Cape to Rio 2014
The first Transatlantic yacht race between Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) took place in 1971. SAS (South African Ships) Tafelberg served as guardship for the voyage which started from Table Bay in Cape Town. The race was called the Cape to Rio, but was renamed the South Atlantic race as the races destination has changed from time to time to include Punta del Este in Uruguay and Salvador in Brazil.
Scouts sailed the wooden yacht “Active” in the first Cape to Rio race in 1971 with the boat sponsored by Clover.
The race was inspired by South African sailing legend Bruce Dalling(died 2008), winner on handicap of the 1968 Transatlantic Single-Handed Yacht Race sailed between Plymouth, England and Newport, Rhode Island.
While South Africa celebrated Dalling’s success, Admiral H.H. Biermann made the first recorded suggestion of South Africa organizing an ocean race, either to Australia or South America, at a function in Cape Town. The Springbok Ocean Racing Trust changed its name to the South African Ocean Racing Trust and immediately sprang into action. In co-operation with Clube de Rio de Janeiro, the race was organised in conjunction with the Cruising Association of South Africa (CASA) for 1971, at a date which would allow the finish to coincide with Carnival time.
In the race in 1971 Dalling skippered Jakaranda, which was expected to lead the South African challenge. Unfortunately she sheared a main rudder post early in the race.
The 3 600 nautical mile race has been raced 11 times since 1971.
With over 3000 nautical miles of tactical downwind sailing, the Royal Cape Yacht Club’s Cape to Rio has attracted many of the world’s top sailors over the years. The race dates back to 1971 when the idea to run between two southern continents began. over the years, the Cape to Rio has interested many top sailors and boats as well as cruisers who take part for the pure thrill of the adventure.
A 36-strong fleet will start on 4 January 2014 from the waters of the famous Table Bay.
The turbulent political history of South Africa had a negative impact on the, but it was the 1993 Cape to Rio that regenerated this iconic and diplomatically important race with 83 entries. Boats like the 15.3m Flyer Morning Glory, Broomstick and Parker Pen took to the water with one goal in mind: to achieve line honours and break the record.
The start provided a dramatic spectacle with Morning Glory blowing her spinnacle to shreds. Line honours went to Broomstick with a time of 15 days, 3 hours and 5 minutes ahead of Parker Pen. Hasso Plattners’ Morning Glory won the handicap trophy with a time of 18 days, 14 hours and 52 mins.
Racing multihulls were invited to compete in 2003 for the first time hoping to set new records, but light airs ensured that no records were broken that year. However, the racing trimaran Nicator took line honours for their result of 12 days and 23 hours.
The 2014 Cape to Rio has attracted top ranking international boats like Italy’s Maserati, Australia’s Scarlet Runner and Germany’s youth team on Iskareen. This level of interest from such renowned teams adds valuable gravitas to the race.
South African entries to watch include the Open 60 DSTV Explora and Privateer, a Farr Class 40 sailed by brothers Francois Kuttle and Adrian. Also one to watch is Mike and Gill Robinson with their five youngsters on the 35ft Investec Ciao Bella – they placed second on IRC in the 2011 edition of the race.
The year the first race set off from Table Bay
Number of boats that lined up on the start line of the first race.
23 days, 42 minutes
Length of crossing by winner of the first race Ocean Spirit, co-skippered by Robin Knox-Johnston and Leslie Williams.
12 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes
The standing record set Zephyrus IV, a 22.9m sloop in 2000
Greatest number of boats entered into this race, in the year 1976
The total amount of crossings in the Cape to South America race of which 9 went to Rio and the others went to Uruguay and Salvador
The number of yachts have made the crossing to date as part of the race over the years