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One Cape Down, Two More to Go

Published on December 7th, 2016

(December 7, 2016) – The first of the three great capes is already in the transom of Italia, the Class40 Gaetano Mura is pushing hard to try and set a reference time for the single-handed round-the-world circumnavigation.

The Italian boat and skipper have rounded the Cape of Good Hope, on the southern tip of the African continent during the night of December 4 in very tough weather conditions, right in the mid of low-pressure system. Showing the Italian flag, the skipper from Sardinia granted himself a toast with a glass of wine from his native island.

The Roaring Forties are not easy, for anybody. In the area where Gaetano is sailing are at least another two skippers from the famous Vendée Globe race, one being the unfortunate Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi, on board Spirit of Yukoh, who has been forced to retire after dismasting and is trying to reach Cape Town.

From Gaetano’s blog:
“After two very tough days, I’ve managed to get back to the keyboard and write. We were well prepared for this low pressure. When it got here, myself and the boat were ready to tackle it. The wind increased and the waves got higher, fed by some 40 knots of wind, with gusts at 45 knots. We managed to get going, with two reed and a small jib. Later we entered an even stronger low, very active and fast, with heavy rain and 55 knots of wind. We opted for another reef to the mainsail and an even smaller jib. We sailed through it, topping 22/23 knots of speed down the huge waves. The worst lasted some three hours and when the wind veered, we needed to gibe in 40 knots. It is very dangerous to maneuver in these conditions. We let some time pass but then the wind direction wasn’t manageable anymore and the heel was too strong.”

On gybing in 40 knots:
“I’ve told myself and the boat that we had to do it, we had to keep strong. I went inside, emptied the ballast, I moved two sails on deck and, totally drenched, I went back to the cockpit and with my heart beating fast I gibed when we were going down a wave fast. It all went well, thank goodness, except the leeward stay that got stuck in the mainsail. But I cleared that at dawn. One we were on the other tack the boat accelerated through the waves, the keel and the rudders making loud noises. And so went the night. I’m a bit tired and I feel for Italia that is rolling with the punches for hours. But some dried bread and cheese from my Sardinia made my day look brighter…”

Gaetano Mura’s route can be followed via the tracking on his official website:

Source: Carla Anselmi

Editor’s note: We have repeatedly asked Carla for details on whether Gaetano is on record pace but thus far have not received a reply.

Background: Italian solo sailor Gaetano Mura on board his Class40 Italia begun on October 27 (at 05:20 CEST) an attempt to beat China’s Guo Chuan singlehanded around the world record (40ft Division) of 137d 20h 01m 57s set in April 2013. Mura’s course is from Gibraltar to Gibraltar, with the starting line positioned south of the Trinity Lighthouse, on the famous Europa Point marking the extremity of the Rock of Gibraltar.

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