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Clipper Ventures

2014 Cape to Rio Race - Day 5

by Louay Habib 9 Jan 2014 15:12 GMT 9 January 2014

Xtra-link, Sat.com partner for the Cape to Rio Race, mourns the death of Bille crew member António João Bartolomeu. The incident occurred during the ferocious storm that hit the fleet with 50 knot winds on the first night.

All of the yachts that sent out distress signals have now been accounted for, 10 yachts have returned to port with the remaining 25 yachts racing towards Rio de Janeiro. During the difficult time, that has now thankfully passed, the Royal Cape Yacht Club and the South African rescue services showed incredibly tenacity in assisting every yacht in need and should be congratulated on their efforts. During the emergency, Xtra-Link worked around the clock to ensure that the tracking devices on board all yachts were functioning to their optimum to assist with the rescue operation.

For those yachts still racing, the cold front virtually disintegrated the usual area of Doldrums associated with the South Atlantic High and the fleet is making great speed towards Rio de Janeiro. Giovanni Soldini's turboed Italian Volvo 70, Maserati is making record pace. The current record is held by the American 74' maxi Zephyrus IV - she completed the race in just 12 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes in 2000. Maserati needs to complete the 3,300 mile course by dawn on January 17th and is currently well inside record time.

Whilst Maserati is hot favourite to take line honours and set a new record for the race. The overall leader of the race using the IRC Rating system, is extremely close. After 92 hours of racing, the top three yachts on corrected time are all racing in IRC Two.

Perie Banou Rolly Tasker is currently leading the race overall. Skippered by Australian Jon Sanders who is the only man to have circumnavigated the planet three times without stopping (in 1986-88), having previously done it twice non-stop in 1981-82. He and his boat Perie Banou have done many Sydney-Hobarts but missed the 2013 race to compete in the Cape to Rio Race.

After 4 days of racing, RCYC Commodore, Dale Kushner, racing Yolo two handed, is 175 miles ahead of Perie Banou on the water but after time correction is less than a mile behind the Australian boat. Dale reported in via Xtra-Link satellite link:

"After several days of rough weather, with the boat and the crew soaked through, we seem to be in the trades for now. Sailing along at approx. 9 knots with kite up. Nice to have some sunshine on our backs and after the first few days of turmoil, we can settle down to a decent meal and watch system. All is well on board, it was a real asset to be able to tell family and friends that we were ok over the last few days."

Yolo is a much lighter boat than Perie Banou and that may tell in the overall standings, now that the yachts are in lighter downwind conditions, it is likely that in the next update of the leader board that the race will be led by Yolo.

The Robinson family racing, Investec Ciao Bello are also doing extremely well. There are no less than seven family members on board. Father and Mother, Gillian and Michael, are racing with their five children; Kathryn (28), Ricky (26), Brennan (25), Ryan (16) and Michaela Mae (13). Currently lying third in IRC Two and fourth overall, the Robinson family was runner up in the last Cape to Rio Race.

Q&A with Royal Cape Commodore, Dale Kushner @ 9th January 1400 GMT
(currently leading the race overall under IRC, sailing two-handed.)

How useful was weather info via sat.link to get through the rough weather?

DK: Perfect. it allowed for quick downloads, so less time at computer and tablet, and gave us optimal info quick. Incidentally we have wifi aboard for internet so we are using a tablet a lot for routing.

How useful was sat.link to get news back to shore that all was ok on board?

DK: Very important,. With the big weather system that came through the fleet, it was important to let all home know that we were all fine.. and we kept them abreast and with this event the race was being tracked was really nicely.

Now Yolo is into the Trades what is the sailing like?

DK: In some of the storm conditions we got some very good surf.. now a bit more trade conditions.. at the moment sailing along in 15-17 knots.. kite up. really nice aboard.. but not much surfing.. we are still playing the waves and trying for what we can and manually steering to get the most out of the boat.

Any wild life? Dolphins, whales....

DK: Today mainly bird life.. Saw a Albatross today and we have seen lots of flying fish doing their thing.

What is on your mind tactically at the moment? What lies ahead?

DK: Between us and Rio is the South Atlantic high and whatever else gets thrown at us.. this makes us sail around it.. Interestingly enough the routing programs gave us a routing through it on the South Side.. but we want the conservative approach in case the door shuts halfway through. So we want to sail as close to it on the North

Eastern Side of the High Pressure and then we will see.. Might even try and cut the corner a bit.. to save some distance.

What is your regular food and watch system?

DK: Basically we are running 2 hours on - 2 hours off to get the most out of the boat, helming for longer is not productive, resting for less equally so. Today we ate oats for breakfast, salami and salads for lunch and some sort of pasta dish planned for this evening. We try and drink as much as possible as it is hot out in the South Atlantic. We also snack on nuts and dried fruit.

For more information including tracking of all the competing yachts: www.cape2rio2014.com

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