With just a month to go before Table Bay once again bids her formidable farewells (in the thick of the season of south east gales) to a healthy fleet of twenty-five ocean going yachts on the next Cape to Rio Ocean Race, the various sailing teams and their yachts are arriving from around the world.
One of the largest yachts to have entered in the long colourful history of the race arrived in Cape Town yesterday morning, after an epic delivery from Genoa in Italy, via Tenerife, Cape Verde and Ascension Islands. The beautiful ‘Almagores II’, is a 102-foot luxury super yacht built in Cape Town in 2012.
Another exciting entry is the lightning-fast Italian 70-foot maxi trimaran ‘Maserati’, skippered by the seasoned and very accomplished Giovanni Soldini. ‘Maserati’ is a serious challenger for the line honours record, and is aiming to complete the 3600 nautical mile course in just 6 – 7 days. She arrived in Cape Town on 12 November, having sailed from Hawaii, via Hong Kong and Singapore.
‘Love Water’, a local team sailing on an 80-foot maxi trimaran chartered from Lorient, France, will provide ‘Maserati’ with stiff competition, and also have their targets firmly set on breaking the race record. They are on their way to Cape Town and have passed the mid-Atlantic island of Fernando de Noronha en-route with their delivery from Portimão in Portugal.
Other entrants are currently delivering their boats from the Philippines, Germany, Brazil and Argentina. Locally, boats are coming from the Vaal Dam in Gauteng, and from various ports up the Southern African coast, including Durban, St Francis, False Bay and Luanda, Angola.
Siyanda Vato and a diverse young team of top South African sailors will be contenders for handicap honours in the monohull fleet, aboard their 39-foot rocketship, ‘Zulu Girl’, which sailed from Durban. Siya has a massive following of aspirant young sailors, and none more so than Royal Cape Sailing Academy’s very own prodigy, Yonela Mkaza, who will sail aboard her. Their motto is “strength through diversity”.
The youngest skipper to enter the race, Michaela Robinson, 19, will share the responsibility with her 22 year old brother, Ryan, aboard ‘JM BUSHA 54′ – sailing for Peace in Africa. These siblings have already competed in the 2011 and 2014 editions of the race, and also sailed together to claim consecutive dinghy world championship titles in the Mirror class.
Another young team will be aboard the ‘JML Rotary Scout’ entry. The scouts have entered previous editions of the race, and will race with a crew that has an average crew age of less than 20!
Completing the powerful representation of youth teams in this event is the German team aboard ‘Haspa Hamburg’, skippered by Torben Mühlbach. They are representing the proud sailing club, the Hamburgische Verein Seefahrt, which has entered numerous editions of the race, dating all the way back to the 1970’s.