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Clipper Race returns to Cape Town

The Clipper Race returns to Cape Town this November

Having left Portsmouth, UK on 3 September, the fleet of eleven racing yachts had already completed over 1,200 nautical miles, which took them to Puerto Sherry in Spain, a first in the history of the race.

The fleet is now berthed in a much-loved Clipper Race Host Port, Punta del Este, Uruguay, which took the teams between 27 and 29 days to sail into, and clocking up an impressive 5,300nm along the way.

On departure from Uruguay, as the fleet heads towards Cape Town, it will take on the epic journey through the South Atlantic and will take around 17 days clocking up 3,555nm for Race Crew.

On arrival into Cape Town, the fleet will be berthed at the popular V&A Waterfront Marina, with the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain.

David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, “We look forward to welcoming the Clipper Race community of Race Crew, family, and friends back to the city of Cape Town and the V&A Waterfront. Both the port of Cape Town, and the Waterfront have a rich history of hosting ocean racing passing through the Southern Oceans, which are considered a core challenge to any sailing competition. In Cape Town, Clipper Race Crew will be welcomed to world class infrastructure, from repair facilities to hospitality and many other critical services and logistics to support their event. Ours is a location like no other, attracting global attention to our beautiful city and creating opportunities for tourism. We are ready for you.”

As the only event of its kind, the Clipper Race trains people from all walks of life to become ocean racers, with many having no previous sailing experience before signing up. The 2023-24 edition sees 23 South African nationals participate in the race.

One of which is Retief Jordaan, a construction manager who is completing the full circumnavigation.

Seven members of crew will have the privilege of sailing into their home country, and six will be leaving on Leg 3 heading to Freemantle in Australia, which will see them sail 4,750nm and taking around 25 days to complete.

Deputy Race Director, Dayle Smyth, a fellow Capetonian says: “Heading home for me is always incredibly special, as there really is no city in the world quite so beautiful and welcoming.

“For our fleet, sailing into Table Bay is one of the most iconic landfalls across sailing history. As the backdrop of Table Mountain unfolds with its perfect tablecloth warning of a strong South Easterly in the bay and the incredible marine life becoming denser with each mile, it’s an arrival by sea they will never forget.

For me personally, returning to Cape Town is always amazing, being welcomed back to family and a tightly knit sailing community that has encouraged me to develop my sailing and sailing career since I was a child. I look forward to sharing my city with all of our Race Crew.”

In addition to the abundance of South African crew taking part, the Clipper Race proudly has two South African skippers, Greg Hunt, and Ryan Gibson, also a fellow Capetonian.

South African born Clipper Race Skippers Ryan Gibson (left) and Greg Hunt (right) - photo © Clipper Race
South African born Clipper Race Skippers Ryan Gibson (left) and Greg Hunt (right) – photo © Clipper Race

Greg has participated in many offshore races and crossed the Atlantic a total of 23 times on boats ranging from 40 to 130 feet in length, five times as skipper. Having the ability to remain calm and manage the most precarious scenarios with confidence will be an advantage for Greg when skippering his team around the globe. Being selected as a Clipper Race Skipper is one of Greg’s greatest achievements. Greg is the skipper of Qingdao, the longest standing team partner in the Clipper Race history.

Ryan, no stranger to extreme conditions; has sailed to remote ports in Svalbard in the Arctic and Alaska and has crossed the Atlantic five times. Ryan’s racing background and competitive streak will put him in good stead for the Clipper Race, but his main focus is on safely, and leading an amateur crew around the world passing on his knowledge and skills to other people, this makes Ryan the perfect Skipper for Dare To Lead, who’s ethos is to sail under the flag of personal development and team work, and it is hoped that the crew from diverse backgrounds, will apply the life skills learnt during this ocean challenge to become catalysts for positive change in their personal lives, professional careers, and social communities.

The fleet is expected to arrive into Cape Town from 8 November 2023. Whilst the fleet are berthed at the V&A Waterfront Marina, there will be the opportunity for the public to tour one of the yachts. This will be taking place on Sunday 12 November 2023 from 0900 – 1900 and is free of charge. This is a great opportunity for members of the public to experience life onboard above and below deck.

by Clipper Round the World Race

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