event and of individual boats has ensured that boats can be refitted to peak racing trim for the contest. The Lipton Challenge Cup event continues to be competed for using the strict one-design Lavranos (L 26) yacht. Speculation has been rife that the design/class of the yachts selected to compete in the Lipton Challenge Cup event may well change during ensuing years as the faithful L 26 design yachts “age out” and fall prey to newer, faster and arguably more competitive, contemporary designs. Only time will tell.