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Yachtsman catches ‘wave of the year’

Cape Town - A Cape Town sea dog has survived a near-certain shipwreck by catching the wave of the year – a giant 3m-high pounder, from the back line all the way to the beach, in his yacht.

“I just picked a piece of beach and went for it. Somehow – I don’t know how – I missed all the rocks which I hadn’t even seen,” said a relieved Anthony Smith, 55, on Misty Cliffs beach.

Relieved sailor Anthony Smith shortly after he managed to surf his yacht on to a tiny patch of beach near Scarborough after running into bad weather. Picture: Tracey Adams. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

The NSRI’s Ian Klopper said: “He’s either extremely skilled. Or extremely blessed. Or both.”

Smith set out from Hout Bay, for Simon’s Town, on Tuesday at 9am, the first leg of a voyage to Madagascar as a “back-packer sailor”.

But it wasn’t long before he lost his storm jib sail and found himself being blown shorewards by an aggressive north-westerly wind.

“I made a conscious decision to beach,” he said.

And so under power of his yacht’s little engine, he launched his ageing 25-foot Flamenca yacht, carrying his life’s possessions, down the face of a peeling winter wave.

“I had a glorious five seconds,” he grinned. “I was worried about pitch-poling, but managed to surf all the way to the beach, and somehow miss all the rocks.”

The NSRI secured the 1978 vintage Bella Andrea on the beach, using its anchor chain and extra ropes.

Smith hoped to relaunch the yacht once the heavy seas subsided.

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