Cape Town - South African
entrant Lion of Africa Vulcan has finished third in the 2017 Cape2Rio presented
Vulcan completed the Atlantic crossing on January 16, and is the
first South African boat to complete the 2017 edition of the prestigious and
The Cape Town-based yacht, co-owned and co-skippered by Hylton
Hale, finished seven hours after second yacht over the line, Black Pearl.
elated to see our local friends and heroes finishing third at the Cape2Rio,”
said Vitor Medina, Commodore of the Royal Cape Yacht Club, hosts of the
Cape2Rio and home base to the Lion of Africa Vulcan yacht.
“Hylton and his crew
have sailed impressively and we can’t wait to share in their triumph once they
are back in Cape Town.”
Africa Vulcan’s result is particularly impressive when you consider that the
yacht is not designed for ocean crossings.
Leading up to the Cape2Rio the yacht
had to be fitted with numerous components to ensure its safety on the open
ocean; these changes included new safety equipment, the installation of water
makers and waterproofing the boat more extensively. That made the challenge of
competing in the Cape2Rio all the more thrilling.
“It was a
great race,” said co-skipper, Francois Kuttel.
“It was an epic sail from start
to finish; better than some of the other Cape2Rio’s I have participated in.
This year was 15 days of great sailing and great fun.”
Lion of Africa
Vulcan’s meteorologist Shaun Pammenter - a former team member on South Africa’s
America’s Cup yacht, Shosholoza - says that the key to their Cape2Rio success
was working to the strengths of the yacht.
“We have a
very quick downwind yacht, so right from the start we wanted to get into
downwind conditions as quickly as possible,” said Pammenter.
To achieve that,
Lion of Africa Vulcan set out on a northerly course from Cape Town.
got us into the best conditions; I think as a strategy it worked out really
well. All in all, I think we did well to finish seven hours behind a very good
boat in Black Pearl, one that is also sailed by a highly experienced crew. We
are happy with the result and to be the first South African boat home.”
A make or
break moment for the South African yacht came about 10 days into the race, when
they hit a patch of light wind.
“We slowed down quite a bit,” said co-owner
“We didn’t really expect it; I think at one stage we were hitting
12 knots, maximum. This was where we fell off the back of the leading bunch.”
Because of the
yacht’s design, the crew had to deal with a lot of water on board, but a bigger
crisis came when crew names started washing off coffee cups.
“It was tough,”
said bowman, Sarah Niedzwiecki-Mecoy.
“We couldn’t tell which cup belonged to
who! Other than that, the experience was brilliant. Everyone worked well
together. But then it’s easy to do well when you are all working towards the
Hale echoed Niedzwiecki-Mecoy’s sentiments.
“The crew work and team work was
brilliant. There were no fights and everyone pulled together brilliantly to
make the race a success.”
yacht’s progress in the race was slowed when Pammenter spotted a yellowish
object falling quickly and directly down towards to sea on January 5.
After reporting the incident to Falmouth Search and Rescue, Lion of
Africa Vulcan was requested to complete a search of the area. The crew duly
stopped racing and conducted a search, finding nothing, but losing 1 hour, 10
minutes and 4 seconds of race time in the process. The yacht has filed a report
and request for redress, which has been granted by the
FOLLOW THE EVENT
Each boat is fitted with a tracker provided by
Xtra-link for regular updates.
Find the links on http://www.cape2rio2017.com; www.rcyc.co.za or http://www.xtra-link.com
Lion of Africa Vulcan (Alec Smith)