Nexus and the Honeycomb Conjecture

Nexus and the Honeycomb Conjecture

Nexus and the Honeycomb Conjecture

Nexus and the Honeycomb Conjecture – by Lindani Mchunu

The Bees use the shape of a hexagon to build their honeycombs, they somehow knew before we did that this is the most efficient shape. This shape produces the least amount of waste in terms of area covered and wax is a valuable commodity to the bee. Whether it’s the bees that figured out this incredible phenomenon or it’s one of nature’s principles in dealing with shapes, energy and waste in mechanical construction, what cannot be argued is the efficiency of the Hexagon shape. 

Why am I talking about all of this? Because it’s how I see our community here at the club. The academy presents an incredible opportunity for the members of this club to deposit something to our honeycomb. By way of example, a member of the club overheard me in conversation talking about skills development for our academy sailors. The member has subsequently made contact with me and we will be working on value-added service, which will benefit Gr 10 – Gr 12 learners to prepare them for their school exams. Every time a member approaches me and wants to get involved in the academy in one way or another it brings hope. It brings hope because, at times, I am jaded about the lack of integration between our academy members and club members.

At times I hear comments like, the academy is for black kids, no matter how many times I have addressed this false notion. I am jaded because at times I hear comments like, we have to have the academy. After all, we have to, its government policy. I’ll say it again without fear or favour. Before I came to this club, I was convinced that the majority of white people in South Africa of a certain age are intrinsically racist, because of our past. It did not shock me to encounter racism from a white person above the age of 50. I just said to myself, well they grew up in a different era. Where black people were the help and nothing more.

What has always broken my heart though was when I would encounter a young white girl or boy that was racist and had very archaic views of a black person. Then I arrived at Royal Cape and my eyes were open to the fact that most of my views about white people were skewed and at best, downright false. I have met members of this club who understand the work that has to be done in this country and want to support this initiative of ours. I believe it is incumbent upon me as the manager of the Academy, who just also happens to be black, to keep sounding the clarion call. This academy is doing great work currently, but this academy can achieve the unimaginable if we could find a way to get our members involved in the shaping of the young people that frequent our club every week.

Thank you to all of you, who chat to me from time to time and share ideas about how we can continue to improve our product offering, thank you to all of you who continue to see the relevance of its existence, not because it’s government policy and not because it meets transformation objectives of the club. We are doing it because it is a collective reflection of the ethos of our club. I am not here to take the moral high ground and be a judge and wave a transformation stick around. I am here because I believe in the members of this club and their collective understanding of the social ills that rage on beyond the gates of Transnet. Members, who believe that we should open our doors, and find a way to integrate ourselves into the very fabric of our society. I am here to help, to lend a hand to the project that is the RCYC SAILING ACADEMY. A project that I hope outlives all of us. I hope this academy ultimately becomes a nexus for our members to deposit and withdraw from. I hope instead of becoming a government project that meets our transformation objectives, it becomes the very fabric of who we are.

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Nexus and the Honeycomb Conjecture

The shortest path is a circle

The shortest path is a circle

The shortest path is a circle – by Lindani Mchunu

The universe is clear. The circle is a sanctified shape. The elliptical movement of heavenly bodies, the elliptical shape of things is telling us something indeed. Everything seems to be round. So it seems the course of our lives follows the same procession. My 16 month old daughter has the same posture and mannerisms as my 93 year old grandmother. When we are young, we resemble our old age and when we are old, we are like toddlers.

My daughter is as stubborn as my grandmother, my grandmother is as determined as my daughter. I am however stuck in the middle. I am a man child. Too young to claim the mantle of wisdom and too old to fain ignorance. I went to CPUT Granger bay last week for my annual Orientation Day presentation to the new students. I normally talk about sailing, the yacht club and the yachting industry as a whole. I am always pleased to see the wonder and awe in the student’s eyes, to be introduced to something completely new and the opportunity laid bare before them, to venture into the unknown. What I love about my daughter is that for her, everything is a possibility, in her mind nothing ventured nothing gained is a palpable reality. Everyday she’s pushing her boundaries. I am always chasing after her, to protect her from danger that she is not aware of, as she explores her environment. I envy her. Her curiosity over powers her fears.

My grandmother on the other hand is jaded and disillusioned by life, everything seems the same to her and anytime any of her grandchildren speak of new things her reply is always the same “we will see my child, we will see”. Every time I find myself standing in front of young people, who are about to take on the world. I remember my daughter’s enthusiasm and curiosity, I remember her bravery which is solely based on ignorance and lack of awareness of danger. My daughter has not failed, she has no reason to doubt herself, she has not been heartbroken she has no reason to not trust love. Her disappointments thus far are superficial at best. My daughters circle is still perfect. My grandmother’s circle was an undulating journey of broken links and severed ties. Her circle is held together by resilience and sheer perseverance. My grandmother’s circle is a fragile structure, with chips, cracks and makeshift parts held together by glue. If I could give one thing to all the young kids that sit in front of me, as I give my talks at CPUT, I would give them resilience and perseverance with a splash of curiosity and sense of wonder. If I could tell them one thing to remember for all time, it would be “Burn like the Sun, burn with intensity and purpose, burn until you become a Super Nova and explode across the Universe”.

Our circle will not be a perfect one, but what will hold it together is our sheer resilience and perseverance. What will fill the empty space in between, will be our bravery and curiosity.

