Finally, just before 16:00 local time (14:00 GMT) on Wednesday 20th June 2001, Bob Beggs (skipper) brought Bristol Clipper over the finishing line to win race 12 of the 16 races of the Times Clipper 2000.
The reception committee from the Royal Cape Yacht Club and the press and media corps had been waiting patiently as she made slow progress over the last 36 hours. In truth this was no surprise as Cape Town sees many races pass through and slow, drawn out finishes are nothing new here.
The crew aboard Bristol Clipper won this race convincingly. They set sail from Mauritius two weeks ago and there was no doubting their determination but Bob Beggs downplayed this on arrival, "We had some good breaks early on and were able to build on them. It was the result we were after but all the boats are really competitive so we really just try to keep finishing in the top half."
Portsmouth Clipper is still in second place but the comfortable margin she enjoyed has now gone. Plymouth Clipper was nearly 70 miles behind her two days ago and has closed that gap to a mere 13 miles. Jersey Clipper is still chasing and is a further 28 miles behind Plymouth and rather than just follow they are bound to try different tactics and move up a place. This is very important for them as finishing in fourth place will demote them to second overall in the race.
At 07:00 GMT this morning the first three yachts were sharing the headlands out with each other. Portsmouth was off Danger Point, Plymouth off Quoin point and Jersey close to Cape Aghulas. Glasgow Clipper could not resist doing her normal southerly charge to look for penguins and quite missed thepoint that there is a famous colony of penguins at Simonstown at the top of False Bay - some 100 miles to the north! Their ploy however has worked this time and they have closed up 51 miles on Portsmouth Clipper but still remain 20 miles behind Jersey.
Liverpool Clipper is acutely aware that there is a very high powered and important reception committee from the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and Trade Mission waiting to greet them in Cape Town. Plans have been changed to enable this but Liverpool Clipper is going to have to make spectacular progress to achieve this historic meeting. Skipper Rupert Dean's freedom of the city just might be in jeopardy unless he pulls a few surprises out of the bag.
Leeds Clipper has also had a good day and could, once again, catch Liverpool. They will also be looking over their transom at yesterday's superstar, London. Stuart Gibson (skipper) and his crew managed by far the best run yesterday with 144 miles. This has brought them 75 miles closer to Portsmouth Clipper. This naturally is a reflection on the arrival of Stuart's wife Liz and 10 month old son Ben in Cape Town.
The weather continues to be settled and the main feature is lack of wind up the west coast of the Cape Peninsula. A large high pressure has now developed over South Africa and this has forced any approaching lows well clear to the south.
The Times Clipper 2000 Positions at 03:00(GMT) on 21/06/01
Race 12 (crew leg 5) Mauritius to Cape Town
Position Yacht Distance to finish
1st Bristol Finished at 13:55 (GMT) Wed 20th June
2nd Portsmouth 97 miles (ETA Thurs 21st p.m.)
3rd Plymouth 110 miles (ETA Thurs p.m. or Fri a.m.)
4th Jersey 138 miles (ETA Thurs p.m. or Fri a.m.)
5th Glasgow 158 miles (ETA Fri 22nd a.m.)
6th Liverpool 170 miles (ETA Fri a.m. / p.m.)
7th Leeds 183 miles (ETA Fri p.m.)
8th London 202 miles (ETA Fri p.m.)