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The Allspice Yachting Team

A photo of Gerrit Louw

Gerrit Louw

Managing Director

OGR Entrant and Crew Member

Gerrit is the Director of Allspice Yachting. He holds a PhD from Stellenbosch University and is a fellow of the distinguished Explorer's Club based in New York City. He has been actively sailing for more than a decade is intimately involved with the planning, preparation and execution of every trip. Gerrit’s unwavering sense of adventure led to him entering the Ocean Globe Race. When he is not sailing he can be found hiking around the Cape Mountains

Michelle Kock

Brand and Marketing Manager

Race Team Manager

Michelle manages Allspice Yachting’s brand and marketing communications, she is also the Allspice Team Manager for the Cape 2 Rio and Ocean Globe Races. She holds a Master’s degree in digital culture and media and has an undergraduate degree in marketing. Michelle first set foot on a sailboat in 2013 and have since sailed on at least five different vessels ranging from 26 to 60 feet, she also enjoys hiking in the mountains near her home.


Melissa Du Toit

Relief Skipper

OGR Chief Mate

Melissa is a relief skipper and Allspice Yachting’s Chief Mate and lead navigator for the Ocean Globe Race. She has MCA Officer of the Watch certification and 6 years’ experience on superyachts. Looking for a more exhilarating adventure she joined Allspice Yachting’s Ocean Globe Race campaign and is closely involved in meticulously preparing Sterna for the Cape2Rio and OGR. Melissa is also a certified free diving instructor.

Rufus Brand

Ocean Globe Race Skipper


Rufus is Allspice Yachting's skipper onboard Sterna for the Ocean Globe Race. He has an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore, and at 18 he crewed on his first Atlantic crossing with no previous experience. In the 22 years since he has gone on to professionally skipper and crew on various sailing vessels around the world, from a 38ft steel monohull to a 139ft tall ship. He is joining the Allspice Yachting's Ocean Globe Race campaign to expand on his interest in offshore racing and to accomplish his dream of circumnavigation. Rufus also has a passion for surfing and off-road motorbike touring.

Rufus Brand, Allspice Yachting OGR Skipper
Mark Wannenburg

Mark Wannenburg

Relief Skipper


Mark is a relief skipper for Allspice Yachting. He is a SAS and RYA Yachtmaster instructor and holds a South African Maritime Safety Authority commercially endorsed Yachtmaster ticket. He has cumulatively crossed the Atlantic and Indian oceans more times than he can count on two hands and has sailed more than 150 000 nautical miles. Mark was responsible for sailing Sterna to home port in Cape Town, South Africa from the Caribbean.

Justin Taylor

Cape 2 Rio Skipper


Justin will be Skippering Sterna in the 5oth anniversary Cape 2 Rio race. He has RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certification and during a 20+ year sailing career has skippered racing yachts in two editions of the Clipper Round the World Race, before becoming the race director. The Cape 2 Rio 2023 marks his return to his love of offshore racing.

Justin Taylor
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