Intrepid South African oarsmen step ashore after 92-day Cape to Rio epic

Two South Africans completed the most southerly row across the Atlantic ocean on Tuesday. Braam Malherbe and Wayne Robertson made it to Rio de Janeiro yacht club in Brazil 92 days after rowing our of Cape Town harbour.


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They set out on February 7 in their 6.8-metre vessel‚ and for much of their voyage they have rowed alternate two-hour shifts after a storm overturned their boat‚ Mhondoro‚ and they lost one of their seats.

Spokeswoman Osi Raviv said: “Their hi-tech satellite phone system … and their daggerboard were also damaged but they managed‚ in their typical MacGyver-like style‚ to repair some of equipment.

“Another factor which has caused complications is the unseasonable cloudiness‚ which has compromised their solar water purification and charging apparatus.

“On some days they have spent hours manually pumping drinking water as their solar apparatus could not function efficiently.”

The Capetonians embarked on the 7‚000km row in support of Malherbe’s Do One Thing Challenge‚ which encourages people to do one thing for the planet on a daily basis.

“It is the most southern row that has ever been done and first to leave from South Africa‚” said Raviv.

Motivational speaker Malherbe is an experienced adventurer‚ having run the 4‚200km Great Wall of China and the 3‚278km South African coastline to raise more than R2.5-million for Operation Smile.

But Robertson joined the voyage a week before‚ leaving with only two hours’ rowing experience under his belt.

His wife‚ Cindy‚ said Malherbe accepted an offer from Robertson‚ a yacht builder and composite specialist‚ to prepare the boat.

“The funny thing is that in my gut I had a feeling right then he was going to row to Rio‚ and when the phone call from Braam came one evening‚ asking him to go‚ he just looked at me with big eyes‚” she said.

Cindy and the couple’s 6-year-old daughter‚ Willow‚ smuggled a present aboard with Malherbe so that Robertson could celebrate his 51st birthday on March 4. “He spent that day rowing in a homemade T-shirt and an inflatable plastic crown‚” said Cindy.

Next year‚ Malherbe plans to begin a 15-month circumnavigation of the globe along the Tropic of Capricorn‚ using only non-motorised means‚ in support of his Do One Thing campaign.

Tiso Black Star Group/TimesLIVE

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