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Cape to Rio 2020 Race Diary

Cape to Rio 2020 Race Diary

Cape to Rio 2020 Race Diary




31st January


Unfortunately for the jubilant Saravah team a small boat sneaked in to the finish line at 0400 this morning and knocked us off the second place position that we have enjoyed since we arrived. Ballyhoo Too beat us by an hour and a half on corrected time and was sailed across with just two guys on board. The winner of the race is also a two handed boat so the Saravah team of nine will be the biggest crowd on the podium (third place) with our nine crew. Anyway, at least we are on the podium and for sure we had one of the happiest boats in the race. Thanks again to everyone that participated in the Sweepstakes which was won by Gordon Christie in South Africa and also a big thank you to all those who donated to the Gofundme campaign. This is still open if you can spare a few minutes to do online and make a donation, no matter how small. (

The measure of success for me doing the Cape to Rio is the bottom line of how much money we can raise. It is real easy to do with your credit card so it does not matter where in the world you are. Nqobile has not started at Lawhill Maritime Centre so we have to get the rest of the funds together to keep her going. Your help much appreciated


Day 18 Wednesday 29th January


Well, What a race it was!! After writing yesterday the wind died, contrary to all predictions and our experience which said that we should have the afternoon sea breeze and a fast run to Cabo Frio. Instead the wind died on us and we drifted along all afternoon and evening finally passing the Cape at about 9 pm. Our chances of taking the first place were quickly dying but this did not suppress the happy Brazilians who continued with the singing and joking. The coast between Cabo Frio and Rio is infamous for its light winds and it sure lived up to it as we drifted through the night. At times we did not even have steerage way. We worked out way into the coast but this still did not help and when day light came we were in fog and absolutely no wind. Very sad. However finally a breath of air came through and we moved off slowly and gradually it increased until we were doing about 6 knots in 8 knots of true wind from the South.

We soon had a few boats following us as we got closer to the finish line which we finally crossed 4 minutes before noon local time.What a celebration! Took a while to get to the Yacht Club during which time we were supplied with cold beers and iced Champagne (appropriately sprayed around). We sailed past the Pao de Acucar Mountain with our spinnaker up for a photo opportunity and when we arrived on the dock at the Club there was a big crowd to welcome us. More Champagne being sprayed around and streamers and poppers going off everywhere, all quite emotional.

Anyway we are here safe and sound and I hope you have enjoyed following us on this epic journey. I am so happy to have done it, you can’t believe!

I will be writing a short story on the whole race just for friends, family and Marine Inspirations supporters, so if you want to be included send us an email and we will let you have it.


Day 17 Tuesday 28th January

22deg 40,4’ S 040deg 36,2’ W

When we left CT our plan was to arrive in 17 days but this is not to be so we are now out of eggs. Hopefully we will get breakfast at the Yacht Club tomorrow as well as a nice fresh water shower.

They say that enthusiasm is contagious but this is not our worry as we all have it. Mussulo has now finished so we know that we have to arrive before 04.45 local time to achieve first place so all very exciting. Currently flying along at 10 to 11 knots with blue sea and skies but we all know that the wind will die tonight after we round Cabo Frio. Hopefully this is when the local knowledge on board will help. The race is on,wish us luck.

Beef stroganoff for the last supper tonight. Ha ha!



Winds yesterday were inconstant, alternating between dead calms and +20. Some crew even jumped into the sea for a swim! As soon as the sun set we could see the first loom of the distant oil rigs. This morning we found ourselves surrounded by more than 20 of them and a pool of dolphins welcomed us into Brazil!

It’s our final sprint in the fight for a podium place. Something unimaginable less than 3 weeks ago, when at the eve of the start our boat was still being worked by mechanics and the crew around the clock! 2 days ago our fresh water tanks emptied and we have been showering exclusively with pure ocean water (at least some of the crew…). We still have enough drinking water to reach the finish line (but not enough to bath with).

Blue skies and nice winds. Now tight reaching (always!) with our Bolsonaro (ops!) green spinnaker. We hope to cross the finish line tomorrow morning, and the crew is working very hard to do it in less time than the previous crew did at the last race. Now is a race against the clock.


Day 16 Monday 27th January

21deg 49,4’ S 037deg 27,1’ W

Gradually getting back to normal and it is nice to see some sunshine again. Very exciting times as we think we are neck and neck in first place along with Mussulo. Who ever said this race was boring?

Once again Hans has done a great job on the report and I was wondering what people think. Please send us some feedback and tell us if we are missing anything or what you find most interesting. I think there should be a prize at the end for the boat that made the best reports. I also wonder how many are following daily the reports on the C2R website.

A frustrating afternoon and night with often no wind and flopping sails. Occasional little gusts and then of course the squalls like Hans told about.



Hard day at the office! After being battered by Kurumi’s strong winds for 1 long day, at exactly 10:15 GMT yesterday we crossed a magic portal and went from sustained 30 knots to zero! And we moved like a cork for the next full day. Agonizing! Many times we celebrated reaching incredible 2 knots of boat speed! And many times we were battered again by downpours.

Around 2:30 this morning, just about 1/2 hour after hoisting our big red A2 spinnaker, 25 knots gusts caused our first broach of the race. Spinnaker down in a hurry and it got caught by our bowsprit and under our bow while everything inside ended on the floor. We finally managed to bring it back onboard, and it seems to be undamaged, but we are waiting for the right conditions to try it again. Right now we are tight reaching under our green A3. By the way, everything onboard is reason for fun and jokes, so the colors of our spinnakers made them be named after important political figures of Brazil, and the parties are always fighting and joking and laughing. And anything we look for can be found on the floor, somewhere. But remember: the worst day at sea is better than the best day in the office.

Now we are back sailing to Rio, but the race is still far from over! As always when approaching Rio, the winds Gods can be treacherous. The podium is open to everyone, and everything can happen.


