We left Cape Town on our sailboat Summer Love, on the Cape to Bahia Race. You can see Table Mountain below and the notorious South East wind pummelling the race banner and clouds spilling over the top like a table cloth. This is Cape Town in January. There is always wind, lots of wind, that’s why I never wore a skirt.
About 3 days out of Cape Town we found the SE Trades and although conditions were not perfect — they never are in the South Atlantic Ocean — we safely found Brazil.
This year’s race, which started on 4 January, tells a very different story.
“The ability of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to respond in times of emergency has yet again been ably demonstrated, this time by the Navy which at about 10am today arrived in a stormy Atlantic Ocean to assist yachts in distress on the first leg of the Cape-to-Rio race.
“There are at least two yachts in distress and another three experiencing problems,” Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen said.
“The yachts are approximately 120 nautical miles north-north-west of Cape Town. One, SY Bille, transmitted a Mayday using a satellite phone while the SY Ava transmitted an Emergency Position Indicating Beacon (EMIB) at 4.45pm and 4.30pm on Sunday.”
The race website reports Bille had mainsail problems and were proceeding back to Cape Town for repairs. The yacht was de-masted with serious injuries to some crew. One of the injured later died.
The first night at sea for Cape-to-Rio contenders was a stormy one with reports of 40 to 60 knot winds and swells of up to six metres.”
They sailed straight into a gale.
My heart is in my throat.