Throwback Thursday: Nail biting finale for race into Albany

26 November 2014

After 5,000 miles of racing, less than four minutes separated the final four teams at the finish line of Race 4 to Albany Waterfront Marina in Western Australia, in this week’s Throwback Thursday.

“We literally threw the yacht across the line - it felt like we had won the whole leg!” Reflects Mission Performance crew member Neil Taylor, a 51 year-old Project Manager from Leicestershire, UK who took part in the first four legs of the 2013-14 race.

Old Pulteney finished in eight position at 09:54 UTC, with Derry~Londonderry~Doire coming ninth at 09:56:43 UTC. Neil’s team, Mission Performance, came in tenth at 09:58:27 UTC, pipping Invest Africa by split seconds.

Neil says: “As dawn broke on what would be the last day at sea of a 5,000 mile Southern Ocean crossing we couldn't believe it, there were three other yachts in sight. 5,000 miles and over three weeks at sea, plus a detour to Port Elizabeth to medevac a crew member, it just seemed incredulous!”

Mission Performance fought hard to drive the boat as fast as possible, constantly trimming its sails and changing them to keep up the pace with its competitors. In the final sprint the team took the decision to fly its spinnaker.

“The increase in speed over the other boats was dramatic. Whilst we wouldn't catch the leader, certainly the boat in front, Invest Africa, was achievable as we surfed towards them. It was all hands to the sheets.

“The last mile down the channel, going neck and neck with Invest Africa was just intense. One minute we'd surge in front, then as we did they would steal our wind and come back past us. It was only at the last point with a very fortuitous gust that we surged ahead of them to cross the line.”

Neil adds: “The great people of Albany said later that they'd never seen a yacht fly a kite all the way down the channel! The welcome we got as we stepped ashore was just fantastic and their hospitality is something I’ll never forget either. They really did make us feel very welcome.”

To find out more about Leg 3, the Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride, click here

To watch the fleet race to Albany in the last edition, click here

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