Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Black Cat" in Cape to Rio 2017

I was to be co-skipper of "Black Cat" for this race, the 2017 iteration of the wonderful Cape to Rio Race, linking two beautiful cities that are separated by the South Atlantic Ocean. "Black Cat" is the Didi 38 that I built in my garden for the 1996 race. That plan to co-skipper her, partnered by Dave "Wavy" Immelman, came off track when I wrenched my already-damaged left knee while racing my Paper Jet skiff in Maryland a couple of months ago. When I got off my boat I could hardly stand and subsequent visits to doctors, followed by X-Rays, MRI etc. came up with sheer tears in both menisci of the knee. Able to only hobble around, surgery was scheduled and I felt that I would be a liability and danger to boat, crew and myself for the race. Sadly, I had to withdraw from the crew and will miss this race that I so enjoy.

I will still be involved though. "Black Cat" has satellite telephones aboard and they will be used to send me daily reports from the boat, with news about life aboard, how the race is going and anything else that is happening. They will also send me photos and possibly video footage as well. I will use that as material for posts on this blog.
"Black Cat" crossing the finish line of the 2014 Governor's Cup ocean race from South Africa to St Helena Island. Skipper Dave "Wavy" Immelman standing at the helm.
The race starts on Sunday 1st January at 14h00 local time, 12h00 GMT. The slower boats have already started their race, on Boxing Day (26th December). These are IRC Division 3 monohulls and Division 2 multihulls. Progress of the race can be followed via live tracking on XTra-Trak. This link works in Internet Explorer but doesn't seem to work properly in Google Chrome.

This is supposed to be a downwind race, with spinnakers hoisted in Table Bay and dropped off Guanabara Bay a few weeks later. I have raced in it four times and each time was very different from the others. Downwind conditions are not guaranteed. Storms along the way are almost a certainty, as evidenced by our capsize in the 2014 event. Hard racing, lots of fun and wonderful experiences that stay for a lifetime are a feature of this race, making close friendships that last for a lifetime. Close quarter living in such a small space brings out the best in people but it can also bring out the worst, so at the finish there will be a few people who will step off their boats and never want to see others in that crew again.
The launch of "Black Cat" 20 years ago.
I wish skipper Dave Immelman and his crew all the best for the race. I wish them great sailing, great results and, most of all, great friendships.

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