By Richard Crockett
Dale Smyth is the skipper of ‘Dare to Lead’ in this race, and being a proudly South African sailor, despite being British born, he wants nothing more than to hit the finish line in Cape Town as the first boat home.
This was his stated goal prior to start of this second leg, and so desperate to prove himself into his home port, he played his ‘Joker’. The ‘Joker’ means that all points gained from the yachts finishing position at the end of the nominated leg will be doubled.
With about 120nm to go to the finish, he is less than 5nm behind the current leg leader ‘Greenings’, about half a knot slower in terms of boat speed, and slightly further North.
So the big question is simply this: Can he do it?
It’s all a matter of “time will tell”, but what he does have is some local knowledge which means that he should have an advantage when closing the finish line as he will know intimately what the local winds can, and may do.
More importantly he has to get his crew working overtime to eke every last bit of boat speed out of their trusty steed, and simply get ahead of their closest rival. If they are behind ‘Greenings’ as they close the finish it will be tough for Smyth and his crew to gain the advantage as their opponent will simply keep themselves between the opposition and the finish line.
Smyth has had a passion for sailing since he was eight when he first read about Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s adventures solo around the world.
He has pursued sailing actively since then, starting off on a Hobie 16 and quickly moving up to bigger boats. He has crossed the Atlantic numerous times whilst taking students, who include former Clipper Race crew, for their Yachtmaster Ocean courses, and has delivered yachts globally across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans.
His appointment as a Clipper Race Skipper is the fulfilment of a life-long dream and a passion for both yacht racing as well as teaching novice sailors, and to fulfil offshore racing goals.
Dare To Lead is an exciting first-time Team Partner in the Clipper 2017-18 Race. The incredible thing is that Dare To Lead also features the sponsorship of The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation Ambassadors. Aboard for the first two legs is South African Nqoba Mswazi.
712 non-professional crew, the most ever in its eleven editions including 17 South African amateur crew, from all walks of life and including many who had no previous sailing experience, will take on Mother Nature in this ultimate ocean challenge, representing 41 different nationalities.
Adam Cristol (31) will be sailing in to Cape Town after completing Legs 1 and 2, and said: “I’ve always had a real thirst for adventure and I was looking for the next challenge and I’d heard about the race and it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to experience something incredible.”
The South African yoga master, who is sailing on board HotelPlanner.com, added: “What I really love about the race is the people – we have so many people from different backgrounds and walks of life, all living in a confined space for weeks at a time. The HotelPlanner.com team is really working well together though and hopefully we can produce the results in the opening race to Punta del Este.”