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4 July 2005, 01:47 pm
Team Stelmar Celebrate Victory
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2004/2005 Global Challenge
La Rochelle, France

Clive COSBY (GBR) and his crew on Team Stelmar have achieved their first leg win in the Global Challenge after beating BG SPIRIT to the finish in La Rochelle, France this morning by just over 30 minutes.

'We have done it,' wrote Susan LYONS from Team Stelmar, 'at 05:33:37 hours GMT precisely we crossed the finishing line and won leg six.'

'This is just unbelievable,' she continued, 'and the skipper and all the crew are going mad right now, jumping and whooping for joy. We are all hugging and kissing each other and the excitement is overwhelming. What a wonderful feeling.'

'We would just love to have a drink or two to celebrate our success but unfortunately, rules and regulations will not allow us to drink whilst sailing. As there will not be enough water for us to enter La Rochelle until high water at 1200 GMT [1400 local time], we are sailing around in circles with somewhat dazed expressions on our faces attempting to be serious and do some boat jobs.'

'After our arrival we watched BG SPIRIT arrive in second place, Imagine It. Done. in third place, BP Explorer in fourth place and Me to You in fifth place. Cheers could be heard emanating from each boat in turn on crossing the finishing line and then we proceeded to circle round and cheer each other.' Since then Barclay's Adventurer, Spirit of Sark, Pindar and Team Save the Children have also crossed the line to take sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth places respectively.

Back on race start day in Boston, USA, Team Stelmar were right there on the line, but the tide was not in their favour and they were unable to judge their start with their normal excellent accuracy, and were over the line three seconds early.

They had to carry out a double penalty turn (720 degrees) once they had exited the Boston Harbour designated start area. However, until then they could race with the rest of the fleet, and were lying fifth as they passed Deer Island.

COSBY and crew continued to mix it with the pack in the exhilarating downwind sailing of the core crew's third transatlantic leg, gradually creeping their way up the order. By day eight, they were leading the following pack chasing SAIC La Jolla to the south.

On day ten, as SAIC La Jolla's southerly advantage disappeared and Team Stelmar moved into first place. Their lead fluctuated and gradually dwindled on the final approach to La Rochelle but they defended their lead all the way to the last, keeping themselves between the chasing pack and the finish line long enough to secure first place.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The Stelmar crew celebrate:© Challenge Business
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