Greenpeace members take on the Cape-to-Rio Yacht Race

Press release - January 6, 2014
Cape Town, January 1, 2014 -- Three generations of the Horton Family including Colin Horton 78, his daughter Belinda Horton (the Skipper) and her son Francois (25) plus Ken Botwood (70) will today crew their yacht ‘Ava’, which at 31’, is the smallest boat of the 36 participating in the Cape-to-Rio Race in 2014. The Horton family joined Greenpeace Africa as members in 2013.

As passionate mariners, all are committed to the preservation of the planet’s rich marine resources.  As regular sailors, all are aware of the effects of the daily acts of plunder and pollution carried out by fellow mariners.  These can range from the effects of pollution or the results of over fishing and rising sea temperatures and the erosion of ocean life.

“Sailing and the oceans are our passions” says Belinda, “this voyage is an adventure for all of us but also an opportunity to do what we can to contribute to its preservation. I feel so honoured to be doing this for Greenpeace”.

Growing up the daughter of parents who were avid sailors, Belinda has been traversing the ocean since an early age.  “This voyage, apart from being a huge challenge and test of courage and skill, is of particular importance to me as I will be taking my father Colin on possibly his last transatlantic voyage”, she adds. 

Colin Horton is an experienced sailor having sailed around the world in the late 70's and early 80's.  He and his friend Ken Botwood regularly participate in  Table Bay races against yachts of greater size and crews much younger than themselves.

“We will use our tracker to communicate our position to Greenpeace” says Belinda. “We will use this sail as an opportunity to bear witness to the condition of our oceans, the species living in, and on it, and the actions of boats which we may encounter on the way.” 

“Ava, after setting sail on the 4th of January 2014, will take us up towards St Helena, and then out across the Atlantic to about midway when we take a gentle curve south to catch the current south. We will need to reach Rio by the 31st of January to be among those eligible for a win,” adds Belinda.

“We will do our best in this challenge but most of all it is to enjoy our beautiful planet and its ocean and try our best to protect it. We hope others like ourselves will join Greenpeace and support its vital work to protect our oceans,” she concludes.

Ava and her crew will traverse about 8000 nautical miles of the Atlantic ocean, their return journey taking them close to the roaring forties of the Southern Atlantic ocean.

‘For Greenpeace Africa, this is momentous. Together we need to protect our fragile marine resources. What legacy will we as individuals leave if we do not protect an already-fragile planet; What the Horton family are doing is simply a reminder that the onus is on us to protect the world. It starts with each of us,” said Adrienne Hall, Advancement Director, Greenpeace Africa.

Note to the Editors:

To follow Ava’s journey go to from 4 January.  Details of joining Greenpeace Africa may be found on the same site.