With the First Start cruisers a week into the much revered Cape2Rio 2020 yacht race and by now all firmly set with bow to final destination, it was time to unleash the racers and record chasers into the competition.
The day started with the Mother City cloaked in fog, but as soon as the sun lifted it cleared to be another perfect day with a cloudless sky and gently blowing breeze.
Representing 5 continents and 10 countries, the crew of the seven monohulls and two trimarans gathered at the Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC) on Saturday 11th January 2020 at 10:00 for the big send-off.
Media, television channels, sponsors, friends and family enthusiastically collected in support as the teams added final touches and made last-minute tweaks while setting their minds to the task ahead. The atmosphere was different to that of the week before, more serious and focussed, with relaxed confidence befitting these seasoned competitors.
Club Commodore Neil Gregory welcomed all before Race Chairman Luke Scott called up the Skippers to introduce their crews. Most participants were met by cheers from those that had travelled far to be there, and those that had come to enjoy having them at the RCYC.
The final word was from Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson who touched on the significance of the Cape2Rio yacht race to the Cape Town events calendar, and how the city has proudly supported the endeavour that has linked two of the world’s most beautiful port cities since its inauguration in 1971.
He commended the RCYC, the race organisers and the #Sail4Good initiative which not only limits the environmental impact of the race, but creates awareness surrounding plastic pollution while supporting social upliftment and youth development. Pointing out that the Cape2Rio race only exists because of the ongoing enthusiasm, passion and efforts of the RCYC.
‘May the passage be safe and the teams arrive with all the personal rewards that such an adventure brings. May there only be favourable winds for the duration of the race,’ he concluded.
Padre Tony Bethka offered a blessing to the fleet. This is the fifth time that he is seeing off the brave men and women that chase the personal satisfaction of competing in this iconic South Atlantic ocean crossing.
Read my Cape2Rio 2020 Premier Ocean Yacht Race. For some, the wait is finally over. My account of the first start.
Personal goodbyes were heartfelt, not only for loved ones, but for club members, hosts and newly made friends who’d enjoyed the pleasure of getting to know many of the crew members during their time in the city as they prepared for the voyage.
There was a strong underlying message of appreciation from all the teams, not only for Cape Town’s warm hospitality but for the people who’d supported them during their stay. With special praise of the RCYC and Luke Scott for all his work in organising the race and fine-tuning the logistics.
Formalities aside, it was time for Anjo, Saravah, Mussulo 40 – Team Angolan Cables, Haspa Hamburg, Ballyhoo Too and Zulu Girl powered by Mazi Asset Management, to make their way to Table Bay where they were joined by Almagores II, and the two big multihulls ‘Maserati’ and ‘Love Water’. After a sail past at Quay 4 and Quay 6 at the V&A Waterfront, they raised their sails and took up a position just offshore in anticipation of the final countdown.
There were over 100 boats carrying excited spectators and supporters on the water, chasing the waves and the competitors. All the while the helicopter following Maserati hovered overhead and the drones intercepted each other in a bid to get the best shot.
At 14:00 the horn blew and the first seven boats harnessed the increased wind and took to the open sea, sailing from the marker off Mouille Point Light House towards Woodbridge, and from there North and onwards.
It was then back to the marker for the countdown to 14:30 to see off the two trimarans.
In the hour leading up to this, the Italian Maserati crew had suffered damages to a hydraulic piston that manages the foil system on the boat and had needed to make emergency repairs, leading to their arriving late and making an error at the start.
All the while Love Water was off and starting to gain miles, with Giovanni Soldini and his crew forced to join the chase from behind, with the hope of making up the lost time.
Amazingly within 24 hours both trimarans had flown up the West Coast and were already veering towards Rio. A full moon shone bright on their first night, making for a sublime start for the teams. Next stop – Rio de Janeiro.
Track their progress and keep in touch as we share regular updates from the skippers and crews as we follow their race to Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro, with daily leaderboards and news from the Atlantic on https://cape2rio2020.com/.
Safe sailing to all – may the best team win!
Second Start Competitors
Anjo, a Beneteau 40, was purchased in 2018 with the express purpose of competing in the Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race 2018, followed by the Cape2Rio 2020. After finishing the VicMaui, the team, therefore, made their way to Cape Town. Experienced Australian Skipper Clayton Craigie is a four time VicMaui veteran, and has multiple Pacific and Indian Ocean crossings to his name. With him are an international crew from five different countries includig South Africa, the Philippines and Canada. They are Keith Mutch, Joemar Bonquin, Fernando Garcia, Gordon Fenke, Lornz Stoneman and Mohol Isa Muhammad Rosli, who all recognise that bravery is the key attribute required for ocean crossings. The boat is registered to the Subic Bay Yacht Club, Philippines. Their #Sail4Good initiative is to raise money to provide resources for a daycare centre.
Ballyhoo Too is a Bruce Farr designed Mumm 36, built in 1994. She has been successfully raced over the last 25 years and is well known at RCYC. But despite being a respectable 25 years old, this will be Ballyhoo’s maiden ocean crossing. The double-handed crew are old friends Rijk Kuttel and Christopher Garratt, and the Cape2Rio2020 will be their 4th Rio Race, and their 3rd sailing together on the same boat. They attest to the fact that Ballyhoo Too may not be the most comfortable boat for an ocean crossing, but she’s fast on the downwind and ready for this adventure, as are they.
