16 teams left Royal Cape Yacht Club in a light westerly wind of 10 knots for a 14h00 start just off Granger Bay. Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape, signalled the start of the race by firing a historic race cannon. The 2023 running of the iconic Cape2Rio yacht race marks the 50th anniversary of the race first won by Ocean Spirit. The yacht was co-skippered by world-renowned sailor, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail single-handedly non-stop around the world.
Entries this year are varied and include two multihulls and 14 monohulls. Adrian Kuttel on Atalanta is the only single-handed sailor in the race this year. Kuttel competed in four Cape2Rio races to date (2003, 2006, 2009 and 2014). Nyamezela is the only double-handed entry with Vaaldam sailors Hubert Saayman and Wynand Grove on board.
“First over the line in Rio does not necessarily mean a win”, says Jennifer Burger, Cape2Rio race administrator. “The race works on a handicap system and boats have ratings. This all impacts on the overall results. We are expecting the faster multihulls, Norhi and Aventureiro 4, to reach Rio around the 16th of January.” The official prize giving takes place at Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro on 2 February 2023.
Popular entries include JustJinjer’s lead singer Ard Matthews on The Impossible Machine (TIM), and the young crew from RCYC Sailing Academy, sailing on Alexforbes ArchAngel. Skipper Sibusiso Sizatu (30), first mate Daniel Agulhas (29), Renaldo Tshepo Mohale (29), Azile Arosi (22) and Justin Peters (21) hail from Masiphumelele, Khayelitsha, Grassy Park and Athlone in Cape Town and are an inspiration to South African youth, especially from disadvantaged communities.
Several of the competitors are sailing for a cause – the Felix crew is sailing for Autism, and the tag line for Translated9, an Italian crew is: ”We believe in humans”. Their purpose is to connect people globally through translation services. The Indian Navy’s entry, INSV Tarini, was built in Goa and named after the Tara Tarini temple.