Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cape to Rio Race 2014

I have done it 3 times before and I am soon going to do it again. Sail in the Cape to Rio Race, that is. I have crossed the South Atlantic 4 times, so this will be my 5th crossing.

In 1993 I raced on the Shearwater 39 "Ukelele Lady" (yes, I know that ukulele is spelt incorrectly but the guy who carved the name board was a bad speller) as sailing master and navigator. The boat was owned by my friend Nick Taylor, entertainer and TV personality.

In 1996 I sailed on the Didi 38 "Black Cat", as skipper and co-owner. Between the 1993 and 1996 races I had designed and built the new boat for the race. After Rio, we cruised her to the beautiful Bay of Islands SW of Rio before I raced her back to Cape Town, double-handed with Jay Barnes, in the South Atlantic Challenge.

Built in my garden in Hout Bay, here we are turning the hull.
 In 2000 I sailed on "Black Cat" again, as skipper. By then my co-owner, Adrian Pearson, had bought my share and was sole owner. Clive Dick and Adrian sailed her back to Cape Town.

Now "Black Cat" is 18 years old and has many thousands of ocean and coastal miles under her keel. We are about to head out onto the South Atlantic Ocean again, in the 2014 Cape to Rio Race. We have assembled the same crew as in 1996 with the exception of the navigator. My good friend Brian Cole was navigator in 1996 but is now getting on in years, so we have a younger man in his place.
Launch day in 1995.
  I am skipper and you all know me. No more info needed.

Adrian Pearson is owner and has sailed about as many miles  on "Black Cat" as I have. He does not skipper, preferring to be one of the crew.

Sean Collins sailed many miles with me on my CW975 "Concept Won", racing in Cape of Good Hope waters. He was with me for many double-handed events as well.

Gavin Muller was the "baby" of our 1996 crew, having graduated from high school the month before the start of the race. Now, 18 years later, his age has doubled but he will still be the youngest on the 2014 crew.

Dave Immelman is the new member, sailing as navigator. Dave has done extensive international offshore and ocean racing and is in charge of the major refit of "Black Cat", which is currently in progress.
Flying out of Table Bay after the start of the 1996 race.
 "Black Cat" has gone through big changes since I last saw her. She has been prettied up on the inside with hardwood trims and teak/holly cabin soles. Some comfort items added, like hot and cold pressure water system, separate fridge and freezer and inside shower. She also has a lot more in electronics, like radar, chart plotter and sailing computer, with instrument repeaters and dual compasses in the cockpit. Rig and deck hardware are also seeing upgrades to carry the increased shock loadings of a new suit of tougher hi-tech sails. I am looking forward to sailing on her with all the new toys and go-fast goodies.

She will go back into the water when this work has been completed, then Dave Immelman will do extensive sea trials to test her thoroughly before I arrive in December to give her my own check-over.
Relaxing in the Bay of Islands, Brazil.
For anyone interested, you will be able to track our progress on the Cape to Rio Race website and we will have a blog for "Black Cat" to pass on stories from onboard.

And, if anyone has an interest in sponsoring "Black Cat" in this event, please contact me to discuss what we can do for each other.

To view my boat designs, please go to http://dixdesign.com