Rock star Ard Matthews says ‘why not’ to Cape2Rio Race

 “You only get one life,” is Ard Matthew’s approach to most things, whether composing a new song or setting sail for Rio aboard his 66ft classic wooden boat. The well-known Hout Bay singer is the latest entrant to next year’s Cape2Rio to which he plans to bring a lyrical edge by recording a few songs along the way.  He says his well-known vessel, which completed the race 51 years ago as the Howard Davis, is ready to roll again after a major renovation and equipment overhaul. He has renamed it ‘The Impossible Machine’ (TIM), a nod to his eponymous solo music album of a few years back.  “I’ve restored her from pretty much a hull and have replaced almost every major item,” Matthews said in an interview with the Sunday Times earlier this month. “So this race is for me just the greatest little tip of the cap for all the effort we’ve put into her so far. It’s a great goal to have to work towards.”

Ard’s classic wooden boat was designed by Kurt Oehlman and built by Louw and Halvorson. It was commissioned by the SA Navy in 1966 and is made of Mahogany and Oroko frames, with a 16-ton lead keel and approximately 200sqm sail area. It was sold into the private sector in 1991 after many years in the service of the SAMNA General Botha.

Ard has no doubt that TIM can repeat her achievement of half a century ago and cross the finishing line, this time with himself and his crew aboard. He says the boat has a category A commercial licence — a prerequisite for any charter vessel — and will have a further hull inspection in September ahead of the Race which begins on January 2.  Ard himself is finishing off his Offshore Yacht Master Course, a necessary qualification for anybody wishing to skipper an open ocean race. “I’ve been at school for the last month and have one more class next week.”

The Just Jinjer frontman, who these days focuses more on his solo music career, has approached his sailing project with the same single-minded passion that defines his music career, and as a result is feeling confident about the upcoming challenge: “I’m definitely way more excited (than nervous) only because I know every inch of that boat; I know her integrity myself. She has the highest safety licence you can get – very very high safety protocols,” he said.

In a recent newsletter the Royal Cape Yacht Club hailed Ard’s Cape2Rio participation and confirmed Ard would have a mobile studio aboard ‘with the aim of continuing his recordings, all while documenting as much as possible for the world to see.”

“We are hoping that this incredible sailing journey of approximately 3300 nautical miles across the Atlantic will spark creative moments for all his fans to enjoy in the new future,” RCYC said.

Race Director Anthony Spillebeen said: “To have someone like Ard join the event obviously adds huge value and endorsement, in the past the sport of sailing has had many celebrity music people enjoy the pleasure and exhilaration of the high seas, Simon Le Bonn, Jimmy Buffet to name but a few.

Having Ard enter in the Howard Davis also signifies a valued link to the races past, this boat served as a communications vessel during the races heyday prior to mobile communication and satellite navigation, great to see that it will be used by a modern day communicator to fulfill a dream,”Spillebeen said.

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