Crossing Rio-Cape Town

We left Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town in South Africa on March 18, 1976. It took us 29 days to sail 3,600 nautical miles (approximately 6,700 km). It was a crossing with no incidents where we found all kinds of weather: from sunny days, with calm sea and pleasant wind, to storms with bad weather, strong winds and heavy seas for several days, once we had a small storm-jib (storm sail) for 4 consecutive days.

The crew was five people: Frank Reynolds, Jerzy Palka, Anthony Simonelli, Eugenio Cony and myself. The 39-foot yacht Undine was built in Cape Town by Frank himself (who was one of the owners) in wood (west-system) and had an excellent performance along the trip. Our best sailing was 180 miles in 24 hours. Extremely strong and lightweight, the yacht has not suffered any equipment breakage throughout the trip.

At that time GPS did not exist yet, so we made astronomical navigation with a sextant using the sun and the moon. Freshwater baths only on rainy days, as our freshwater stock was not very large. When we saw a cloud of rain on the horizon, we prepared ourselves with the "bath kit" (soap, towel, etc.) and waited for the rain, which sometimes passed close and went away without reaching the yacht ...

It was a great experience and the realization of a childhood dream, since I had been sailing since I was 10 years old. I learned a lot and started to respect even more the sea, as I experienced sailing in all kinds of weather and sea, as well as learning how to prepare and supply a yacht for a long trip.

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Navigating with the sextant

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Preparing to hoist the genoa

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Sailing on heavy seas

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Begining to blow hard

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Reefing the main sail (sail area reduction)

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Sailing wiht good weather

Albatross wrapped around the line

Eugênio at the top of the mast

Good weather

Peeling potatoes

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Weather getting worse, sailing only with a jib

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Swimming break in the middle of the ocean

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Little wind, sailing with two spinakers