By Herman R Gibbs
Gerry Hegie, skipper of the winning boat on handicap in the 2011 Cape to Rio yacht race, says preparations for the 2014 event have started in earnest now.
Heige was addressing the audience at the Royal Cape Yacht Club in the Cape Town Harbour on Thursday evening when the Cape to Rio Yacht Race 2014 was officially launched.
Hegie said entrants for the race have started selecting and assembling crews, as well as working out race strategies.
“Its about a year away but decisions must be made about the yacht that will be used, as well as the size of the crew,” said Heige, who showed off the prestigious South Atlantic Trophy, which was presented to Heige and his six-man crew in Rio de Janeiro in February 2011. Heige’s winning boat, named ‘City of Cape Town’, was sponsored by the City of Cape Town to the tune of R500 000, and completed the race in record-breaking time.
Vitor Medina, chairman of Cape to Rio organising committee, announced that 4 January 2014 will be the start date for the iconic race in Cape Town’s Table Bay.
Medina, a veteran of two Cape to Rio races, said one of the biggest challenges facing his committee was providing opportunities to return the yachts to Cape Town and elsewhere after the race.
“We’ll be in contact with shipping companies and transport companies in effort to offer solutions but entrants do have a huge problem bringing their vessels back,” said Medina. He is working closely with Worldsport (Pty) Ltd, the event promoters for the fifth time. “We are extremely excited about the next version of the race and our partnership with Worldsport, especially because we have revisited the vision of the race and we are bringing it back to the core of where this race began,” said Medina.
The race is the longest continent-to-continent yacht race in the Southern Hemisphere and was inspired by South African sailing legend Bruce Dalling, the winner on handicap of the 1968 Transatlantic Single-Handed Yacht race.
The City of Cape Town has been a keen supporter of the race in the past and been instrumental in helping to find sailing slots for the development crew.
Medina said the Royal Cape Yacht Club has an academy where opportunities are presented for development crew and efforts will be made for them to participate in the 2014 race.
“While the event has an intense competitive element, the Royal Cape Yacht Club also aims to further increase the sport of sailing and further develop youth sailing,” said Medina.
Entrants from Angola, Brazil, South Africa and the Seychelles have already lodged their entry applications for what is one of the most romantic events on the international sailing calendar.