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Single handed sailor wins 50th Anniversary of the Cape2Rio Race

by Christa Badenhorst 4 Feb 2023 05:00 PST 2 January 2023

The 50th anniversary of the Cape2Rio race concluded with some incredible victories and sadly three retirements. There was a party atmosphere in Rio de Janeiro as the winners were announced at a colourful prize-giving on Thursday evening.

Single-handed sailor Adrian Kuttel won the overall race on handicap with a corrected time of 21 days 18hrs 59min and 37sec to cover the 3300 nautical miles. Ray Of Light finished second on handicap in a time of 24days 3hrs 20min 37sec, with Alexforbes ArchAngel in third, with a corrected time of 24 days 5hrs 51min 59sec.

Kuttel can justifiably be proud of his incredible achievement: "It is a great honour to win the South Atlantic trophy. There are great names on that trophy and I am really quite overwhelmed by the win. It was certainly one of the biggest challenges I have ever undertaken. I was absolutely overwhelmed by all the support I got from the Club and all the Club members, friends and family. It encouraged and invigorated me and kept me charging. I am very humbled by it all and I still can't believe I won the South Atlantic trophy."

Line honours in the multihull category went to Norhi, skippered by Larry Folsom, which finished in 18 days 20hrs 42min and 37sec. The monohull category was a hotly contested affair with line honours going to Michael Kavenagh's Ray Of Light, which just managed to pip Adrian Kuttel's Atalanta by 61 minutes, finishing in 21days 14hrs 11min and 47sec. It was a magnificent performance from Kuttel, who not only was the only single-handed sailor in the race, but also led the monohull fleet for most of the race despite rupturing his bicep on day two.

Crewed by RCYC Sailing Academy students, Alexforbes ArchAngel sailed a magnificent race and Team manager Jennifer Burger was delighted with what the team had achieved.

"After four years on the bucket list and an intense nine months of getting Alexforbes ArchAngel ready for Cape2Rio 2023, skipper Sibusiso Sizatu and crew arrived in Rio De Janeiro! Not only did they complete the journey, they landed a podium finish of third. It is a huge accomplishment for the youngest team in the fleet who had to overcome a lack of battery power which in turn did not allow for them to get any weather updates in the last week.

22-year old Azile Arosi, the only lady on the Alexforbes ArchAngel team, described the race as being both challenging and exhilarating. "The first two weeks were perfect, and everything was going well, then by the beginning of the third week we were all getting tired, and things started to go wrong. Sails breaking, the boat leaking, the battery went flat, and we couldn't charge anything. But the day we saw land we started to get excited all over again. Coming third was a huge success for us because we were aiming to just finish the race, because it was our first time, so we didn't really think that we would get a podium position."

Sadly, three boats were forced to retire from the race. DHL Me2Me skippered by Richard Sissons suffered damage to the upper and lower rudder bearings on day three and were forced to retire and head for the closest port being St Helena. The Indian Navy entrant, Tarini skippered by Atool Sinha, managed to avert a major steering gear failure early on in the race, but damage to their rigging saw them also diverting to St Helena and retirement.

For Ard Mathews The Impossible Machine became the impossible dream as the boat experienced rigging issues. With repairs not possible the team sensibly headed for St Helena, thus becoming the third boat to retire from the race. Once repairs were done they decided to continue the journey and are heading for Brazil in high spirits.

The 2023 running of the iconic Cape2Rio yacht race marked the 50th anniversary of the race first won by Ocean Spirit. The official prize-giving took place at Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro on 2 February 2023.

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