- 02 May
2018 Vasco da Gama
Point Yacht Club
2018 Vasco da Gama
Phezulu takes line honours
Phezulu claimed line honours in the epic blue water race, the Vasco da Gama Ocean Race that concluded at sunrise on Sunday.
A supremely chuffed Nigel Milln from Kloof, skipper of Phezulu finished the hard core 400NM race in a time of 2 days, 19 hours and 15 minutes. In a small fleet with only eight yachts heading through the start line set off of Durban on Thursday at midday, two yachts managed to endure the tough conditions gliding through the finish line set off the pier at the Port Elizabeth harbour entrance. The remaining six yachts retiring due to damages and sheer fatigue.
Flying the Point Yacht Club burgee, Milln added to his impressive history in this 47th edition of the Vasco da Gama, earning his fifth line honours victory. Milln first started sailing the Vasco in 2005 when he bought his beloved Skitzo. In his 13 Vascos, he has crossed the line in pole position in 2008; 2009; 2012 and 2013. He also has four handicap titles to his name, winning on handicap in 2008; 2009; 2010 and 2012. Skitzo and Milln are the only combination to have won the main honours four times in the long history of this race.
The decorated sailor missed the 2017 race, as he was between yachts having just sold his hardy and tough Skitzo and was on the hunt for a faster racing yacht. Milln’s last ten months was spent hard at work behind the scenes modifying and overhauling Phezulu.
Arriving in Port Elizabeth, the conditions were freezing with the two battered boats finishing within hours of each other. The weather Gods tossed an array of conditions at the adventurous fleet, dismasting one yacht, shredding the main sail on another after a knockdown and a rogue wave knocking a helmsman off his wheel, slamming the skipper onto the deck.
On Phezulu, the instruments packed up, so they sailed most of the race without the comforts of modern day technologies. One of the crew members fell down the companionway and hit his head, concussing himself for a few hours. As the tradition goes, the crew member has earned himself a Vasco tattoo to forever remember this race. On the last night of racing, one of the steering wheels came loose. Fortunately for them, the modern-day racing yacht has two wheels, which meant they could continue without having to stop and do running repairs.
The smallest yacht in the fleet, Seaport Supply DARG Shadowfax finished 3 hours and 24 minutes behind Phezulu and were deservedly crowned the 2018 champions in what proved to be an extremely tough and rough race. Out in the front, the ‘DARGS’ had a ding-dong battle with Phezulu, and at one stage were in the running for both line and handicap honours. Phezulu opted to go offshore from the start and was the farthest boat out to sea and appeared becalmed for a time. Slightly inshore were the team on Shadowfax skippered by Bernard Farmer from the Royal Cape Yacht Club, doing reasonable speeds throughout and sailing the shortest distance from start to finish.
Skipper for Phezulu, Nigel Milln shared, “Well done to the full Shadowfax team for a great race. Thanks to all for the support for Phezulu. It was a tough race with a complete mix of conditions – hot sun to icy, driving hail to no wind then perhaps 60 knots. Phezulu spent several hours with no main and no 4 jib beating at 7 knots and fully pressed in big seas. It’s a race you feel you have to man up for.”
“We are grateful that we got through the experience with no challenges that we were not able to handle as a team.” he concluded.
After a tough shakedown, Durban’s Phezulu skippered by Nigel Milln took line honours in the 47th Vasco da Gama, a bruising 400NM race from Durban to Port Elizabeth.
The next race taking place offshore of Durban hosted by Point Yacht Club will be a long-haul race on Sunday 20 May, and the local fleet will be hoping that Miln will be on the start line with a shipshape Phezulu.
For more info visit www.pyc.co.za or like the club’s Facebook page.
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