Cape to Rio: Following the turmoil

(January 9, 2014) – Following the start of the 3300nm Cape to Rio Race on January 4, the ferocious storm that hit the fleet with 50 knot winds on the first night forced 10 yachts back to port with the remaining 25 yachts continuing towards Rio de Janeiro. The most tragic incident occurred on the Bavaria 54 BILLE which dismasted with a number of serious injuries on board, including the fatality of António João Bartolomeu.

For those yachts still racing, the cold front virtually disintegrated the usual area of Doldrums associated with the South Atlantic High and the fleet is making great speed towards Rio de Janeiro. Giovanni Soldini’s turboed Italian Volvo 70, Maserati is making record pace. The current record is held by the American 74′ maxi Zephyrus IV – she completed the race in just 12 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes in 2000. Maserati needs to finish by dawn on January 17th and is currently well inside record time.

Whilst Maserati is hot favourite to take line honours and set a new record for the race. The overall leader of the race using the IRC Rating system, is extremely close. After 92 hours of racing, the top three yachts on corrected time are all racing in IRC Two.

The S&S 39′ Perie Banou Rolly Tasker is currently leading the race overall. Skippered by Australian Jon Saunders who is the only man to have circumnavigated the planet three times without stopping (in 1986-88), having previously done it twice non-stop in 1981-82. He and his boat Perie Banou have done many Sydney-Hobarts but missed the 2013 race to compete in the Cape to Rio Race.

After 4 days of racing, RCYC Commodore, Dale Kushner, racing Yolo (Sunfast 3200) doublehanded, is 175 miles ahead of Perie Banou on the water but after time correction is less than a mile behind the Australian boat.

“After several days of rough weather, with the boat and the crew soaked through, we seem to be in the trades for now,” said Kushner. “Sailing along at approximately 9 knots with kite up. Nice to have some sunshine on our backs and after the first few days of turmoil, we can settle down to a decent meal and watch system. All is well onboard; it was a real asset to be able to tell family and friends that we were ok over the last few days.”

Yolo is a much lighter boat than Perie Banou and that may tell in the overall standings, now that the yachts are in lighter downwind conditions, it is likely that in the next update of the leader board that the race will be led by Yolo.

The Robinson family racing, Investec Ciao Bello are also doing extremely well. There are no less than seven family members on board. Father and Mother, Gillian and Michael, are racing with their five children; Kathryn (28), Ricky (26), Brennan (25), Ryan (16) and Michaela Mae (13). Currently lying third in IRC Two and fourth overall, the Robinson family was runner up in the last Cape to Rio Race.

Source: Louay HabibEvent website

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