It was a busy, and long, start to the July holiday season for the Station 20 crew. Our rescue base opened at 04h00 every day from Wednesday to Saturday last week so that the crew would be prepared for any eventualities during the Mallard/Mercury Ski-boat Festival, hosted by the Shelly Beach Ski-boat club. This is the biggest annual fishing competition on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast with more than 45 ski-boats launching daily at first light from the Sonny Evans Small Craft Harbour alone.
The ski-boat club is adjacent to the rescue base and many of the crew are members. It was a special occasion for the club because it celebrated its 40th anniversary. The prize for the biggest fish caught in the competition was a ski-boat. The boat was put on display in the swimming pool at the club.
Acting Station Commander, Pieter Coetzee, congratulated the club on its achievement. “We have a very special relationship with the club, its Commodore and members. We work very closely together to make sure everybody stays safe at sea”, he said.
As the base was closing on Saturday, Duty Coxswain, Jeremiah Jackson, spotted last year’s Guardian Centrum winner, Torsten Henschel, and his family walking towards the base. Most of the crew had voted for Torsten during the competition last year and were aware of what he had done to win the award.
“It was a very special moment, rather like meeting a family member. We sometimes feel a little isolated so to have a visit from someone of his stature was a highlight for all of us”, he said.
Torsten and his wife and two children toured the base.
“One of the highlights was being able to show him our new 7.3m vessel, Spirit of Dawn”, Jerry added.