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Weather Takes Toll on @Cape2Rio2017 Boats

Iconic South African yacht Trekker II, skippered by legendary sailor Bertie Reed at the 1982 Cape2Rio, has been forced to retire from the 2017 Cape2Rio presented by Maserati. Trekker II ran into trouble just two days after the start of the event when she suffered rudder damage. The eight crew on board were rescued quickly and efficiently by nearby ship MV Golafruz, and are now en route to Brazil.

Three boats have retired so far from the 2017 Cape2Rio presented by Maserati yacht race, the latest being iconic South African yacht Trekker II which made its Cape2Rio debut as Voortrekker II in 1982.

Built by the SA Navy, Trekker II has a storied history and was skippered by legendary South African sailor Bertie Reed at the 1982 Cape2Rio.

Cape2Rio is the longest continent-to-continent yacht race in the southern hemisphere, spanning 3500 nautical miles. 

On Tuesday 3 January, just two days after the start of the 2017 Cape2Rio, Trekker II ran into trouble when a rudder was damaged. At first the yacht issued a pan-pan call – a signal that a boat is in a state of urgency but no immediate danger exists – but later upgraded to a mayday.

Two commercial vessels were in the area and responded immediately to the distress signal, with the eight crew members of Trekker II being quickly rescued and transferred onto MV Golafruz.

The rescued Trekker II crew are now safely aboard Golafruz en route to Brazil. A latest update from the master of the Golafruz via the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) says that ‘all eight crew of Trekker II are rested and doing well’.

“We are incredibly grateful for the safe and swift outcome of this mayday call,” says Vitor Medina, the Royal Cape Yacht Club commodore. The Royal Cape Yacht Club is the host of the Cape2Rio event.

“All eight crew of the Trekker II are safe and we thank everyone for the hand they played in the fast and efficient rescue. As it stands, the abandoned yacht is still floating in the vicinity where it was left, and we have alerted other competitors to keep their eyes open.”

The two other yachts to have abandoned the race are catamaran WOW, which decided to retire from the race with two broken daggerboards, and Dark Matter, which suffered a broken boom. Dark Matter is currently waiting on the weather to calm before heading on to Cape Town, while WOW is slowly making its way to Walvis Bay in Namibia. 

“The winds experienced over the last few days have been quite high, though this is not an unusual phenomenon for the start of the race,” says Cape2Rio event director Simon Borchert. “The boats will soon be into the trade winds and from there we expect, if not plain sailing, certainly less dramatic sailing.”


It’s very easy to follow your favourite team in the Cape2Rio Yacht race.

Each boat is fitted with a tracker provided by Xtra-link for regular updates. Find the links on; or

Header image credit: Trevor Wilkins Photography + Ashleigh

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