Day 15 Sunday 26th January

21deg 25,6’ S 035deg 53,0’ W

It is hard for me to find something to write about each day after I read Hans’ great reports. He sums it up all very well. When dawn arrived this morning it was still blowing hard, raining and totally miserable. It is stuffy down below and everything is damp. We have a few small leaks and unfortunately one was above the bunk where I was trying to get some rest.

Then, all of a sudden at about 08.00, we came out of a rain squall and the wind died. Now, 6 hrs later there’s still light winds with a confused grey sea making it hard to steer but gradually getting the interior sorted out and back to normal. Fried eggs, ham and potatoes for breakfast. Only have 15 eggs left so we had better get to Rio soon.

Nice to have a bucket bath and shave on the stern this morning and then a free fresh water rinse in the rain.

All is good on board and we survived the bashing without any major problems except a few bumps and bruises.



The last 24 hours we spent playing with Kurumi (small boy in tupi-guarani) and it was a rough time, oh boy it was! Wind was steady at 30 knots and waves at 3-4m. The numbers don’t impress, but the angle of the wind was tight so it was worse than the 40 knots that we dealt with almost 10 days ago. We can better describe the sea state as “very uncomfortable” and life onboard was a little better than “miserable”, as the boat was leaning over too much and moving a lot with fast lurches. Our main sail has only one reef and it was too much, but that’s what we have here, so we had to deal with the weapons we had. Reefed main and genoa 4 made our beast difficult to tame.

It’s incredible to think that the center of the storm passed some 1500 miles south of our position, so it was really a huge storm! We don’t regret having taken a longer way to cross it more to the north. But at 10:30 GMT this morning it suddenly disappeared, leaving us floating in a calm and trying many tacks to get our heading closer to Rio.

Amazing how tactical this race has been! And seems that it will be tight to the very end. We will see some split in the fleet this afternoon, and only time will tell what really was the best choice. And time is running short, as we expect to finish in only 2 days. Let’s wait and see. Nerve wracking!


Day 14 Saturday 25th January

20deg 33,5’ S 032deg 32,0’ W

It is now 2 weeks since the start and we are passed the 3000 mile hurdle.
Very lumpy seas making it hard to type let alone cooking. For the first time today there was no cooked breakfast, just the bread I made yesterday with jam and/or peanut butter plus cereal. Guess it will be wraps with cheese and salami for lunch.

As I type a big wave hit the bow and water gushing over the decks. However we still have sunshine and good vis and flying along. Down below it is all closed up so very warm and there are bodies draped everywhere trying to grab 40 winks.

Last night we saw a light up ahead which we think was Almagores as we had heard them talking on VHF radio earlier to the Brazilian navy. We are happy to be so close to a boat twice our length at this stage of the race.

As you can see from Hans’ excellent report, all is well onboard and spirits are high. We eagerly await the position reports from the other boats to see if our tactics are working.



Yesterday we passed 30 miles south of Trindade Island and were able to see the high peaks, even with the dark clouds that were hanging around. It was the first time for almost all onboard except for our very experienced South African crew member Phil. He has been telling us his long history of ocean crossings and very good stories. Amazing!

We had a guy up the mast trying to repair a spinnaker halyard (and flying the spi at the same time) when we met a huge cloud formation that brought 30 knots of winds. Everything came down fast and without any damage. At the time we believed it was Kurumi, but no, after one hour the skies cleared and winds came back to the normal 20 knots.

The past 24 hours have been more and more uncomfortable with the short seas building and the wind backing into the nose. Now we are tight reaching in +20 knots of wind doing 9-10 knots of boat speed with the washing machine mode ON. More and more waves are reaching the cockpit making it “wet & wild”. But sailors are a very strange lot of people, and we are enjoying it! Incredible! Fun! Wild! Some are already making plans for the next edition!

People say the Cape2Rio is an easy and uninteresting downwind ride. This edition has proved to be as far from that as possible. And the dispute for the podium places is tighter than the leaderboard shows. It’s the adventure of a lifetime!


Day 13 Friday 24th January

21deg 09,2’ S 028deg 46,0’ W

As I write this we can see Islã Trinidade about 25 miles to the North. Gone are the trade wind blue skies and the wind is picking up. Yesterday we logged the second furthest distance for 24hrs and we are happy where we are for now. Yesterday was very fluky winds, up and down and then just as I passed up the evening popcorn a rain squall came through, another one this morning so a good washdown for the decks.

Just after noon today the spinnaker halyard block broke so Guga was up the mast again when another squall came through. Got him down just in time to get the spi down and headsail out. Guess we won’t see the spinnaker for a while now. We are all battened down above and below decks and reckon we will miss most of the bad weather. Really is exciting racing,anything can happen.



Winds have been varying a lot today. Every boat is now positioning himself for the low ahead. Strategies differ, and as a result, boats are spread through a wide area of the ocean.

The low now seems not that strong for the boats who choose to attack it through its northern part (us included). We have been preparing boat and crew for it, and hope that everyone can make it safely to Rio.

The question now is: what will happen next? Big changes in the wind are expected, and they can have a huge impact in the final position. Weather GRIBs are awaited, studied and debated. The finish line is approaching, and the stakes are building high.

Right now we are abeam of Trindade Island, only 30 miles away. Brazil very near!


Day 12 Thursday 23rd January

22deg 15,8’ S 025deg 29,7’ W

It is hard to believe that there is such a big storm coming when you look outside. Beautiful blue sea and skies and we cruise along gracefully on starboard with the spinnaker and the wind just forward of the beam. Really great sailing.

