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16 April 2001, 12:08 pm
Team Legato Returns At Last
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The Race

The last of the boats taking part in The Race has just completed voyage round the world in 104 days, 20 h and 52 minutes.
Team Legato was the oldest boat to have entered the race and was helmed by the Englishman Tony Bullimore. She lowered her sails in front of the Digue des Catalans in Marseille at 10h08 local time today, Sunday morning, crossing the finishing line outside the official time limit.

The English catamaran was welcomed by a large number of boats which have been taking part in the SNIM (Marseille International Sailing Week) and which had just left the Vieux Port to start racing.

Tony Bullimore became one of the best known British sailors in the world after his spectacular rescue in the Southern Ocean during the 1996/1997 Vendée Globe. After many setbacks, and particularly having to complete their qualifying sail in Spain, the Brits were able to set out on The Race, finally leaving Barcelona a few hours after the official start.

A first pitstop in Gibraltar to repair the broken head of the mainsail, followed by a second stop in Wellington for medical reasons, then several days stuck in zones of strong high pressure, Team Legato lost contact with the rest of the fleet for good. When the Polish boat Warta Polpharma sustained damage, the Brits were able to sneak ahead into fourth place of The Race for a short while. Shortly afterwards, Team Legato had a problem with the ball joint on her mast step and had to call in at the Canary Islands.

The emotion and exhaustion felt by the crew down to just 6 by the end of the race, was written all over their faces : Tony Bullimore (UK), Paul Larsen (AUS), Slava Sysenko (UKR), Fred Dahirel (FRA), Kevin Pahl (US), Mike Gettinger (US), were all happy to finish the race and meet up with family and friends who have come to Marseille to see them in.

Team Legato's arrival in the Vieux Port de Marseille marks the end of the first edition of The Race, the non-stop round the world crewed yacht race.
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