Photo Credit: By Daniela Savoia
On January 5, UCT’s Yacht Club took to the Atlantic sea and headed for Rio de Janeiro for the Cape 2 Rio 2017 Yacht Race. Mikhayla Bader was the driving force behind the trip, organising everything from fundraising to preparing the boat. The other UCT students in the crew were: Matthew Whitehead (skipper), Alex Lehtinen (navigator), Murray Willcocks, Peter Marsh and Tim Marsh.
At only 35ft, their boat, Scatterling, was the smallest in the competition but this only motivated the team to push themselves even harder. After the first four days up the African coast, they had managed to keep up with the fastest boats, travelling at an average of 11.2knts and leaving the smaller boats far in the distance.
The rest of the trip went off as smoothly as expected, with only a few small hitches along the way – the loss of satellite communications, the loss of all of their cutlery overboard besides two spoons, and a few intensely salty meals as the crew tried to figure out how much salt water was okay to use in their cooking.
On day 18, the team cruised across the finish line in Rio at 8am to celebratory beers and champagne with their breakfast. While watching soccer on the beaches on Copacabana, the crew was offered an array of cashews, peanuts and other illicit substances by an enterprising local. Upon purchasing some peanuts, the salesman proceeded to pour them to the ground with a not-so-cheerful, “Welcome to Rio, [insert your own colourful words here].”
The crew was very successful at the prize giving, taking home Best Youth Team, First Overall and Line Honours in Division 2. After exploring more of Rio and replenishing their supplies, the team set sail to return home, stopping off at the surrounding tropical islands for a few days.
There was a rather problematic incident when Scatterling’s starter motor broke and the crew was told there was no way it could be fixed. After figuring out how to solder it together with a pocket lighter and small screwdriver, the team managed to make their way to Tristan da Cunha and was happily welcomed to the shores with a gift of 1.5kg of crayfish. The crew enjoyed their time on the magnificent island and had a delicious crayfish dinner while watching the sun set as their final goodbye before reaching the shores of Cape Town.