Crews participating in the Cape to Rio 2023, including members from Masiphumelele, Khayelitsha, Grassy Park and Athlone, set sail yesterday.
This follows intensive training at the Royal Cape Yacht Club Sailing Academy, which was formed to create opportunities for youth from disadvantaged areas in the sailing sector. Sailors are set to cross the Atlantic Ocean in pursuit of the 18ct gold stylised boat hull and sails South Atlantic Trophy awarded to the winner of the Cape to Rio.
In its golden jubilee, the first race set off from Table Bay in 1971 and from the start attracted huge international interest and is the longest continent-to-continent yacht race in the southern hemisphere. The race distance varies between 3,400 and 4,500 nautical miles (approximately 6,000 kilometres) due to varying South American destinations, which include Punta del Este in Uruguay and, more recently, Salvador, State of Bahia in Brazil.
“As the City of Cape Town, we acknowledge the contribution of the ocean economy,” said deputy mayor Eddie Andrews. “Ocean activity is a significant contributor to the local and global economy with more than 90% of global trade taking place on sea routes.”
“In Cape Town specifically, the coastline around the metro contributes almost R40 billion to GDP per annum. With marine manufacturing specifically, 70% of South Africa’s products in 2020 were made in the Western Cape.”
Andrews said that there continues to be an incredible demand for Cape-made boats, with Robertson and Caine confirming that they have received enough catamaran orders for every day of 2023.
“We wish the team trained by the Royal Cape Yacht Club Sailing Academy and sponsored by Alexforbes well as they will not only represent South Africa but the hopes of various communities in the Cape who have never dreamt of participating in a competition of such great magnitude,” he added. “Their yacht is called Alexforbes ArchAngel, I encourage all South Africans to share their messages of support and encouragement with the teams. Good luck with the final preparations. May you fair winds and following seas.”