Categorized | Offshore

Farewell, António João Bartolomeu

Posted on 06 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Farewell sailor,

His name was António João Bartolomeu and unless you have a close relation to the sport of sailing in Angola you, most probably, have never heard of him. The 47-year old from the capital city of Luanda, wasn’t a sailing “rockstar”. In fact, he wasn’t even a professional sailor, his day job being sound technician at the National Radio of Angola.

However, the sea and the ocean were his big passion since early childhood. At the age of 9 he joined the Sailing Academy of the Angola Sailing Federation at Ihla de Luanda. Five years later, he moved to the Vaurien class, a simple and affordable two-person racing dinghy, popular in Africa. He was one of his country’s best sailors in the class and had an equally successful number of races in various regattas in bigger, cruising yachts.

António João Bartolomeu was part of the BILLE crew that together with her sistership MUSSULO III, represented the emerging country of Angola for the first time ever in the history of the Cape 2 Rio race. The two Bavaria 54 yachts sailed into rough seas with 6-meter waves and 60-knot gale-force winds, during the first night of the race, and although MUSSULO III got out nearly unscathed, BILLE initially reported mainsail problems and informed the race committee they were heading back to Cape Town. However, a few hours later they reported they had dismasted, having suffered two injuries and a tragic death.

BILLE and MUSULLO III are the first ever Angolan yachts that take part in this iconic African sailing race. Angola is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and both Angola Cables and the country’s government saw the regatta as a perfect platform to showcase the emergence of the country. Angola Cables will provide the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) that will connect their country to Brazil with 6,000 miles of sub-sea cabling. When complete, SACS will provide the shortest and most direct link to connect Africa with the high traffic internet usage stemming from the USA. SACS will be the second cabling system owned by Angola Cables after the West Africa Cable System (WACS) that links London to Cape Town through Africa’s main west coastal cities.

It’s a shame such an exciting initiative for the sport of sailing in the African continent is marred by such an unfortunate and tragic accident. Angola Cables had scheduled an extensive series of events to support their entry in the Cape To Rio Race. The most significant of these were a series of outreach events in Lisbon, Luanda, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro with the goal to promote both Angola Cables’ business and their participation in the race. At this stage we aren’t aware whether they will take place or not.

Rest in peace António João Bartolomeu.

António João Bartolomeu, sailor of the Angolan Bavaria 54 that lost his life during the Cape 2 Rio race. Photo copyright Angola Cables

26 Comments For This Post

  1. linda Says:

    Always sad to lose anyone, especially under these circumstances.. condolences to his family and crew

  2. Jacqueline Mostert Says:

    You were a brave sailor, Antonio. RIP.

  3. Schalk de Beer Says:

    Anyone who has sailed’s worst nightmare when you lose someone overboard. He sailed for the love of it and died for the love of it. RIP Antonio and my condolences to the family. Schalk de Beer

  4. Angus Stewart Says:

    Sad news. RIP

  5. Zaskia Wilsom Says:

    Our hearts goes out to the family of Antonio for your tragic loss.
    The families and crew of HQ2

  6. Gail Says:

    My condolences to Antonio’s family amd friends.
    Sad to loose someone so dedicated to the sport.

  7. clinton Hendrie Says:

    It is never easy to loose a loved one , my condolences to Antonio,s family and loved ones , i did not know him, but by reading this letter he was an outstanding yachtsman that will be sorely missed , but he will always remembers for what he has done for the sport , for bringing it to people who did not have the advantages of having access to the sport , and to that i and many people will be grateful for . R.I P, Antonio .

  8. Peter M Says:

    RIP Bartolomeu.

    The question that arises is – Could this tragedy have been prevented had organisers postponed the start of the regatta? They must have realised about the imminent gale force winds coming.
    The second question is, what really happened to the Bille main sail? I know that a lot of Bavaria yachts are equipped with in mast furling systems. Is it possible that it jammed? If so, we need some answers from the Bavaria yachts manufacturers. I remember that a one Bavaria yacht lost it’s keel while sailing a few years ago. Would these indicate a general safety problems with Bavaria yachts?

  9. Jose CSF Says:

    Good question Peter M. In fact, the sistership Mussulo III also competing in the regatta had mainsail and mast problems while sailing to Cape Town from Europe, where it was purchased! How can this happen in such tip top sail yachts?

