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Cape to St Helena 2018 Day 2

The positive, warm sentiment of competitors and supporters alike out on the water for the start of the Cape to St Helena Race, competing for the Governors Cup, was in stark contrast to the cloudy and sometimes rainy and cool day, which presented a dying westerly breeze and a lumpy ocean. Ironically, when the clouds cleared sporadically and the wind dropped, the sun pumped through a humid and sub tropical mugginess…

As the competitors slowly faded onto the horizon, more than a couple of the yachts out there supporting friends, family, and the spectacle in general, could be seen reluctantly turning back to their home port…with regret at not being able to sail on and be a part of what is certainly a fantastic and well-revived race. There is something intensely emotional about the start day of any ocean race. I always feel mixed emotions, admiring the bravery and spirit of adventure, and the romantic naivety of casting off lines into an uncertain but certainly unique endeavor.

The palpable excitement in the many young faces aboard the yachts JML Rotary Scout and Naledi was positively infectious. Similarly disarming was the indelible and somewhat mischievous smile on the dial of multiple Governors Cup race winner, Billy Leisegang, who seized upon the eleventh hour call to join Dave Clemente aboard Avocet.

A number of entries are making it a family affair, and none more so than the aptly named St Helenian entry, Carpe Diem, with Hanna and James Hearne and kids aboard being the only boat making it the cruise home.

Overnight, half the fleet threw the full deck at making miles west, offshore. The other half passed inside of Robben Island, and made some slow miles as the wind died off in the evening.

Today, the fleet have settled into an easing port fetch down the rhumb line – pointing straight at the Island, with the leading group of Banjo, Rocket and Naledi around 1500 miles from their mid Atlantic destination after 24 hours of sailing.

Asanté’s tracker seems to have given up, and Avanti returned to port last night with autohelm issues, but skipper Klaus Wieswedel said he hoped it could be fixed today so he could rejoin the race. At time of writing, Hirondelle had diverted course and are close to entering the Port of Saldanha. Solo skipper Dale Kushner aboard Yolo succinctly summed up his first day out there as “wet and bumpy”.

The bulk of the Fleet are moving along nicely and relatively close to one another, and I’m sure the big cruising boats are looking forward to the wind moving further south and the sea-state improving so that they can concentrate on perfecting their braaing (barbecue) skills and enjoying the magnificent sunsets…

Cape to St Helena 2018 is a sister race to the #Cape2Rio2020, which is supporting the race with a daily race update. Like|Love|Share!

Images from Kim van Zyl and Karen Slater

by -Luke Scott