Mussulo 40, the yacht with the only two-man crew to compete in the Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro regatta, has arrived in Rio, earning a fourth place finish overall and the top position in their category. As the only double-hander to leave Cape Town on January 1, 2017, the 40-foot yacht, sponsored by Angola Cables was sailed by Angolan doctor José Guilherme Caldas and Brazilian sailer Leonardo Chicourel.
The boat was the top performer in the Double Handed Class, completing the race in 16 days 14 hours 22 minutes and 12 seconds, besting the record set by Privateer in 2014.
“We competed well against larger boats with professional crews and are proud of how we did given some obstacles,” said Caldas. “It was a tough race, but we persevered thanks to the support of a great team on both sides of the Atlantic.”
From a torn spinnaker to a broken tracker to a failing autopilot system, the crew of Mussulo 40 faced a number of difficult moments during the crossing. Having to repair the sail and deal with weak winds in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and close to Brazil, the two sailors relied on humour and good food to maintain their spirits.
The relationship between Angola Cables and sailing started by chance when a group of Angolan sailors asked for support to participate in the 2014 Cape2Rio regatta
“We were rather sluggish on the last part of the race and discovered it was due to a huge collection of plastic affecting our rudder,” added Caldas. “Our favourite best piece of technology was a desalinator – provided by Manuel Mendes, director at R & M Boatbuilders in Cape Town – that kept us hydrated, let us shower and even provided water for a good risotto or two.”
An interventional neuroradiologist by profession (working half of the year in Brazil), Dr Caldas is a keen sailor. Between navigating human arteries and veins to treat aneurysms, strokes and tumours, he has crossed the Atlantic eight times.
“We are so proud of the effort put in by José Caldas and Leonardo Chicourel to complete the race in record time,” said Antonio Nunes, CEO of Angola Cables. “Cape2Rio is a test of skill and strategy that offers many lessons about teamwork and perseverance along the way. Bravo!”
Mussulo 40 and Mussulo III (a larger yacht based in Ilhabela, Brazil) are two boats sponsored by Angola Cables. The company also supports two sailors from the Luanda Sailing Club who recently participated in the African Sailing Championship in Luanda. The relationship between Angola Cables and sailing started by chance when a group of Angolan sailors asked for support to participate in the 2014 Cape2Rio regatta.
“Sailing is a sport that involves intense strategising, being prepared for any eventuality, and responding quickly to changes in the environment; much like our business. It is also water-based, another parallel with Angola Cables and the fact we lay thousands of kilometres of fibre optic cable on the sea floor as part of creating high-speed, intercontinental networks,” concludes Nunes.