“Talking Sailing” from my archives. From Zero to Hero

Memorabilia from the first race in 1971 showing names of all the competing boats.

By Richard Crockett

17 days after the race started the focus of attention amongst the journalists is very much on just two yachts now, ‘Albatros II’ and ‘Mercury’, both sisterships and both heading the fleet in terms of distance to the finish and more importantly on handicap too. Little is being said of the big glamour boats as these two hog the headlines.

I must say that they both thoroughly deserve the attention, especially ‘Albatros’ as she damaged her mast within sight of the start line, and took shelter off Robben Island to effect repairs. Most pundits would have written her off immediately after that incident, yet a cunning repair and an excellent choice of course have seen her go from Zero to Hero very quickly.

It appears that the lights winds are almost behind the fleet which is why new boats keep popping up to the top of the handicap leader board – the big question is whether they can challenge the duo of sisterships!

Results – Handicap
1 Albatros
2 Mercury
3 Breezand
4 Omurambu
5 Outburst

Line Homours
1 Albatros
2 Mercury
3 Graybeard
4 Hamburg
5 Jan Pott

“Winds Beginning to Liven Rio Race”. Winds that Cape-to-Rio race skippers have been waiting for anxiously for the past week have begun to weep across the area in which the main concentration of yachts has been creeping along in dead calm.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 02 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000558 – OCR

“Sister Yachts in Lead”. ‘Albatros’ and her sister ship ‘Mercury’, only two miles behind, are in the lead actually and on handicap, and 166 miles ahead of ‘Graybeard’, which is third in line but 34th on handicap, and 121 hours behind the leaders on handicap.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 02 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000509 – OCR

“Knysna Sloop Hangs on to Her Lead”. In spite of failing winds, the tiny Knysna sloop ‘Albatros II’ was hanging on to its lead in the Cape-to-Rio race today. Latest reports put her two miles ahead of her nearest rival, the Durban sloop ‘Mercury’.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 02 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000365 – OCR

“Chase of Albatros II Begins”. While ‘Albatros II’ draws steadily away from her sister ship the unseasonable calm which has plagued the northerly route has broken and will change the whole picture among the leaders.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 02 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000537 – OCR

“Pionier’s Crew Due Tonight”. When the 24 000-ton American freighter ‘Potomac’ ties up in Duncan Dock this evening it will also be the unexpected end of an adventure for the crew of Cape-to-Rio yacht ‘Pionier’, which sank in mid-ocean after being hit by a whale soon after midnight on the morning of January 28.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 02 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000413 – OCR

“Stormkaap Has Arrived At St. Helena”. The crippled Rio race sloop ‘Stormkaap’, skippered by Dave Abromowitz, of Cape Town, arrived at St. Helena at the week-end. Last night the crew were surveying the damaged rudder in hopes that it could be repaired to rejoin the race.
READ MORE HERE:  1971 02 02 – Rio 1971 – Dave Elcock Collection -000340 – OCR