Life on board is very happy, lots of fun and laughter almost all the time,even through the night and often includes a lot of singing, but not very good- haha Hans has written another good report which sums it up all nicely. I am busy prepping and thinking about what food to have when the bad weather arrives tomorrow afternoon. We are poised and ready.



Yesterday we started to see more clouds and more downpours (“pirajás” in Portuguese). Now we alternate light winds (around 10 knots) with sudden gusts of more than 20. But we kept the spinnaker up all the time. Sign of changes to come…

We have dedicated a lot of our time thinking about the weather system that we will face, and the best way to pass it. Need to balance trying to shortcut through the storm, picking a shorter route to the finish line, or sailing around the whole system and avoiding the strongest winds. The boat is well prepared and we have been checking and securing everything, and the storm sails are ready to be set in case of necessity. We believe to be well positioned, but we have been worried about some boats to the south, and hope they will face it well.

To mark the 1000 miles to the finish, we had guava with vanilla custard. Great! But our bacon is gone. Incredible effort has been made by Phil to keep us well fed and comfortable. With great success! We will all finish heavier than we started!


Day 11 Wednesday 22nd January

23deg 35,2’ S 022deg 15,1’ W

The last day has been very consistent with apparent wind on our starboard beam as we work our way a bit further North to avoid the worst of the storm ahead. This low forming off Cabo Frio is very unusual and they already have a name for it so we are hoping it moves South as predicted, the faster the better.

Following up on my comments yesterday, today I saw my first flying fish, we used to see large shoals of them which took to the air when scared off by the boat. I was also thinking about the boat I skippered in ‘73 which was a Nicholson 55 called Dabulamanzi. When we arrived in CT people would come down to stare at such a big yacht, today Saravah is just one foot shorter and no one takes any notice! Not only that we will probably take 3 or 4 days less.

Our Eco Brick system of stuffing all the garbage into our empty 5 liter water bottles works amazingly well and have no smelly garbage bags cluttering up the lazerette as we used to do. The only things that we throw overboard are punctured tin cans food waste and unmarked paper.

All very good on board and everyone still jovial.



With less than one week to the finish, the race is incredibly tight, with 3 boats fighting for the lead mile after mile, and 2 other close by, waiting for a passing opportunity. There is a big weather system between us and the finish line, and this chess table is changing with every new weather update. The position report from the other boats, released for us by the RC only at 16 GMT, is the most awaited time of the day. Temperature is rising, on the thermometer and on the crew. Pressure is building. In 48 hours we will need to decide where to cross the low. Critical decision!

Meanwhile life on board goes on. It’s incredible how easily we adapt to the routine of our shifts. Good food (thanks Phil) and good mood onboard. Weather has been incredibly nice on us for the past 5 days. Spinnaker up all the time, and now a tight reach with the boat heeled over.

This race has been amazing, and looks like it will keep like that until the end!


Day 10 Tuesday 21st January

24deg 59.8’ S 018deg 46.8’ W

I think I am a sailing dinosaur! I did this race 47 years ago in 1973 and now I heard I am the oldest person in this C2R, who would ever imagined that back then? Scary.

Quite a few differences today. Not seeing much sea life since we left SA coast and the tech side of course is hugely different, with amazing weather predictions every minute of the day. No use for my trusty sextant either.

The other big difference is the way we sail. Back then we used spinnaker poles and sailed very square but these days you sail the “angles” and there are no poles. This means you sail much faster keeping the pressure but not necessarily in exactly where you want to go. See Hans’ report today and you will see what I mean. I remember being upright and rolling a lot but now we are constantly heeled one way or the other which makes life in the galley a lot harder as well as sleeping.

Off now for my sea water bucket bath on the stern. Shampoo works well and we can rinse quickly with fresh water so pretty good.
We had an amazing donation yesterday to the Go Fund Me site from someone out of the blue – Thank you Lindsay, it makes what I am doing all that much better. Very generous!


During the dark hours we had light winds and an amazing starry night. Also incredible is the quantity of satellites that we can see near the sunset and sunrise.

Near dawn we sighted a navigation light straight ahead. At 9 GMT something fantastic happened: we passed SY Northern Light only 30m away, 17 days after they departed Cape Town! Such a huge Ocean sometimes becomes a small pond! We greeted each other without the need of a VHF. Their huge and beautiful white starred blue spinnaker was the theme of our pictures today.

Now the wind is picking up and we are charging full speed towards the Brazilian coast. It’s pedal to the metal again!

Those of you who think this is a straight line drag race without any strategy involved, this can’t be further from the truth. There is a huge low forming between us and the finish line. The best point to cross the system must be found keeping a delicate balance between sailing a longer course, avoiding the worst of it and preserving the equipment, or cutting the corner. But what happens after? The wind is supposed to die and change it’s direction completely around the clock. Who will get the new wind first? It’s a chess game out here, and we need to keep the pawns sailing fast. There is still a lot of race before the end!


Day 9 Monday 20th January

26deg 31.0’ S 015deg 33.3’ W

Last night I made feijoada for dinner which is the national dish of Brazil made with black beans. We have a lot of pre made food by Vespa company which was all loaded aboard when the boat left Rio. Must say it is really good and my job is to spice it up a bit although most of the crew done likely spicy food.

Busy making seawater bread for the third time which is very popular. Unfortunately we do not have refrigeration (broken) and we don’t have a water maker which makes life interesting. Tracked down the smell in one locker this morning which was a potato gone bad. Carrot skins have all turned black although insides OK, strange vegetables these days.

