Reporting from Rio de Janeiro.
The Cape2Rio2020 Prize Giving took place next to the expansive palm tree lined pool at the Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro at 6pm on 2nd February 2020 with crews, family, friends and supporters invited to share the warmth and spirit of the culminating event of this edition of the race. Dress code was marked as ‘semi-formal with a sub-tropical twist’, with the individual teams proudly donning their branded kit as everybody mingled to share stories while enjoying the free flowing icy caipirinhas.
After all the planning, logistics, excitement, vulnerable moments and hyped adrenalin, as well as a marathon run between 28 – 31 January that saw a traffic jam of 17 of the 22 participating boats arrive into Rio de Janiero from Cape Town, it was time to tally the scores – and celebrate success. But not before the scouts aboard Rotary Scout and the fabulous four on Indulgence literally gate-crashed the party after arriving dockside just 10 minutes before the start.
Once all were settled at their respective tables formalities began, with Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro’s Ricardo Baggio warmly welcoming everybody to the club, stating how significant the relationship between the ICRJ and the Cape Royal Yacht Club was to them.
The Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro is currently celebrating their centenary and Ricardo Baggio noted that the much valued and significant Cape2Rio race relationship spans half that history. ‘For us it’s very important to have this race ending here, and we look forward to a continued partnership for many years to come.’
Luke Scott, Cape2Rio2020 Race Chair then welcomed all the past and present competitors. ‘And to the future race competitors in this room,’ he said, ‘we look forward to having you onboard’.
Luke formally thanked the ICRJ for welcoming the participants and for making everybody feel so special during their stay. ‘This magnificent event space alone makes sailing 3600 miles absolutely worthwhile,’ he said, before wishing everybody a night that would always be treasured in their hearts and minds, commending all that had participated in this adventure of a lifetime while sailing for good.
As the teams enjoyed dinner and the volume of excitement amplified, the skies opened as though in shared celebration, giant rain drops splashing into the vast pool as though dancing to the same rhythm.
The prize giving commenced with Luke applauding the last two crews to arrive into port just before the event, showing true seamanship with Indulgence towing Rotary Scouts for some of the last 12 hours of the voyage, after coming to their aid. He recognised the competitors who completed the race, even though they had been disqualified when opting to put on their engines. These included Northern Light, the Rotary Scouts, Indulgence, and also Anjo, who had not yet arrived.
As the Rotary Scouts were invited to get their prize, Ricardo of ICRJ decided that they needed to dance the Samba to show their spirit, something that became the theme for the evening. Next was Indulgence with four brave adventurers from the Vaal in SA’s Gauteng, who’s dream of finishing the race under sail did not quite come to fruition.
Northern Light followed, the boat that gave us one of the most insightful and soul-searching blogs throughout the race, yet for some reason had put their engine on about an hour and a half off the finishing line. They sailed plastic free and sourced all their provisioning very carefully to support independent and organic producers.
Anjo crew’s wives and girlfriends were called up to received their participation award in their absence, as they were still on route – due to arrive the next morning.
Deep Blue Adriana were in 13th position overall. Hans Schneider and Lino Baptista joined Diamantino Leitao and his double-handed partner Luis Marques – who had sailed the boat from Luanda to Cape Town, on the Cape2Rio2020 race. The firm friendships created over the race were clear to see, not to mention the incredible menu of cuisine.
Next up and in 12th overall position, were the much loved crew from Cape Town onboard Argonaut. ‘Usually heard before they are seen’, they had not only barbecued the whole way across the ocean but also had a wedding proposal at the Meridian, when Skipper Charles McDonald had asked his crew member and long-time girlfriend Sunny Austin the ultimate question.
Tam Tam in 11th place has a very special team and mixture from Gauteng and the Eastern Cape in South Africa. Sailing for cancer awareness with cancer survivor Jasper van der Westhuizen at the helm, they had done an amazing job, singing their race theme song ‘I’m on my way to Rio’ at the top of their lungs while crossing the finish line at 4am in the morning, a moving sight to see and hear.
