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Cape2Rio Presented by Maserati

Cape2Rio Presented by Maserati

Jan 2017

Pics Kim van Zyl -

The Cape2Rio 2017 yacht race presented by Maserati is a 3500 nautical mile transatlantic race – the longest of its kind. It was first raced in 1971 and has attracted the world’s best sailors over the years. The 2017 edition has attracted entries from over 10 countries, once again ensuring that it is a truly global event. They come from as far afield as Germany, the USA, the UK, Australia, Angola, South Africa and more.

Since the first event in 1971, the Cape2Rio yacht race, presented by Maserati, has become one of the most celebrated yacht races on the calendar.

Although not held annually, the race always manages to attract a stellar lineup of the world's finest sailors. The 12th edition of the Cape2Rio - with 2017 being the event’s 48th year - officially set sail on 26 December, with the larger racing fleet departing on New Year’s Day, 2017. The first yachts are expected in Rio around 10 January.

The Race

Cape2Rio is the longest continent-to-continent yacht race in the southern hemisphere, spanning 3500 nautical miles. When departing Cape Town, sailors head NW towards Ilha Trindade island in the southern Atlantic Ocean and then on to South America. The race demands immense tactical skill when it comes to seamanship and weather savviness.

Over the years, the Cape2Rio has also finished in Uruguay (1979, 1982 and 1985) and Salvador (2006 and 2009), the picturesque capital of Brazil's Bahia state, but since 2011 the race has returned to its Rio-finish routes.

The Cape2Rio is owned by the Royal Cape Yacht Club.

The Rules

No solo sailing is allowed; all entries need to include a minimum of two crewmembers with each crew including at least two Yachtmaster Ocean or Offshore skippers. 

In order to qualify for entry, boats need to be at least 9.35m long. No motorised boats are allowed, as this is officially a sailing race. Slower boats depart a few days earlier to allow for fair timing to the cut off.

The organisers stipulate that no sailor can state they have sailed across the Atlantic if they have only used a motor in their crossing or for part of their crossing. Boats that get damaged during the race are able to dock at the nearest port for repairs provided the crew advises race control, documents their position, suspends racing and follows all instructions. No extra supplies are allowed on board. Once repairs are done, crew need to return to their previous position to continue racing.

A Brief History

The Cape2Rio originally grew out of Bruce Dalling’s success with Voortrekker in the 1968 Single-handed TransAtlantic Race where he finished second (and first on handicap). When Voortrekker was given to the South African Navy by her owners, the Springbok Ocean Racing Trust, it was suggested that the time was right for the country’s own ocean race, and so the Cape2Rio was born.

Voortrekker sailed again in 1976, this time skippered by Bertie Reed, a man who would go on to become a legend in SA sailing. In 2009 Voortrekker was once more on the water for the iconic race, this time sailed by a team trained at the Izivunguvungu School in Simon’s Town for disadvantaged youngsters, and skippered by Kader Williams.

It was an eventful crossing for the storied yacht; the crew told of strange events that had alerted them to hazards on the water. They were convinced that the spirit of Bertie Reed, who had sailed the yacht so often, was watching over them.

Other tales of daring include 72-year-old Kees Bruynzeel taking line and handicap honours in the 1973 event a year after suffering a heart attack, and then 80-year-old Cape Town architect Gawie Fagan leading on handicap for much of the 2006 race. Fagan’s 9-metre Suidoos 2 was eventually caught, but he still managed a third-place on handicap.

Interesting Facts 

The number of entries from sailing teams around the world has differed for each race, with 1976 seeing the highest number of entries - 129 - to date. The official record for the Cape2Rio race is held by the Italian Open 70 Maserati skippered by Giovanni Soldini. Maserati finished the 2014 race in a time of 10 days, 11 hours and 29 minutes. 

Entries for the 2017 Cape2Rio yacht race presented by Maserati represent numerous countries, with South Africa, Angola, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, India, UK and USA providing entrants. 

Follow the Event

Each boat is fitted with a tracker provided by Xtra-link for regular updates. Find the links on; or

For more information visit:

Social Media

Facebook: Cape2Rio Yacht Race
Twitter: @Cape2Rio2017
Instagram: Cape2Rio



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