Johannesburg - One person was killed in the Cape to Rio yacht race at the weekend, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Monday.
Spokesperson Craig Lambinon said many yachts had been damaged in the rough seas and gale force winds.
"Some yachts are limping back to Saldanha Bay and to Cape Town," Lambinon said.
He said the Transnet National Ports of Authority had placed the NSRI and the SA Air Force 22 Squadron on high alert since Sunday.
"The Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre summoned ships at sea to respond to emergency distress calls from yachts affected while activating the SA Navy to dispatch resources," said Lambinon.
The yacht Bille reported mainsail problems and that they were
proceeding back to Cape Town for repairs. At 15:00 on Sunday a report was received
that the boat was demasted and there were a number of serious injuries
on board. Sadly the yacht reported a fatality of one crew member. MRCC
have activated all their agencies and we are in constant communication
with the vessel. Race HQ sent the nearest vessel Genevieve Too to yacht
Bille and they are currently standing close by to offer assistance.
The race started on Saturday.