The Clipper 2002 fleet of round the world yachts are gearing up for their departure from Cape Town on Race 13 of Clipper 2002 Series to the Brazilian port of Salvador, following a week long stopover hosted by the Royal Cape Yacht Club.
The last stage of the fifth and penultimate leg of the eleven-month circumnavigation starts from Cape Town at 14:30 local time (12:30 GMT) on Sunday, 29 June 2003.
Crews will be treated to a spectacular South African send-off from the Pier Head in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront with top class entertainment, including Kwaito groups, Pansula dancers, Marimba bands, Praise singers and Minstrels, commencing from 10:00.
Two young volunteers from LoveLife, South Africa's national HIV prevention programme for youth, will be joining the crew of the Cape Town Clipper on the next stage. Zuko Mgobozi and Theo Madayi from Langa will be shown the ropes by their South African skipper Roger Steven-Jennings and Marvin Sampson, a student from Grassy Park who is sponsored by the City of Cape Town in their effort to promote sailing within the community.
An important Civic Delegation from the city of Liverpool will also join the race start festivities, as part of their South African mission to the export market, tourism, sport & cultural industries. The Civic Delegation, led by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Liverpool, Councillors Ron and Tina Gould, are meeting with key figures in Cape Town to develop and extend business, cultural and civic relationships between South Africa and Great Britain.
The exact route for the 3,375 nautical mile race to Salvador will be determined by the positioning of the South Atlantic high-pressure system. A straight course to Salvador would take the racing yachts too close to the centre of this, leaving them with too little wind. Instead the eight identical 60-foot yachts will firstly charge to the north, then head northwest, before racing westward to Salvador.
Tactically the skippers will be looking to find the optimum balance between taking the shortest and most direct route to Salvador with the risk of running out of wind, or opting for a route with greater distance and potentially more breeze. Jersey Clipper, skippered by Simon Rowell, leads the fleet on overall points so far but Richard Butler and his Bristolian crew are chasing hard with just two points separating the two teams.
During the popular Brazilian stopover the yachts will be berthed at Centro Nautico da Bahia in Salvador, close to the elevator that leads up to Pelourinho, a historic section of the town that has been designated a World Heritage Site.
Crews will enjoy Salvador's exotic atmosphere, which is further enhanced by the region's unique cuisine, music, arts and dance all of which draw their roots from the city's African heritage, before they depart on the sixth and final leg of Clipper 2002 from Salvador to Liverpool, UK - via New York and the Channel Island of Jersey. The homecoming celebrations in the city of Liverpool, recently announced the European Capital of Culture for 2008, will take place on Saturday, 27 September 2003.