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Alum Competes in Cape2Rio Grand Prix Sailing Race

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Alum Competes in Cape2Rio Grand Prix Sailing Race

February 12, 2017 - 11:34

Alum Competes in Cape2Rio Grand Prix Sailing Race

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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Sarah Niedzwiecki-Mecoy '00 just completed the Cape2Rio, a prestigious and iconic Cross Atlantic sailing race from Cape Town, South Africa to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil aboard the Lion of Africa Vulcan, a 42ft sailboat. Sarah was the only female bowman and only female member of a Grand Prix team.

The race is a 3,797 mile trip if done in a straight line but the actual distance traveled is much further as the boat needed to navigate around certain weather patterns. Sarah and the Vulcan crew completed the race on January 16, finishing third, 15 days after they set sail from Cape Town. This is a remarkable accomplishment as the Vulcan is a boat designed for inshore racing, not crossing an ocean like the much larger and faster boats they were up against.

As bowman, Sarah's jobs included very physical and potentially dangerous tasks such as running all the rigging, putting the forward sails (which weigh as much as she does) up and down, and going to the top of the mast, which is about 5 inches in diameter and 55 feet above the deck. She also climbed to the end of the bowsprit while sailing at speeds of up to 30 knots, the equivalent of crawling to the end of a jousting stick, tied to the hood of a 4x4 car driving off road at 40 mph!

As bowman, Sarah's jobs included very physical and potentially dangerous tasks such as running all the rigging, putting the forward sails (which weigh as much as she does) up and down, and going to the top of the mast, which is about 5 inches in diameter and 55 feet above the deck. She also climbed to the end of the bowsprit while sailing at speeds of up to 30 knots, the equivalent of crawling to the end of a jousting stick, tied to the hood of a 4x4 car driving off road at 40 mph!

Sarah said, "It was tough....the experience was brilliant. Everyone worked well together. But then it's easy to do well when you are all working towards the same goal." A seasoned sailor, Sarah has reached the pinnacle of her sailing career to date, competing in an extreme race. Congratulations to Sarah on completing such an amazing journey! Photos courtesy of Lion of Africa team.