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16 July 2005, 06:35 pm
BG SPIRIT Triumphs
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2004/2005 Global Challenge
Portsmouth, Great Britain

BG SPIRIT has taken the crown, claiming first in the final leg and first overall in the Global Challenge 2004/05. The crew of the winner had a battle on their hands the whole way throughout a fierce and final leg, but arrived first, just four minutes in front of Barclays Adventurer, with an official finish time of 10.54.08 GMT.
Skipper Andy FORBES was greeted by Sir Chay BLYTH and presented with the magnificent Princess Royal Trophy. He hugged Sir Chay enthusing, 'it's absolutely unbelievable; what an incredible nine and a half months - and to be back here where we left - and in first place, is just amazing.'

Tens of thousands of friends, families and spectators packed the finish line from Southsea Castle all the way to Gunwharf Quays, the fleet's final resting place.

An air display, bands, grand carnival and masses of other entertainment was on hand for the fleet's arrival.

'I'm absolutely flabbergasted about the amount of people here today and the support out on the water; I didn't even think we were going to get across the line at one point,' Forbes said.

'I'm just proud to be part of them (speaking of his crew); I mean this is what it's all about. I'm just a skipper who drives the boat! These are the guys who sail the boat; 70% of them are inexperienced and have never really sailed before - and here they are after nine and a half months, 33,000 nautical miles and sailed around the world and in first place, incredible,' he added.

Barclays Adventurer finished at 10.58.16 GMT and provisionally holds a tentative second place - as they have an Intention to Protest against them. It is a slightly nervous crew who waits to see if the protest is lodged.

Jumping off the yacht, skipper Stuart JACKSON looked elated, telling the crowds: 'It's been absolutely amazing today; coming in second was just fantastic. We gave BG SPIRIT a hard fight, but second still feels great.'

Third finisher was VAIO, crossing the line 26min 5sec behind BG SPIRIT and 18min 57sec behind Barclays Adventurer, finishing at 11.19.13 GMT.

An exuberant skipper, Amedeo SORRENTINO yelled, 'we got third!' However, he looked less enamoured when he said, 'after the Needles, we ran aground because of a rock - and that's why we came third, but it was a great, great experience!'

SAIC La Jolla finished fourth, followed by a scrum led by Pindar. Team Stelmar followed next, just over one minute in front of Me To You, which was three minutes in front of Imagine It. Done. Samsung was another two minutes behind, with Spirit of Sark eight minutes behind again.

In 11th place, Team Save the Children was just four minutes behind Spirit of Sark.

BP Explorer missed a waypoint (the PA Buoy) just outside La Rochelle, having to turn back and round the mark to avoid potential disqualification, explaining why the yacht was nearly 100 miles behind the rest of the fleet. Subsequently, it is not due in tomorrow morning.

However, BP Explorer's crew can console themselves with a third overall result, but it has been a disappointing blow for a team who led for so much of the race.

The partying at Gunwharf Quays will continue long into the night, before crews find out their official standings at the Prize Giving tomorrow afternoon.
Rachel Anning. Image: © OnEdition
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