Heineken 2011 Cape to Rio shows Prodigy, skippered by Durban’s Chris Frost, has taken an early stranglehold in the yacht race by staying in the lead for line honours and also moving into first place on handicap.
The 54ft hi-tech yacht is equipped with a canting keel that enables the boat to swing from side to side in pendulum style so that it remains upright in a breeze, which gives it a considerable advantage over the rest of the 16 yachts in the 3,320 nautical mile (nm) race to Brazil. After yesterday afternoon’s update from race headquarters at the Royal Cape Yacht Club, Prodigy was heading due west at an average speed of 10,58 knots and had completed 723nm, followed by City of Cape Town, a 42ft Lavranos skippered by Gerrie Heggie (691nm), the 63ft maxi Grand Filou II (602nm) and the 42ft Xtra-Link (549nm).
Heggie put in the most impressive 24-hour run, clocking up 261,5nm, about eight miles more than what Prodigy achieved over the same period. Given their respective boat sizes and a demanding IRC rating, City of Cape Town will be well chuffed with their performance so far.
Before the race got underway, Michael Robb, first mate and trimmer on board City of Cape Town, was quietly optimistic about their chances, but he added that Prodigy could also upset the apple cart by winning the race overall as well.
Xtra-Link, skippered by Dale Kushner, is in second place behind Prodigy on handicap, City of Cape Town third, Cape Storm, fourth, Yachtport SA fifth and Grand Filou II sixth.
Development Theo Yon, who is crewing on board Grand Filou II, is loving every moment being out on a maxi in the South Atlantic: 'Yesterday we had very light conditions but that’s good for our boat,' he said. 'The last few days we have had a lot of breakages and we damaged a spinnaker, but that’s been repaired and it’s up and going again.
'I am having a fantastic time on board and the food is great. Some flying fish around, but we caught nothing.' http://capetorio.heineken.com/