After 36 yachts set off Jan. 4 from Cape Town, South Africa, for the 3,300 nautical mile Cape to Rio Race, a low pressure system reached the fleet on the first night with 40- to 60 knots of wind and swells of 20 feet.
Many yachts experienced difficulties with the conditions, including one boat dismasted, which resulted in the death of one crewmember. Other yachts reported broken rudder, sail and engine problems.
The fleet consists of teams representing Angola, Australia, Croatia, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy and South Africa.
The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre dispatched a boat to aid the stricken fleet and evacuate the crew and body from the yacht Bille.