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30 January 2005, 09:10 am
Preparations For Leg 3
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2004/2005 Global Challenge
Wellington, New Zealand

On a glorious summer day in the heart of Wellington visitors crowded onto the pontoons to catch a glimpse of the yachts in a public open day for the city and meet the hardy crews as they prepare themselves for the next leg.
Also joining the thousands of people were members of the New Zealand Sevens Rugby Team. They paid a visit to Team Save the Children and presented Save the Children, the official race charity, with a cheque for $100,000 towards their Tsunami appeal, donated by the Rugby Union.

Eric RUSH, skipper of the New Zealand Seven's team had a guide round the yacht and told us: "There isn't much to them. I can appreciate what they've put up with to go round the world living cramped up like that!"

When asked if he fancied doing the next leg he laughed and told us: "Well I'm a little bit busy at the minute!" Perhaps he was put off when we got him to hoist CV Richard ROGERS up the mast! He cooled himself down by throwing himself off the yacht and straight into the water!

Visitors from far and wide queued up to take a look round one of the Yachts and meet the crews who were on hand to help them on and show them around their treasured racing homes.

We chatted to a couple of the visitors to gauge what they thought. Dominic HAYDEN is a local Wellington resident and was visiting with his family: "It's a great thing for Wellington for the boats to be here.

"It's pretty cramped downstairs. I can't imagine 6 weeks at a time on them. I've sailed around the harbour but nothing like this race. The race is getting lots of coverage so everyone knows it's here and I hope to be down for the start with the kids."

When asked about the yachts Glen McCULLOUGH told us: "I reckon they're fantastic although I wouldn't want to spend 39 days in them. They beautifully kitted out and look pretty robust.

"I used to be an aircraft navigator in my day and these boats have superb navigational gear. Look at all the people here. It's great they're promoting Wellington and Wellington loves the boats."

The weather in Wellington is hot, hot, hot and crews are making the most of the final few days before the Leg 3 off on Sunday, basking in the sun to work on sails and prepare the yachts which are fresh out of refit.
Rachel Anning
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