A fleet of 11 yachts left Cape Town yesterday for the first start of the of SAP Cape to Rio race

The fleet of 11 yachts, which left Cape Town yesterday during the first start of the SAP Cape to Rio yacht race, made good progress overnight. British entry Safari CTW, skippered by David Tideswell, covered the longest distance of 130 kilometres.

Robin Green on the small Miura Julie III averaged 5.13 knots to sail 123 kilometres. The Brazilian entry Acalantis became the first victim of the race when they had to pull into Velddrift along the West Coast after crew member Rodolfo Carrera sustained serious injuries to his hand.

Three fingers were cut to the bone and he was admitted to Vredenburg Hospital where he had to receive several stitches and painkillers. A very disappointed Carrera was driven back to Cape Town and was due to leave for Milan on Sunday night. Acalantis will continue her journey to Rio.

Suidoos 2 and Cumin Thru both failed to report in on Sunday morning and may run the risk of a time penalty. Suidoos 2, the smallest boat in the fleet, showed her mettle by taking an early lead after the start in a strong Southeaster. 77-year old Gawie Fagan is considered a strong contender for handicap honour in the monohull class.

In the meantime, the crew of another line honours contender in the monohull class Morning Glory is racing against the clock. The freighting agents today announced a delay in the arrival of the container ship carrying the yacht. She is now expected to arrive in Cape Town on Monday and will be launched on Tuesday – five days before the second start of the race on Saturday, 11 January 2003.