BP Explorer, skippered by 41-year-old David MELVILLE, very nearly pipped both yachts to the post and from 26 miles down yesterday they were neck and neck in second place. They just managed to creep past BG SPIRIT, skippered by 37-year-old Andy FORBES - out in the lead just a few hours earlier - in the elevnth hour, to second place.
There were just two miles and minutes at the end between the first three yachts - phenomenal given that they were racing more than 6,000 nm from Buenos Aires.
Duggie GILLESPIE and his team aboard Spirit of Sark even managed to supersede current Vendee Globe sailor Conrad HUMPHREYS' Leg 2 win in the BT Global Challenge 2000/01 by several hours, so creating a new course record.
Friends and family poured onto the pontoons in Wellington to greet their family and friends who had been racing hard and fast, night and day for nearly five weeks. Thousands more were glued to the official web site hardly able to believe the yachts which were swapping positions by the hour, completely unable to determine who would win until the final minute.
The next group of yachts - Me to You, VAIO and Samsung and SAIC La Jolla are due in from 16.00 GMT on Tuesday 4 January.