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31 Jan 2023

Balance Catamarans 526 wins line honors in Cape2Rio Race

A Balance 526 catamaran skippered by Larry Folsom, the boat’s owner, has won line honors in
this year’s 50th Anniversary Cape2Rio race. Facing stiff competition during the 3,4,00 plus nautical mile race, Norhi held the lead for most of the race against veteran Brazilian racer Johan “Hans” Hutzler, skippering his race-ready Outremer 51 catamaran, Aventureiro 4.


This is the first Balance Catamaran to enter this grueling ocean race – the longest in the Southern Hemisphere.


“Congratulations to Larry Folsom and his intrepid crew for taking line honors in the Cape2Rio Race,” said Balance Catamarans President and Founder Phillip Berman. “This year’s race had tough, shifting winds but Larry never let up. It was a fantastic race against a tough competitor.”


Larry was joined by his wife, Norhi, 15-year-old son, Dylan, 12-year-old daughter, Alexa, Campbell Field from Field Yachting as navigator, Catherine Fryer, Warwick “Waza” Kerr as bowman, Warren Russell from Balance’s own Nexus Yachts, and the ever-so-superb sailmaker and tactician from Doyle Sails, Scott Zebny.

@Cape2Rio2023 Norhi Team

“We exchanged the lead a few times during the first 4 days of a much-disputed race,” Hutzler said, “but after that they showed greater speed and opened on us day by day, consolidating their lead. Well done guys!” 


The race originated in 1971 and the overall winner takes the South Atlantic Trophy with 32 ounces of 18K gold in the stylized boat hulls and sterling silver sails. Johan and Larry knew from the start this would be a close race. Hutzler has a long 40 -year history of competitive sailboat racing in Brazil, where he has raced all types of boats both inshore and off. Folsom too comes from a racing background, so the race was always going to be a deeply competitive match between the two performance catamaran sailors from start to finish. But Norhi was first across the finish line completing the race in a lapsed time corrected of 18 days, 20 hours and 48 minutes and 16 seconds. Aventureiro finished in 19 days, 14 hours and 28 minutes exactly. 

@Cape2Rio2020 First Start, 4 January


Hall Spars worked tirelessly to get the rig to Cape Town in time as did Scott Zebny who fabricated its sails. The entire South African crew of Sparcraft Masts and the Balance team at Nexus Yachts worked day and night to have Norhi race ready. The amazing team effort was incredible, added Roger Paarman of Balance’s St. Francis factory where Norhi was built. “Norhi did its race-required 500-nautical mile shakedown cruise in very tough conditions in the waters off South Africa just days before the race began. I’m not sure there could have been a rougher first sail of a boat just launched,” added Berman. “After he returned from that test sail, Larry told us she sailed amazingly. We knew Norhi was a beast from that moment on.”

@Cape2Rio2023 Balance 526, Norhi, crossing the finish line

Balance Catamarans was founded in 2013 by Berman. The full line of Balance Catamarans from the 526, 482, 442, 580, 620, and 750 were all co-designed by Berman and Anton du Toit of Du Toit Yacht Design in Cape Town. The duo never set out to design racing cats, per se, but rather performance-oriented catamarans that offered significant cabinetry, payload capacity, storage, and gracious livability. This race demonstrated that a truly spacious luxury performance catamaran built with exceptional technology and care competes and wins against the sparer “racing cat” design.


Balance Catamarans builds its full range of catamarans in St. Francis, South Africa with its partner Nexus Yachts CC and in Cape Town with Balance Catamarans Cape Town.