Cape to Rio Race Update

The Cape to Rio Ocean Race is the jewel in the Royal Cape Yacht Club’s crown.

Dating back to 1971, the race across the South Atlantic Ocean, connecting the iconic cities of Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro, typically takes place every three years. The list of past participants reads like the who’s-who of ocean sailing, and the race attracts both club and professional sailors alike.

With just six months remaining before the start of the next race, the build-up is intensifying. There are two starts scheduled: the first being on Saturday 4 January 2020, and the second a week later on 11 January 2020. An update of the Notice of Race was published on 1 June 2019, and is available online HERE

The first start is intended for lower handicap racing yachts, but bona fide cruisers with any handicap can also elect to take this start. The initial Notice of Race had the first start scheduled slightly earlier, and the course for this start was routed via a compulsory 48-hour stopover at the mid-Atlantic Island of St Helena, but as a result of RCYC’s successful resurrection of the Cape to St Helena Race earlier this year, it has now been decided that the St Helena stopover is cancelled, and that yachts in both starts will head directly to Rio de Janeiro.

The second start will be for the bigger, faster racing yachts on higher handicaps.

All yachts are eligible for the overall handicap prize of the South Atlantic Trophy for monohulls, and the SAR&H Trophy for multihulls. There will be line honours prizes for both starts, but the official race line honours accolades will be awarded to the shortest elapsed finishing time for yachts entered in the second start, being the De Beers Line Honours Trophy for monohulls and the SA Marine Corp Trophy for multihulls.

To date, there are six confirmed entries in Cape2Rio2020 – three local yachts: Sophie B, Indulgence and Argonaut; and three international entries: Almagores II (Italy), Haspa Hamburg (Germany), and Mercenario Cuatro (Argentina). There has been a lot of communication with, and interest from over 30 more prospective entries, such as the Brazilian Navy, the Indian Navy, and potential Chinese and Russian entries.

A number of exciting high performance trimarans have confirmed that Cape2Rio2020 is on their upcoming race calendars, with official announcements to follow. It looks like there will be a serious challenge for the multihull record!

The current monohull record of 10 days, 11 hours & 29 minutes, was set by the VO70 ‘Maserati’ in 2014. There are some exciting new local and international yachts that have yet to be splashed that have also stated intention to enter.

Massive strides forward have been made in preparing and offering a World Sailing accredited crew safety training course for offshore and ocean sailing. This is a long overdue first for South Africa, initiated and pursued by the Cape2Rio2020 organising committee, with the support and approval of South African Sailing. World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations are also in play to ensure world class best practice safety preparation of yachts and their crews.

The World Sailing endorsed ORC rating platform will be used to calculate handicap times for monohull entries, and the Texel rating system will be used for multihull entries, although other multihull rating systems may be considered. The race time limit is set for noon on 2 February 2020, with the prize-giving gala dinner scheduled for that same evening at the Iate Clube Rio de Janeiro (ICRJ). The race finish will coincide with the ICRJ centenary celebration year. Yachts that are still racing, but have not crossed the finish when the time limit expires will be scored as finished, but with a scoring dispensation placing them below yachts that crossed the line by the cut-off time, regardless of handicaps.

The new Cape2Rio website has gone live with the intention that this will be built upon for future editions and become a useful resource with longevity. Much valuable effort and time has gone into capturing archived material and digitising records from previous editions.

Tracking will be provided with world leading technology from YB Tracking, and the World Sailing endorsed Virtual Regatta Offshore platform is confirmed to present a virtual Cape2Rio2020 race for those not lucky enough to participate in person. TAAG Airlines have partnered with the race to offer promotional flights for crew, friends and family

Royal Cape Yacht Club will again roll out the carpet for all entrants and supporters, and you can look forward to a festival atmosphere at the club in the month preceding the start, kicking off with a mass Freedom Sail to Robben Island on 16 December in support of the race.


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