This is a great boat and very practical in most ways, especially the galley. She sails well and real easy to handle. However there are only 3 double bunks on board but we bought a couple of pine boards in CT to divide the aft bunks and that worked well. We have three short watches so people just grab a spot in the main saloon or on a spinnaker if the bunks are full. All good sailors and fun company. Lots of raucous laughter but I don’t understand most of it as it is all in Português.


Now we are back to straight line sailing, this time on starboard tack (we spent the first 6 days on port tack). Spinnaker up, 15 knots of wind on a broad reach, relatively smooth seas, blue skies: great sailing conditions! But as we are approaching Rio, temperature is going up, and we start to suffer during the day.

The maintenance list is small today, so we have more time to just enjoy sailing and the company of our friends onboard. Our South African crew member Phil declared the galley his territory and has been treating us like kings of the seas!

The less experienced helmsmen onboard already have accumulated so much time on the helm that now we have a full crew of very capable Able Seamen.

The boat is in great shape, and the crew even better!


Day 8 Sunday 19th January

Noon: 27 17 S. 012 14 W run 211 miles in 24 hrs

Our trusty navigator is doing a great job, not only with his weather predictions but also his daily reports which are better than mine! In view of this we will now publish both of them and my reports will give more personal stuff.

We are now in typical trade wind weather so yesterday I had a big cooking day, 13 hrs non stop in the galley and cooked two separate dinners as some of the others don’t like curry. Also took the opportunity to organize the stowage and found the source of the bad smell – 4 broken eggs!

One of the toilets (we have 2) got blocked again and Guga sent the mucky ball of paper up on deck to show crew the reason. They promptly threw it overboard not realizing that it included the impeller. Alain came to the rescue and made new one out of the lid of the stainless coffee pot.

A very impressive bit of work especially with our limited tools – not even a drill on board but luckily the lid already had a small hole for the handle. We used leftover curry from yesterday to test and all worked well. Back in business!

All is well

The race changed completely, from a drag race at beam reach to a dead downwind sail with plenty of jibes. The seas are now down to 2m and we have blue skies with ocasional cumulus clouds. The sea temperature went up to 28 degrees and outside temperature is also up, so life onboard is hotter.

Today the maintenance list was big: toilets, bilge pumps, spinnaker halyards, mainsail sheet, spinnaker repairs (we are using them all the time) and so on… Without a complete workshop onboard, the sailor has to work with whatever material and tools reach his hands. So today we used Lavoisier rule and a coffee maker lid was transformed into a macerator impeller.

We have just passed the halfway sign, and today we shall be overtaking the last boat of the first start. It hasn’t been easy sailing, as our sails have a very narrow range of angles that demand constant adjustments. Our brave crew has been working around the clock and hasn’t got much sleep. You can notice they are tired, but the flow of histories and jokes is unstoppable. And we are having a great time, despite all the work and discomfort.


Day 7 Saturday 18th January

Noon: 27 15 S. 008 15W run 201 miles in 24 hrs

Another bouncy day. To keep our wind angle we were being forced South so eventually we gybed onto starboard in the evening. The wind was down a bit but still big lumpy seas. Just after midnight Zulu Girl came looming out of the darkness without any lights or AIS. We spoke on VHF and they passed about 100 meters behind us. Apparently they have an alternator problem so limited electricity but we are happy to be in front of them as they have to give us 15 minutes a day on handicap.

I was commenting on the fact that there are so few flying fish when one of the crew said he had thrown one away yesterday. I explained my views on this so this morning they were very happy to present me with another one which had landed on deck so it ended up in the frying pan for breakfast. Only one person was brave enough to try it.

Guga has again had to go up the rig which I don’t envy. It is now one week since we left CT and we have covered 1541 miles since the start.

Since writing yesterday I was thinking overnight about the crowd funding and what I should have done is run a sweepstake for our arrival time with a small entry fee and a prize for the one who gets closest . Any other suggestions? Contact us as suggested yesterday.


Washing machine mode was on for more than 30 hours, as we encountered 4-5 m waves and strong winds, and had to take care of our equipment to avoid breakages. Last night the wind finally subsided and this morning we restarted to press the pedal to the metal with our spinnaker up.

By 1am we crossed Zulu Girl just a few meters away, after almost 7 days sailing neck and neck! Amazing to have such tight competition! The position report from the other boats is the most awaited time of the day!

Now we expect to keep sailing dead downwind for the next few days.


Day 6 Friday 17th January

27deg 38.0’ S 005deg 08.4’ W

After crossing the lighter winds of the high pressure, we were blessed with stronger winds… but they came really stronger… 40 knots all of a sudden! With our spinnaker up, we had help from God when he slacked our halyard as a warning, just in time for us to lower the chute at the last light of the day, avoiding the strong gusts that came right after. Incredible!

The night was dark and shaken with the wind averaging 30 knots and reaching 40 many times. Our skipper helmed the boat for 5 hours through the worst of the night. Now that the day is back, we can see the waves that reach 4 to 5 meters. Washing machine mode on! But we kept pressing the boat in a delicate balance between sailing fast and avoiding damage. Everything and everyone in great shape, despite the incessant movement that toss us from side to side.


Day 5 Thursday 16th January

Noon: 27 42 S. 00 42 W run 196 miles in 24 hrs

As I write this the wind is picking up again after a soft patch for the last 24hrs. Guga spent over an hour up the mast sorting halyard problems, typical of this race. We are expecting much stronger winds tonight and suddenly there is a big long swell from the SW, due no doubt to some big low way down South. We still have sunny warm weather typical of the Trades.

