The first Transatlantic yacht race between Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) took place on this day. SAS (South African Ships) Tafelberg served as guardship for the voyage which started from Table Bay in Cape Town. The race was called the Cape to Rio, but was renamed the South Atlantic race as the races destination has changed from time to time to include Punta del Este in Uruguay and Salvador in Brazil.
The race was inspired by South African sailing legend Bruce Dalling(died 2008), winner on handicap of the 1968 Transatlantic Single-Handed Yacht Race sailed between Plymouth, England and Newport, Rhode Island.
While South Africa celebrated Dalling's success, Admiral H.H. Biermann made the first recorded suggestion of South Africa organizing an ocean race, either to Australia or South America, at a function in Cape Town. The Springbok Ocean Racing Trust changed its name to the South African Ocean Racing Trust and immediately sprang into action. In co-operation with Clube de Rio de Janeiro, the race was organised in conjunction with the Cruising Association of South Africa (CASA) for 1971, at a date which would allow the finish to coincide with Carnival time.
In the race in 1971 Dalling skippered Jakaranda, which was expected to lead the South African challenge. Unfortunately she sheared a main rudder post early in the race.
The 3 600 nautical mile race has been raced 11 times since 1971.
Prizes are awarded to the first competitor across the line, new records being set, as well as the first three across the line in 3 handicap classes.
• Andre Wessel, (2013), Flag showing cruises by South African Warships, from SA Navy, 25 November [online], Available at navy.mil.za [Accessed: 8 January 2009]
• Morgani, B. (2008), Sailing legend Dalling passes away, from SouthAfrica.info, 9 July [online], Available at www.southafrica.info [Accessed: 7 January 2008]
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