May 26, 2016. Cape Town. The Gryphon yacht crew. (back-left). Leroy Rudolf, Rian Turner, Andre Julius, Theo Yon, Ashley Rudolf, David Jacobs, Shane Jasephs, Lorenzo Yon, Raaid Pentolfe and Keith Klaasen (back-right). Picture: RUVAN BOSHOFF/SUNDAY TIMES
May 26, 2016. Cape Town. The Gryphon yacht crew. (back-left). Leroy Rudolf, Rian Turner, Andre Julius, Theo Yon, Ashley Rudolf, David Jacobs, Shane Jasephs, Lorenzo Yon, Raaid Pentolfe and Keith Klaasen (back-right). Picture: RUVAN BOSHOFF/SUNDAY TIMES

Following Dark Matter’s withdrawal from the Cape2Rio yacht race on Tuesday, two more boats have been forced to abandon the event.

The catamaran WOW pulled out with two broken daggerboards while Trekker II quit with a damaged rudder.

The impairments are believed to have been the result of heavy seas.

Trekker II is a veteran of the race, having made her debut in 1982 — as Voortrekker II — with legendary South African sailor Bertie Reed at the helm.

Late on Tuesday, Trekker II sent out a "pan-pan" call — a signal that a boat is in a state of urgency but with no immediate danger — but later upgraded this to a mayday.

Two commercial ships were in the area and responded immediately to the distress signal, and Trekker II’s eight-member crew was rescued by the MV Golafruz, which is en route to Brazil.

The captain of MV Golafruz then radioed that "all eight crew of Trekker II are rested and doing well".

"We are incredibly grateful for the safe and swift outcome of this mayday call," said Vitor Medina, the Royal Cape Yacht Club commodore.

"The abandoned yacht is still floating in the vicinity and we have alerted other competitors to keep their eyes open."

Dark Matter is waiting for the weather to calm before heading for Cape Town, while WOW is slowly making its way towards Walvis Bay.

"The winds experienced over the last few days have been quite high, though this is not an unusual phenomenon for the start of the race," said event director Simon Borchert. "The boats will soon be into the trade winds and from there we expect less dramatic sailing."

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