Skipper Siyanda Vato ready to take Zulu Girl from Cape to Rio
Vato, from Durban, is one of the youngest black skippers at the Cape2Rio which begins at the V&A Waterfront today.
He will lead a seven-member crew in the 16th edition of the longest continent-to-continent yacht race which ends in Rio de Janeiro later this month.
Zulu Girl Racing, powered by Mazi Asset Management, is among seven yachts who will compete in the second start which is for the faster and higher handicap boats. The first race, for the cruising and lower handicap boats, began last week.
“My expectations are pretty high as we got a competitive boat, a strong crew and a company which is backing us a lot.
“Zulu Girl is something I came up with. I thought it would be unique because it originates from where I come from. Boats are referred to as female and Zulu Girl sounds catchy.
“It is important to keep the crew safe, making wise decisions and to make sure that the team members are safe on the race track,” said the 26 year old, who will compete in his second Cape2Rio.
“I competed in my first Cape2Rio three years ago. The experience was different because I was travelling with two families on a much heavier boat which was less sportier. We made beer bread in the middle of the ocean.
“There are so many aspects to sailing that include engineering, sails and to understand the people and weather.
“My fondest sailing memory has to be sailing on a 115-foot super yacht in the Mediterranean Sea,” he said.
Vato was introduced to the sport by a former teacher at Eden College, Durban.
“It started in Grade 9 and ever since then I have been hooked on sailing,” he added.
Race chairman Luke Scott said: “The race connects the iconic, exotic and historic in a cocktail of deep blue water sailing,” he said.
“Whether you are a hardcore racer, a family cruiser or an avid adventurer, a memorable 5700km South Atlantic adventure awaits.”