I baked my second lot of bread this morning which is very popular but the oven battles to cope with two loaves so will have to do one big one in future. Also had my second seawater bucket bath on the stern this morning which is very refreshing. Otherwise all on board are happy and healthy.



27deg 42,6’ S 000deg 41,9’ W

Yesterday an important tactical decision was made, and you may already be able to see it on the tracker but it’s result should appear only in 3 or 4 days. We had lighter winds for the past 24hs (as expected) but already found some good wind and are expecting a lot more for tonight. It’s a chess game out here, and we are only allowed to see the position of our competition once a day.

Lots of work onboard, not only sailing the boat as fast as possible, but also doing the maintenance that such a long sailing demands. We have been sailing for 5 days on port tack with the spinnaker up all the time, and have switched kites at least twice daily, sometimes 4 or 5 times!

Everything is working very well onboard, with the boat and the crew. Sailing conditions are really amazing. Blues skies almost all day long, and starry nights for most of the time. Everyone should try this race!


Day 4 Wednesday 15th January

Noon: 27 25 S.  002 58 E

Still on port gybe but the wind is much lighter so our speed is down and we only did 213 miles for the day = 8.9 knots. Nevertheless we are happy with our strategy and the forecast has been on the mark. We are hoping we have more wind than those further South and closer to the high pressure system. By tomorrow we will have crossed the Greenwich Meridian and be in the Western Hemisphere.

Our fridge is still not working so I have my hands full trying to salvage the fresh veg and cold meats, cheese etc. It is now quite hot and getting hotter but we are not bouncing around as much.

All is good on board, my health is great and no other problems.


Day 3 Tuesday 14th January

27 59S 6 55E – Day Run 223 miles

Having problems with comms, so sending via SMS.
All good on board and we are in a good place so everyone is very excited (see tracker on
Garbage is always a problem on board and we have a unique way of taking care of plastic. Everything is cut up and stuffed into our empty 5 litre water jugs. It is amazing how much can be rammed in. We don’t have a watermaker so have 100’s of small water bottles which we are also cutting up. 

We are also involved in a project to create ECO BRICKS (Check it out on  Google) to an NGO in Brazil…although our 5 litre bottles will be too big …………..

Sorry we lost communication at this point….will post again if more comes
through but it sounds as if they are all very well and happy with their progress. The tracker this morning is showing them as doing incredible nautical mileage each day and being right up at the front with the leading mono-hulls. GO SARAVAH

Race Report Day 2 – 13th January.

On roused GMT position 29 16 S. 011 05 E. 245 miles in 24hrs.

Weather — Trade wind weather, wind due South 15 knots and sunny.
Everything is great and a very happy ship, especially when the German boat Haspa Hamburg crossed astern of us yesterday evening. She rates much higher than us and needs to beat us by a day and a half into Rio!
We are keeping pretty much the same apparent wind angle, which means às the wind gradually backs our course curves to port, exactly as predicted and typical for this race. We have been swapping back and forth between two spinnakers as the wind strength varies but boat speed is consistent between 10 and 13 knots. We are heeled to starboard and bouncing around which makes cooking a challenge but this boat has a really great galley that works well.

A lot of banter and laughter on board and my Português is coming back fast.

Cheers .- Phil

Race Report Day 1 – 12th January.

WOW! What a start. Absolutely fantastic weather with 15 knots of wind from the South West and lots of sunshine – could not have been better. We made a nice start on a short leg to the first Mark where we had set up for a gybe set with the spinnaker. unfortunately there was another boat inside of us blocking the way so it took a while but eventually we got a gap and up went the brand new green spinnaker. It was three miles to the next buoy off Milnerton and once around that, well placed, we set course for Rio on a close reach. Slowly the wind backed and by 5pm we were flying the kite again and doing 10 to 12 knots through the night. Really, sailing does not get better than this! I must thank everyone who made this possible for me, in particular my wife Anne (helped by Penny) and also the Race organizers.

You can track us via the Cape2rio website and I will send a daily report. Our navigator also sends a report to race HQ so presumably that will also be published on their website.

All is well on board and we are having a great time. Spread the word to friends and family and get them to visit our Gofundme website — We have some way to go reach our target so we need inspiration.
Cheers .- Phil

Pre Race Report Friday 10th January.

The big day finally is nearly here and the weather man says we should have a good breeze (20 knots from SW) with sunshine, could not be better! The start is at 14.00 hrs and I will be sending reports whenever possible.

The boat arrived from Brazil less than two weeks ago and they had major engine problems. As the mechanic started stripping it down it just got worse and worse until he finally said that we had to replace the whole engine! Luckily there was a very similar refurbished engine available and this was finally up and working just 3 days ago.

There will be 9 of us on board and I am the only non Brazilian. I have elected to do the cooking so have been running around, with a lot of help from Anne and Penny, doing the provisioning and stowing everything aboard. Pretty much done now and looking forward to getting clear of cell phones and internet.

And thanks to Boocks Signs & Graphics  who provided the eye catching Marine Inspirations decal

The Marine Inspirations programme provides young people from around the world – who would otherwise not have the opportunity – with an insight into careers in the super-yachting and maritime industry, developing a range of seamanship skills and industry connections to improve their prospects.
For the past 21 years the Lawhill Maritime Centre has helped students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds embark on successful careers in the maritime industry  by providing them with an industry-focused education while still at school. Lawhill receives no state funding and is reliant on industry and individual support to fund its operations and provide student bursaries.

Cape to Rio 2020 Race Diary

Cape to Rio 2020

Cape to Rio 2020 Fundraiser




MARINE INSPIRATIONS CO- FOUNDER PHIL WADE is sailing on the Cape to Rio Race to raise funds for a Marine education bursary so that a deserving young lady from a very poor background can also go to sea one day.