Almagores II, a beautiful Southern Wind 102 with the Italian owner Federico Borromeo onboard, fulfilling a longstanding dream, and Captain Francesco Donati and Navigator Andrea Henriquet leading a remarkable crew, were a wonderful site to see in Cape Town and equally so as she came across the finish line in Rio. Very elegant, built in Cape Town and having lived her first 7 years in Italy, she was in 10th position overall.
Inspiring with their commitment to preserving the ocean and create eco-bricks with the waste generated on their crossing, were Umoya in 9th position. A group of 5 firm friends that brought a lot of infectious love to the race. Skipper Pete Martin had even lectured on potential eco solutions at the local university after their arrival.
San Salvador, the Argentinian entry, had fulfilled their dream by the time they arrived into Cape Town from Buenos Aires, sailing in the footsteps of Vitor Dumas, an Argentine single-handed sailor who had circumnavigated the world in the ‘40s. Leo Vugman was accompanied by his son, and two friends, and had opted to do the race without communication. Much to the crowd’s delight, the Brazilian onboard, Edmar Almeida, danced a brilliant Samba after receiving their prize for overall 8th position.
Another Cape Town entry, Mojie had lost a bit of time as they opted to avoid the threatening storm. Having sailed a good race they had done exceptionally well though, especially as first time trans-continental crossers, arriving in an overall 7th position.
The young students onboard JM Busha 54 had been determined from the start. Sailing for Peace and Unity in Africa, and having encountered more than their fair share of challenges, as well as a nasty run in with Cyclone Kurumi that brought out their true strength of character, they were announced to be in 6th position. Co-skippered by Ryan and Michaela Robinson – the youngest in the race at 19 years old, Tawanda Chikasha, Emma Clark, Jonathan Ham and Hearn Johnson proved that besides their sailing skills, they also have some serious dance moves. They also received the Mory Trophy First Place ORC 2 on Corrected Time, the Neptune Cup for Start One Monohull Line Honours – 23d16h14m52s, and the Telescope Trophy for Youth.
Flying their Mazi Asset Management spinnaker with pride as they crossed the finish line, despite obvious exhaustion, the Zulu Girl crew had placed 5th. Not the position that Skipper Siyanda Vato and his crew had hoped for, but given their struggles on route, lack of power, instrumentation, navigation lights after their engine alternators failed early in the race, and the overcoming storm damage to steering and an injury, they can be very proud of their achievement, and have already committed to being back for the next one. They received the Amsterdam Sauer Trophy for Seamanship.
The Haspa Hamburg had always held great promise and their arrival with the rising sun into the finish line will be imprinted on the minds of all those lucky enough to meet them. Placing 4th overall, there’s great hope that the relationship with the Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt will see more crews participating in the future. They received the De Beers Trophy for Overall Monohull Line Honours – 16d21h03m15s
Home grown and firm favourites, in particular at their ICRJ home club, were the Brazilian crew of Saravah who placed 3rd overall. Gathering to receive their prize, with many family and friends in attendance to celebrate, Skipper Pierre Jolie further endeared himself to all with warm thanks and while addressing the crowd in Portuguese. There were some excellent samba moves from the crew too, and the commitment to two entries from this crew in the next edition of the race. Saravah received the Punte del Este Trophy for Third Place overall on corrected time.
The double handers Rijk Kuttel and Stof Garratt from Cape Town onboard their faithful Ballyhoo Too had raced towards the finish line with recognised determination, despite a broken rib and knew injury. Glowing with pride and gratitude, this was the fourth Cape2Rio for the duo, their first as double handers. Placed 2nd overall, they took a moment to thank their families at home who had supported them throughout the journey. Ballyhoo Too received the Telkom Trophy for Second Place overall on corrected time.