    Also agree with the point that all could have been avoided if the officials had postponed the start, not only the tragic loss of Antonio but also the loss of 6 or 7 ships to the competitions that had to return to RSA due to damage during the storm… Shame for the sport.

    Condolences to Antonio’s family and friends. He will be missed.

  10. Patricis Turnbull Says:

    An overwhelming feeling of sadness that the race has been marred by such a tragedy. My deepest sympathies to the family, crew and country for your tragic loss.

  11. Luis Berenguel Says:

    I had the previlege to be a long time friend of Toni Bartolomeu and participated with him in several regatas in Angola being part of the same crew at X-PA, with Rui Sancho as our Captain and Luvambo as is immediate. Rest in peace my old good friend, you will missed and will always be in our toughts.
    To the rest of the Bille Team, I wish you a quick recovery and be strong to overcome this unfortunate loss.

    Luis Berenguel

  12. Willy Vandeverre Says:

    Antonio, you loss at sea was a tragedy. I will pray for you, RIP. Your friend in Sailing, Willy Vandeverre

  13. Nuno Gomes Says:

    On behalf of the Angolan Nautical Sports Federation (FADEN), we’ll never forget Bartolomeu. Até sempre!
    Nuno Gomes

  14. Suletta du Plessis Says:

    So sorry to read this – really a sad loss, RIP, and condolences to the family.

  15. Mateus Afonso Says:

    Foi com profunda dor que a família da Vela angolana tomou conhecimento do passamento físico do Velejador António Bartolomeu também conhecido por Chuga.
    Em nome da Vela do Clube Náutico da Ilha de Luanda, endereço a família enlutada os nossos sentidos pâsames.

    Mateus Afonso

  16. Michelle Evert Says:

    What a tragic loss to Antonio’s family, friends, and fellow crew; to the sailing fraternity in general.

  17. Jaime Baptista Says:

    É sempre triste a perda de uma vida, algo irremediável para todos os seus entes queridos, para a “família da vela” também será sempre um dia triste, por perder alguém que tanto amava a modalidade. Paz á sua alma e as minhas condolências a Toda a Família Angolana.

  18. janusz Says:

    Descanse em paz SAILOR.,e muito triste quando se perde uma vida.
    A minha pergunta ,e :porque nao foi adiada a partida???
    Quem sabe alguma coisa de meteorologia e vendo situaçao meteo. partida foi uma LOUCURA!!!!

  19. Joy Says:

    Deepest sympathy

  20. Norberto Marcher-Mühle Says:

    sei que isso não vai trazê-lo de volta, mas ao menos ele se foi fazendo o que mais amava.

    i know it won’t bring him back, but at least he passed while doing what he loved most.

    r.i.p. antonio.

  21. Ian Says:

    Sail on my friend…

  22. Eben Human Says:

    Antonio – We will remember you in Cape Town for your part in this historical support by Angola in the Cape to Rio Race. We trust this will be part of building a greater bond between our two countries for the good of all people in Africa. RIP Antonio

  23. Pedro Silveira Ramos Says:

    As minhas condolências á familia e que deus Neptuno olhe por mais este marinheiro.
    Espero que os jovens de Angola sigam o exemplo de João Bartolomeu e que vão para o mar velejar !

  24. Abhilash Tomy Says:

    Deepest condolences to the family of Toni.

    In relation to the question posed by Peter, it must be remembered that the decision to race strictly rests with the boat and solely with the boat.

  25. Bev Shaw Says:

    It is a tragic turn of events – losing someone to the sea is always a strong reminder that we as sailors have a rough and unforgiving playground, never turn your back and always “keep the weather eye open”. I hope and pray that the family and close friends are comforted by the support of the sailing community around the world. RIP Antonio sail on sailor.

  26. Enda Connellan Says:

    Condolences to Tita and crew on sad loss from your neighbour in Vilamoura who watched you all prepare so well. Enda

2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Kapstadt-Rio-Race: Angolaner-Crew abgeborgen – Soldini kritisiert Startzeit | SegelReporter Says:

    [...] als António João Bartolomeu bekannt. Der 47-Jährige aus der Hauptstadt Luanda gehörte laut eines Berichtes von zu den besten der wenigen Segler seines Landes. Er segelte in der Vaurien-Klasse und auf größeren [...]

  2. THE RACE MUST GO ON… | XS Sailing Says:

    [...] condolences go out to the friends and family of our fellow fallen sailor.  HERE is more info and a fitting tribute to António by [...]


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