All funds raised will go only to the bursary and I am paying my own way on the boat.

The reason I am sailing on the C2R is a strong urge to go back to sailing across an ocean on a smaller boat, much like I did so many times back in the good old days! When I first came up with this crazy idea I was going to have my own show and take several Marine Inspirations students on a borrowed boat but I could not find the funding in time so I have now been invited on a Brazilian 54 footer called “Saravah”. As I cannot take any of our students on this adventure I decided to raise funds for a bursary for one deserving youngster to go to Lawhill and eventually to go to sea. Please note that you can donate any amount by using any credit card but you must stipulate the amount in Euros and it will then debit your card in your home currency. 1 Euro is about 16 Rands or about $1,11 US. Thanks in advance!

Meet Nqobile…..

Nqobile is an intelligent and mature young lady of 16 years of age who currently lives in a shack with only her all female family in Cato Manor township, just outside of Durban. This is a very poor area and is fraught with social ills and extremely high unemployment. Her family background is sad, her father is deceased, she has a mother who is undereducated and unemployed.  She has an older unemployed sister who recently had a baby in August, which unfortunately is sickly and has already had to undergo an operation.  In addition in the shack there is a younger sister and an aged grandmother who lives with them.  Their only income is from social welfare grants, which in is this country is dismal.

An NGO, called Ithemba Lethu works in the Cato Manor and offers peer leadership programs at 7 schools in the region, mentoring and promoting outstanding youngsters between the ages of 12 to 16 in order to produce role models and create upliftment.  As part of this program Sail Africa, another NGO, offers sailing as an extra mural activity to one of these schools and their facilitator brings the Grade 8 and 9 learners down to Point Yacht Club each week which is how Nqobile started sailing two years ago.

Nqobile is currently first in her Grade at school and is committed to a career at sea. Sail Africa put her forward for a Bursary at Lawhill Maritime Centre in Simonstown and Marine Inspirations are raising the funds to pay for this. Nqobile is over the moon about the bursary and is excited about going, she really wants to get ahead and is prepared to work hard, so please step up and help her to achieve.

The money raised will go towards a three year bursary and will cover all her costs, school fees, full board and lodging plus travel home from Simonstown to Durban during school holidays. For the first year the amount needed is 86,000 Rand and for the full three years (grades 10, 11 and 12) the total is R283, 000, which at current exchange rates is approximately 18,000 Euros. As I went live with this campaign a shipping company, Unicorn, has joined in this initiative and has put in R100,000 so we are already more than a third of the way towards achieving our goal. As this money went straight to the Bursary fund I have now reduced our target to 12,000 euros.

I fully realise that this is still a large target but with your help I am hoping to achieve this. I thank you all in advance for your generosity to someone who really needs it and who will appreciate it all. All donors will get acknowledged and included on our daily blogs as we sail towards Rio. If anyone wants publicity we are open to proposals to have stickers on the hull to promote your business or whatever.

For more info have a look at the following websites:

Go Fund Me Page

Lawhill Maritime Centre —
Sail Africa —
Themba Lethu —

The Marine Inspirations programme provides young people from around the world – who would otherwise not have the opportunity – with an insight into careers in the super-yachting and maritime industry, developing a range of seamanship skills and industry connections to improve their prospects.
For the past 21 years the Lawhill Maritime Centre has helped students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds embark on successful careers in the maritime industry  by providing them with an industry-focused education while still at school. Lawhill receives no state funding and is reliant on industry and individual support to fund its operations and provide student bursaries.

Nexus and the Honeycomb Conjecture

The Stars of the Show

The Stars of the Show

The Stars of the Show – by Lindani Mchunu

On the 24th of November we had our Annual prize giving. I look forward to this event, because we get to meet the parents and guardians of our students. Normally when kids are involved in a sport, they are supported by their parents. The parents drop them off and pick them up, on big occasions like tournaments or Regattas in our case, the parents are there to cheer them on. I remember my first Mac 24hr event as Academy Manager, the amount of support I saw from parents helping their kid’s setup camps and make food and so forth was commendable indeed. Yet it was also a stark contrast to my academy. I was the only parent for all my kids, I was the only person they had for support. I couldn’t help but wonder, how they felt to see other kids with their parents, knowing very well that their parents, were at home not able to come see them do what they love, or even worse maybe they didn’t have parents, or the parents were drunkards or worse their parents didn’t even support what they were doing.

At our prize giving we awarded certificates of competency, from competent crew to safety courses and day skipper tickets. It was a walk down memory lane for me. I had vivid memories of most of the students that were in attendance, I have seen their confidence grow from strength to strength on and off the water. The most emotional moment was when Yonela’s mother cried as she witnessed her daughter receive her skipper’s ticket. That moment was too real for me. I realised the responsibility we carry on our shoulders. Every day we come to work we carry the hope of mother’s, who believe that this academy will save their children from the perils of poverty and Township Life.

Someone once said to me it’s not personal its business. I couldn’t disagree more strongly, the work I do here is very personal and if it wasn’t I wouldn’t have done it as well as I have. The more time I spend here on this job it becomes even more personal every day. Sometimes I get impatient with people who do not see just how serious this work is, if I tell you that it is a matter of life and death for some of our kids, I am not exaggerating. All I hope for, is this academy continues to thrive long after I am gone and whomever may take the helm from me, realises that it is a very personal undertaking, that must be done with immense passion and compassion but more than anything, the committees and members of this club should know that just keeping the doors of this academy open is a huge feat in and of its self. We are not just teaching people how to sail we are saving lives, if you all knew some of the conditions our young people face in the township, you would realise just how incredible these kids are, to keep coming here even though they face despair every day. I couldn’t have done this job any other way, I thought I would not get emotionally involved because I thought I couldn’t deal with the abyss that is poverty and township life. I couldn’t deal with not being able to save them all, or give opportunity to all of them.

