Long-term weather projections suggest they should encounter excellent conditions on their way.
Eight of the lower handicapped boats left together on Monday with the remaining 20 racing yachts preparing to leave on Sunday, January 1. The field includes boats from 10 different countries.
Earlier in the day there had been a buzz at the Royal Cape Yacht Club as the crews scrambled to get last-minute arrangements sorted out.
Grant Chapman, co-skipper of the South African Scout Association’s 11,53m JML Rotary Scout said “the conditions are looking a lot better … it might get a bit bumpy at night but it’s looking good”.
The crew are drawn from Scout troops around the country and include three 18-year-olds.
“We have one of the slower boats but there is a handicap system and we are going to be racing,” said Chapman.
“We’ll be enjoying ourselves, but we’ll be going as fast as we can.”
Switzerland’s Jimmy Eugster, skipper of Sea Oyster, a 11,45m catamaran, said they would be spending some time along the route fishing and hoped to finish within 24 days. The fastest boats will be hoping to complete the crossing in little more than 10 days, depending on the weather.
“The conditions look really favourable for the next five days and should be good from there,” said Eugster shortly before setting sail. “We (the crew of four) are good friends and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Pieter Kroon, owner and skipper of the 11,14m Bolero was setting off on his first Cape2Rio and was also keen to get going: “It’s been a bucket list item for me … we are in the ‘cruising class’ and are not that competitive, but we are going to enjoy ourselves.”
Race Chairman Ray Matthews was upbeat about this edition of the famous race: “It has an extremely high class field, with the largest yacht at 80 foot (24,38 metres) and some proven race boats around the 50 foot size. These vessels have come from Peru, Russia, Argentina, Brazil, UK, Angola, India and Germany and we expect some exciting results.”
Like everybody involved in the event he has been keeping a close eye on weather predictions: “There seem to be no unusual weather patterns over the period of the race,” Matthews said. “So it will be interesting to watch the routes of the yachts as they chase the wind.”
The other boats that left Monday were Avanti, Compromise, Leia B, Pinto Russell Marie Galante and Sophie B.
Race organiser Simon Borchert said it was “thrilling to see the first guys head out of the bay on a perfect Cape Town day”.
He said the Cape2Rio presented by Maserati was “a great way of showcasing our city to the world and to generate interest in sailing – this must be one of the most scenic settings in the world for a yacht race”.
Meanwhile, Brad Graaff, Operations Manager for European Automotive Imports – South Africa (EIA-SA), the importer of Maserati to South Africa, said: “Maserati South Africa is proud to be the presenting partner to Cape Town’s premier sailing race, Cape2Rio. Just as our symbol, the Trident, is a symbol of elegance, strength and performance, so too is the Cape2Rio. We wish the contestants everything of the best.”