Throwback Thursday: Invest Africa takes first yellow pennant

04 September 2014

With the competition finally underway, Race 1 was a short, tightly contested race to Brest, France, in foggy, light wind conditions. 

Invest Africa’s gamble to tack away from the rest of the fleet in the final hours saw the team win the first race by 5 miles to pick up the fleet’s first yellow winners pennant.

“It was a surprise to hear we had won but we were on such a high. We knew we'd had some luck, but we had also sailed well, without having to drop anchor in the light conditions,” said Leg 1 crew member, Graham McMillan a 40 year-old IT Consultant from Oxford. “We had managed to keep the boat moving in light airs which is so key to ocean sailing. 

“We knew it was going to be a very light wind race and our tactics were to get as far down the race course as possible before the wind ran out. We also wanted to be close enough inshore so that should we start drifting on the tide then we would be able to put the anchor down. 

“The most challenging part was sailing in fog. One evening the fog descended just as night fell and we could hear ships passing behind us. Even though they were 2 miles away and we could hear the fog horns, it was still scary!”

Graham added: “Being out there on the ocean and being with other people enjoying that environment is such an experience. It's an incredible place with huge skies and is constantly changing. The Channel is where I've done a lot of my sailing and although the coastline is familiar, the race felt like sailing amongst old friends and we were elated we had won the first race.”

GREAT Britain came second, and Qingdao finished third.  

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