Yet now I realise that was not my job. My job was very simple, keep the doors of the academy open and keep the lights on, those who seek refuge will find it and those who seek opportunity will grab it. Just keep the oil burning.

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Nexus and the Honeycomb Conjecture

Route 94 Highway Freedom

Route 94 Highway Freedom

Route 94 Highway Freedom – by Lindani Mchunu

I still believe that freedom is the bonus you receive for telling the truth” Martin Luther King Jr, Address
The Other America” March 12, 1968

The recent triumph of the Springboks reminded us of the promise of 94’ the year Mandela became the first democratically elected leader of the new South Africa. That year brought a new dispensation, a new promise and overnight we became the Rainbow Nation. To see Siya Kolisi lift the Webb Ellis Cup, was a dream realised in some part for Madiba, the Springboks were a reflection of our diverse nation, and for eighty minutes in Japan, we all were united under one banner in South Africa. We all rallied as one for the boys to bring it home, home to South Africa our Land. Our Land.The boys arrived back home with the trophy indeed and the parades have been testament, to the collective euphoria of the nation. 

What happens now? The springboks have shown us what we can achieve when we are united on an equal footing. Equal footing. Opportunity, which for me is equal footing. Rassie gave equal opportunity to black, white and coloured alike to play at the World Cup. One always has to look back to determine how to move forward.

In the 60’s America was already grappling with some of the issues we would later face in South Africa and at the forefront, spearheading the resolution of those issues, was Dr King. One of the speeches he would give before his untimely death spoke to the heart of some of the problems we face in our country today. Time is truly a Bow and Arrow the archer will determine the outcome. I will touch on a few of those points from his speech and highlight the similarities embedded in modern day South Africa. Of Siya Kolisi. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. I do not see how we will ever solve the turbulent problem of race confronting our nation, until there is an honest confrontation with it and a willing search for the truth and a willingness to admit the truth when we discover it”. Martn said there are two Americas, every city in our country has this kind of dualism, this schizophrenia, split at so many points. One America has beautiful situations, this America, millions of people have the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality, flowing before them. This America has food and the material necessities for their bodies, culture and
education for their minds, freedom and human dignity for their spirits. In this America children grow up in the sunlight of opportunity. Yet there is another America, and this other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the ebullience of hope into the fatigue of despair. In this other America thousands and thousands of people, men in particular walk the streets in search for jobs that do not exist, this America forces people to live in vermin-filled depressing housing conditions where they do not have the privilege of having wall to wall carpet but all too often they end up with wall to wall rats and roaches.

I am not sure how many of you have spent a week in a South African Township. I have had the privilege of spending sometime there, I say privilege because I was not forced to, I was visiting and it gave me unique
perspective. One of the first things I realised was how many people are in the Township during the day, during the week. The township is full of people who do not get up in the morning and go to work. Kids who do not go to school. Alexander Township a stone’s throw away from Sandton, has a rat infestation problem. When you are there during the day, rats the size of cats crawl about everywhere, on the road, they live side by side with the people and everyone has gotten used to them, I am always amazed at what people can get used to overtime if they are continuously exposed to the same conditions every day.

“The first thing I would like to mention is that there must be a recognition on the part of everybody in this nation that America is still a divided country, a racist country. However unpleasant that sounds it is the truth
and we will never solve the problem of racism and division until there is a recognition of the fact that racism still stands at the center of so much of our nation and we must see racism for what it is. It is a myth of an
inferior people, it is the notion that one group has all the knowledge, all the insights, all the purity, all the worth, all the dignity. And another group is worthless, on a lower level of humanity, inferior”. Racism is not based on some empirical generalisation which after some studies would come to the conclusion that these people are behind because of environmental conditions. Racism is based on ontological affirmation. It is a notion that the very being of a people is inferior, the problem is the ultimate logic of racism is genocide, as we saw in Nazi Germany. We have to get rid of two or three myths in America. The most prominent of these myths is the myth of time. I am sure you have heard this notion, it is the notion that only time will solve the problem of racial injustice, I have heard it from many sincere people, they say to the negro and his allies in the white community, you should slow up you’re pushing things too fast, only time can solve the problem and if you’ll just be nice and patient and continue to pray, in a hundred years or two the problem will work itself out. There is an answer to that myth, it is that time is neutral.

It can be used either constructively or destructively. I am sad to report that the forces of ill will in our nation, the forces on the wrong side in our nation, the extreme righteous of our nation have used time more effectively than the forces of goodwill. Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals, without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally to the primitive forces of social stagnation. Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but rather moulds consensus. On some positions, cowardice asks the question is it safe. Expediency asks the question is it politic. Vanity asks the question is it popular. The conscience asks the question is it right. Our destinies are tied together. The black man needs the white man to save him from his fear and the white man needs the black man to free him from his guilt.

I find it so uncanny that Martin Luther King’s words still ring true to this day. In our lovely land there are certain discrepancies of course, one of them being that South Africa gained political freedom and with that we
believed economic dispensation would swiftly follow, only to find that the buffet is reserved for the politically connected. There is still a lot to do in this country, programs like our academy are but a drop in the well of hope, yet we must continue our work anyway, because sometimes diversity can unite a country.

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