Budel reaches Cape Town

Following his rescue, Dutch Portimao Global Ocean Race sailor has worked out a plan to continue...

Thursday January 8th 2009, Author: Ollie Dewar, Location: United Kingdom
At 04:00GMT this morning (08/01/09), 69 year-old Dutch sailor, Nico Budel, was transferred by helicopter from the bulk carrier, CSK Radiance, and landed in Cape Town, bringing to conclusion the drama of his Mayday, his mid-ocean rescue and a 1,800 mile voyage on board the rescue ship through the depths of the Indian Ocean.

Just over a week ago, on 30 December Budel, was rescued from his damaged, ten year-old, carbon fibre, Open 40 racing yacht Hayai while competing in the singlehanded round-the-world, Portimão Global Ocean Race. Budel was rescued in the Indian Ocean by the 170,000 tonne CSK Radiance bound for Rotterdam in a highly-skilled and coordinated operation undertaken in challenging conditions 900miles south-east of Madagascar at 40°S 57°30’E .

After the sailor cleared through the Cape Town Customs Office at 06:30GMT today he was reunited with his wife, Myrna, and two sons, Frans and Bas: “It was a real surprise to see my wife and two sons, and that was really fine,” said Budel from his temporary base in the Royal Cape Yacht Club.

After ten days aboard the rescue ship, he was also quick to praise the extraordinary hospitality of the Captain and crew of CSK Radiance: “A better hotel you could not find,” confirmed Budel, laughing heartily. “I had everything on board that I could ever want. I could wash my clothes and they fed me more than I could ever need. It was perfect.”

Also eagerly awaiting Budel’s clearance through customs was South African yachtsman, Lenjohn van der Wel, co-skipper of the double-handed Class 40 Kazimir Partners racing in the Portimão Global Ocean Race with his brother, Peter, until mast damage forced the pair to turn back towards to Cape Town on 18th December after four days sailing in Leg 2 from Cape Town to Wellington, New Zealand. Greeting Budel after his rescue was a great moment for Van der Wel, but there was a separate agenda: getting Budel back on the race course as soon as possible.

“Basically, what is happening is that we are teaming up to race Kazimir Partners together,” explained Van der Wel. “Re-starting the race in Wellington is definitely out as there just isn’t enough time, but we are going to try and rejoin the race in Brazil,” he continued. “We’ll sail from here sometime mid-February. Nico is planning to go to Wellington to see the rest of the fleet when they arrive, then when he’s back in South Africa, we’ll get started.”

Within just five hours of reaching dry land, Budel is already planning to head back out to sea. “We’re still working on the arrangements,” he confirms. “But we will start the race in Ilabella, Brazil, together for double-handed racing and we will race in Legs 4 and 5 to America and then Portimão.” After his dramatic rescue ten days ago, the irrepressible solo sailor is keen to get sailing as soon as possible: “We will go sailing on Kazimir in the afternoon tomorrow, together,” he predicts. “Getting back on the water is the best way to be.”

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