Shared sailing interest makes mates take on Cape2Rio 2014
(Shared sailing interest drove a group of mates to take on the Colossal Cape to Rio Yacht Race 2014)
Although the amazing achievements of the DSTV Explora Crew at this year’s Colossal Cape to Rio Yacht Race have been well covered, we decided to revisit the story after having attended a private presentation from the full crew on the “beginning-to-end” inside scoop of this extraordinary event. As this race is known to demand a high level of seamanship and designed to encourage relatively small South African sailing vessels to undertake a mammoth transatlantic crossing, who could be better suited than a few good mates to take this opportunity and put a proudly South African team together to finish on the podium?
They sailed an estimated 3,400 nautical miles on the DStv Explora and linked two of the southern hemisphere’s most beautiful sea ports – Cape Town and Rio de Janiero and arrived 3rd only a few days later than they expected to arrive.
First and foremost how amazing is it that the driving force of the not-so-motley crew was two pilots, four engineers, six chief executive officers with an over-abundance of punishing ultra-marathons, mountain bike race challenges, transatlantic yacht crossings, mountain climbing summits, not forgetting friendship under the belt? (Between them they have completed five Comrades, 23 Two Oceans, Seven Port Elizabeth to East London surfski races,10 Cape Point Challenges four Cape Epic mountain bike races, six full Ironman races, 69 Cape Argus Cycle Challenges, six Cape to Rio races, nine Transatlantic crossings, seven Mauritius to Durban races and summited Kilimanjaro three times #puremachine.)
The story behind how the French-built, world-class 60-foot-long, eight-ton pure carbon fibre hull, 4.5 metre deep draft fixed keel yacht was procured, by chance, from a crew on their way to Australia to sell the beauty and just happened to dock in the Cape Town Harbour before continuing is well worth a mention here.
pics courtesy of Camerland Cape Town
Viewed as the longest continent-to-continent yacht race in the southern hemisphere, Cape to Rio is known to attract both professional and non-professional yachtsmen and women. This crew ranged from adrenaline-charged skippers on the one end to leisurely family cruisers on the other. At the end of the day, serious sailing isn’t about champagne and canapés, but hard work and stamina. This is why this incredible group of men were the optimum crew comprising not only of experienced sailors, but also endurance sportsmen who have excelled in endurance events requiring physical and mental toughness.
Craig Sutherland – Captain – Skipper – MD of Sutherland Engineering, a husband and father of three children, who previously sailed for South Africa in 1995 and 2010 in the Ballyhoo 2 Admirals Cup and Windpower Commodores Cup respectively, followed by a number of cross-ocean yacht races, running marathons, mountain bike championships and surf ski racing events.
Mike Clarke – Watch Captain – Heads up business development for Garmin Sub-Saharan Africa, is married and father to five-year-old twin sons. He has undertaken three Transatlantic sailing trips, two being previous Cape to Rio races, alongside a litany of competitive sporting events.
Philip Lambrecht – Watch Captain – Civil engineer by training – sold his start-up Hiline Medical to Thebe Medical in 1995. Married, and father of two daughters, Lambrecht completed the Dias Race in 1989 on the famous Voortrekker yacht before undertaking many mountain bike challenges, marathons and summiting Kilimanjaro in 2000.
Ken Venn – Navigator and Router – CEO of Indaba Mobile, a leader in mobile social apps for feature phones in developing markets; Venn is also a commercial pilot. Completed two Cape to Rio races, 2014 being his third, won a Mauritius Race, as well as done the Whitbread Round The World Race (now Volvo Ocean Race) and the Americas Cup aboard Shosholoza.
Mike Minkley – Crew – Chef – Co-founder and managing partner of The Really Great Brand Company, which exclusively markets and distributes world famous beverage brands such as Moet et Chandon, Hennessy Cognac and Belvedere Vodka. Married, and father of two teenagers, Minkley is a keen runner, paddler and cyclist, as well as carrying interests in fishing, hunting, skiing and collecting wine.
Bruce Neill – Crew – Safety Officer – Co-founder and directors in Exim International, South Africa’s top manufacturer, importer and distributor of a full range of butchery and meat processing requisites, including equipment, casings, spices and herbs, and also owner of Natural Herbs and Spices, a leading range of steam pasteurised herbs and spices manufactured locally. Bruce is a former winner of the famous Port Elizabeth to East London Surf Ski challenge. Like his brother, Bruce has national colours in triathlon and provincial colours in surf skii paddling, undertaking a number of ultra marathon and ironman events, as well as several cycle championships. He is also a kite surfer, snow ski enthusiast and enjoys fishing. He is married and is a father of three children.
Gary Neill – Crew – Bowman – Co-founder and directors in Exim International. Known as the ‘merchant of Maitland’ Gary has provincial and national colours for triathlon championships, competing in several international iron man triathlon championships. Husband and father of three children, with interests in snow skiing, kite boarding, fishing, diving, conservation, food and wine.
For more info go to the Team Explora Facebook page
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