And the winners are, the impressive double handled Mussulo 40 crew who placed 1st. Consistent and strong contenders, Skipper Zé Guilherme and Brazilian Leo Chicourel have been sailing together for six years, completing numerous ocean crossings. Their co-ordinated skills and calm confidence had won them a lot of support from both sides of the race. Sponsored by Angolan Cables, this experienced team will hopefully be back for the next Cape2Rio. They received the CASA Trophy for First Placed Doublehanded on corrected time; the Meridian Trophy first ORC 1 boat across the Meridian; and the South Atlantic Trophy for First Monohull Overall on corrected time.
Moving onto the multihulls; and starting with catamaran Sulanga in 5th position, who had sailed all the way from Langkawi to be on the start line, making it to Cape Town just in time. Owner Skipper Klaus Wiswedel indicating that he will be there for the next one.
Aboard the catamaran Ronin in 4th position, were a bunch of mates who’d chartered a well prepared boat with the very experienced Skipper Mark Wannenberg leading their adventure.
For the very special Albertyn family this was the fourth Cape2Rio. Competing as a family with father, mother, two sons and their girlfriends, they’d arrived in 3rd position amongst the multihulls, and 1st of the cruising catamarans. Pierre has very generously sponsored a trophy for the cruising catamaran category for future Cape2Rio events.
The exciting trimaran Maserati Multi 70, skippered by Giovanni Soldini, had planned her participation in the race over two years ago, coming all the way from Hong Kong and Singapore to Cape Town. After literally breaking down on the start line, the crew were forced to make repairs as they went, engineering simple solutions on a high tech boat. It was a privilege to see this boat participate in the race, and after their bold chase of Love Water across the ocean, they had ended in 2nd place overall.
Winners in every sense were a group of friends who’d done a number of previous editions of the race, but this time wanted to challenge themselves to try harder and achieve more. They strategised and worked out a way, chartering a boat from Frenchman Antoine Rabaste, who offered them incredible support throughout and joined the crew for the crossing.
Even after disaster had struck in the months just before the race, when the original boat had capsized – needing replacing, they moved forward with their goal firmly in sight. Sponsored by JSE listed HomeChoice International Ltd and skippered by Craig Sutherland.
The crew included Antoine Rabaste, Brian Thompson, Ken Venn, Phil Lambrecht, Mike Clarke, Mike Minkley, Rick Garratt and Skipper Craig Sutherland. Working in collaboration with WWF, they committed to highlighting the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans as their #Sail4Good cause.
Love Water received the SA Marine Corps Trophy for Multihull Line Honours and a new multihull elapsed time record 7 days 20 hours 24 minutes 2 seconds; and the SAR+H Trophy for the First Multihull on Corrected Time.
There was one more prize to be given out – The Raconteurs Trophy for Tales from the Sea – which embodies the spirit of the race and is awarded to whoever told the best story from the water.
Among those shortlisted were Northern Light, the Rotary Scouts, JM Busha 54, Myrtle of Bonnievale, Almagores II and Tam Tam, all recognised for the incredible efforts and personal insight they offered. Voting brought it down to two final contestants, Rotary Scout and JM Busha 54, who were invited up to samba their way to victory, with the spirit of the Rotary Scouts the ultimate victors.
A race like the Cape2Rio does not happen without an incredible amount of planning and hard work. Race Chair Luke Scott, the Race Committee, Royal Cape Yacht Club, RCYC Trustee Dave Hudson, official race photographer Alec Smith and all at Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro were thanked for their tireless efforts in ensuring a safe and successful race. The spirit in the room spoke wonders for the quality of the competitors and their appreciation of this edition.
Well done to all the sailors for their hard word, dedication and brave tenacity. Thank you for honouring the rich pride and heritage of the Cape2Rio – the premium South Atlantic sailing event that dates back to 1971.
Here’s to the next edition of the Cape2Rio – may it arrive sooner than imagined and have many of you participating.