A special entry from the Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro, Saravah is a crowd favourite on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2017 the welcome into her home club in Rio was overwhelming. This time she is sailing with a seasoned crew from all over Brazil, that collectively has thousands of miles of ocean experience. They are Skipper Pierre Joullie, Johann Hutzler, Gustavo Peixototo, Alain Joullie, Jorge Zarif (Guga), Fabio Mansur, Luidi Fortunato and South African veteran sailor Phil Wade of Marine Inspirations. After arriving in Cape Town two weeks ago they’ve had a busy time working to get the boat ready, with a challenge or two to face in the process. Now finally on the water and looking good, their spirits are high and home is within sight. Saravah’s contribution to #Sail4Good is twofold. Firstly connecting fellow competitors Emoya who’s drive it is to create eco bricks with the waste they create as they go, with an organisation in Brazil that will receive and put to use these bricks. As well as Marine Inspirations, who supports young sailors in establishing careers within the superyacht industry. Follow them on Instagram.
Zulu Girl Racing powered by Mazi Asset Management
A proudly South African entry with an inspiring story, Zulu Girl Racing Powered by Mazi Asset Management is skippered by Siyanda Vato, and crewed by a young and dynamic team. Backing them is Mazi Asset management CEO Malungelo Zilimbola, whose goals are aligned with those of the team – strength through diversity. Mazi and the crew have become family during the journey of support that has made the race possible for them. Boat owner Stuart Richie has kindly let them use the boat that they may achieve their dreams. The crew are Skipper Siyanda Sisa Vato, Clarence Hendricks, Peter Marsh, Le-Roy Rudolf, Joweal Klaase, Daniel Agulhas and Theodore Yon. Their #Sail4Good is the ‘No More Barefeet Campaign’ that invites the donation of used school shoes to be distributed to disadvantaged children, so that they may go to school and in turn get an education. Connect with them for details of where to drop the shoes. Follow them on Instagram.
Mussulo 40 – Team Angola Cables
Welcome back to the fabulous double-handed entry on Mussulo 40 and this time supported by Angola Cables – an Angolan multinational telecommunications operator of fibre-optic telecommunication that is bringing change to Africa. The crew are Leonardo Chicourel of Brazi and Jose Guilherme Pereira Caldas of Angola, who have made fast friends with all that they’ve met while in the Mother City. They are proud to feel like a part of the race and look forward to welcoming everybody to Brazil. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
The Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt has a long and incredibly proud history of nurturing young offshore sailors by training and developing interpersonal skills in teamwork, fairness, leadership and, of course, sailing. Established in 1903, the HVS have entered the Cape to Rio a number of times, including the very first edition in 1971. The Judel Vrolijk 52 Haspa Hamburg is the 14th Hamburg edition yacht owned by the HVS, and she has participated in offshore racing around the world including Sydney Hobart, the Caribbean 600 and countless other transatlantic and international ocean races. A long time in the making with almost 100 hopeful applicants to participate in the race, a carefully selected crew of 12 – the so called chosen ones, are at the helm. They are Skipper Torben Mühlbach with Anika Sprakel, Arne Wittemer, Bijan Hatam, David Manherz, Jan-Hendrik Groenewold, Johannes Fackler, Lennart Eberlein, Marvin Schlesiger, Sebastian Mathias Ropohl. Thore Petersen and Till Lorenz. Their #Sail4Good ties into this with raising more funds for the development of future sailors. Follow them on Instagram.
The beautiful 102 foot Almagores II was built in the Southern Wind Shipyard in Cape Town in 2012. An Italian flagged yacht, her owner proudly comments: ‘Almagores II matched my desire for comfort with my passion for sailing. She is now on this new ocean crossing adventure with Skipper Francesco Donati accompanied by a crew of 12 from Italy, Australia and France, they are Andrea Henriquet, Glenn Edwards, Mario Marenzo, Massimo Muti, Nicole Moretti, Andrea Melomi, Henriquet Mario, Alberto Perezo, Jack Evans, Adelaide Giromella, Anne-Soizic Bertin, Federico Borromeo and Angelo Romanengo. Their #Sail4Good charity of choice is the Fondazione Theodora Onlus organisation that hires professional artists as clowns to support and bring laughter to terminally ill children, and see them and their parents through the difficult ordeal. Follow them on Instagram.
Maserati Multi 70
Giovanni Soldini holds the record for the Cape2Rio yacht race after winning it in 2014 aboard VOR70 Maserati in a time of 10 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds. Now Giovanni Soldini and his team are back on their multihull in the hope of bettering that time. Arriving into Cape Town in November after a round the world journey that saw them in the Caribbean last year this time, and from there Honolulu, Hong Kong, Singapore and Cape Town, competing as they went. After these many miles of sailing, they’ve spent time doing maintenance and implementing some of the improvements to the trimaran’s aerodynamics, as per the Maserati Innovation Lab’s engineers. They are set for success. The crew includes Guido Broggi, Oliver Perez, Matteo Soldini, Nico Malingri and Spaniard Carlos Hernandez Robayna. Follow them on Maserati Multi 70, that will link you to all of their social media platforms.
Love Water Sailing Team
LoveWater is sponsored by HomeChoice International Ltd and skippered by Craig Sutherland. An 80ft long, 64 ft wide, French-owned, racing trimaran that has been chartered with the express intent of winning the Cape2Rio for South Africa – and to smash the current South Atlantic crossing record in the process. The crew consists of six South African’s, a Frenchman, Antoine Rabaste and a Brit, Brian Thompson. The South African crew, all from Cape Town, are Ken Venn, Phil Lambrecht, Mike Clarke, Mike Minkley, Rick Garratt and Skipper Craig Sutherland. Working in collaboration with WWF, the crew of Love Water are committed to highlighting the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans as their #Sail4Good cause. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
For more information contact Simone Balman, Cape2Rio2020 Race Administrator on firstname.lastname@example.org and +27 82 635 3282. Crew pics are by official photographer Alec Smith of Image Mundi, the rest by me. Below, ocean happiness.