Cheers, standing ovations and an electric sense of camaraderie contributed to a fantastic atmosphere at the prizegiving ceremony in Wellington on Wednesday evening.
Frankie STEVENS, one of New Zealand's best-loved entertainers with an international singing, acting and performing career spanning 30 years, was Master of Ceremonies.
He began proceedings by introducing Sir Chay BLYTH, Executive Chairman of race organisers Challenge Business, who in turn welcomed Her Worship Mayor Kerry PRENDERGAST, Mayor of Wellington to the stage. After she had welcomed the Global Challenge and everyone present to Wellington, a buffet dinner was served from all four corners of the room.
BP Safety Award
First up after the dinner was the BP Safety Award, which is devised using a matrix of safety aspects, with each one awarded points by the Challenge Business Technical Team. Frank van HATTUM, BP New Zealand Logistics Manager presented the prize to Dee CAFFARI, who collected the accolade of behalf of Imagine It. Done.
BG 24- Hour Run
The BG 24-hour Run Record Award was next up, presented by Stephen MOIR, Commodore of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club. The victors were Team Stelmar
, who accrued an impressive 259 miles over 24 hours on 10 December.
They had diverted from the racecourse to drop an ill crewmember off, and their record run came as they burst back into the race, quickly moving from twelfth to fifth after spending 19 hours off the course. Team Stelmar
were treated to a standing ovation from everyone present, not simply for their prize, but in recognition of their courage, sheer determination and ability to bond as a team in the face of adversity after a second incident meant they had to turn back to seek medical assistance for Tim JOHNSTON. Their subsequent battle against time to reach Wellington in time for maintenance work and safety checks caught the imagination of many; inspired by their journey.
International Association of Cape Horners
Spirit of Sark
was the next team to collect a prize - the BURGEE of the International Association of Cape Horners - after rounding the infamous Cape at the head of the fleet. Captain Charles SMITH, Marine Services Manager for the port of Wellington presented the award to skipper Duggie GILLESPIE.
Unisys/EMC Media Prize
One of the biggest cheers of the evening rang out when John DAWSON, City Events Manager for Wellington City Council, presented the Unisys/EMC Media Prize (for best footage on this leg) to Imagine It. Done
, and a well-deserved standing ovation followed. The audience showing great empathy with the difficult circumstances the team faced and admiration for the manner in which the situation was handled when crewman John MASTERS became seriously ill and was airlifted from the yacht.
Unisys/EMC Rubber Chicken Award
|Winner of Best Photo Award
© Me To You/Challenge Business
The Unisys/EMC Rubber Chicken Award recognises the most comical or unusual incident whilst the crews are at sea and nobody could argue that Amedeo SORRENTINO was the rightful recipient! The crew of VAIO
reported (with photographic evidence) that their skipper was patrolling the deck for 24 hours a day after an emergency warning was sent to the fleet about the possibility of falling spacecraft! Brian O'SULLIVAN, Sales Director, Systems and Technology, Unisys New Zealand, presented the prize.
Best Photograph Award sponsored by VAIO
The Best Photograph Award sponsored by VAIO was presented to James ALLEN, skipper of Me to You
by Stuart BURNESS of Sony UK. The photograph (right) depicts the rough and tumble of life on the foredeck and skilfully captures a Southern Ocean wave coming over the bow of Me to You
as the crew grab on to anything solid to avoid being washed down the deck.
Best Christmas Dinner Award sponsored by Carte Blanche
The Best Christmas Dinner sponsored by Carte Blanche was presented by Chairman of Carte Blanche, Stephen HAINES, and accepted by Stuart JACKSON, skipper of Barclays Adventurer
, on behalf of all the team, who enjoyed the most impressive festive culinary feat of the fleet!
Challenge Business' Logistics Director, Alistair HACKETT, then presented Life Flight, who airlifted John MASTERS from Imagine It. Done.
as they approached Chatham Island, with a framed photograph as a mark of appreciation on behalf of Challenge Business and everyone involved. The operation was a great success, involving the co-ordination of many and immense bravery of a few, enabling John to be transferred to Wellington for vital further medical assistance. A standing ovation followed.
Before the final prizes of the evening were awarded, special thanks were extended to Wellington, whose hospitality has made the fleet's stopover so enjoyable, and in particular some of the shore team who made it all possible on the ground, including: John DAWSON and Tim CROOKS of Absolutely Positively Wellington, John KARL and Perry WALKER of Positively Wellington Waterfront, Mike BOSWELL of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club and Tim COSSAR, of positively Wellington Tourism.
Alistair then extended heartfelt thanks on behalf of Challenge Business and everyone involved in the evacuation of John MASTERS from Imagine It. Done
. to Dave GREENBERG, Crew Chief of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter who whisked John to land and safety from the choppy and difficult conditions of the Southern Ocean.
The podium places!
The first three teams over the finish line were then awarded with the leg prizes, hard-won across the Southern Ocean from Buenos Aires. BG SPIRIT
skipper Andy FORBES was first up to accept the prize for third place from Keith McGAVIN, CEO Wellington Waterfront Ltd.
Then David MELVILLE, skipper of BP Explorer
, was presented with the second place prize by Stephen MOIR, Commodore of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club - both skippers were cheered on by the whole audience as they collected their awards.
Sir Chay BLYTH then returned to the stage to introduce the prize for first place on the second leg. Duggie GILLESPIE, skipper of victorious Spirit of Sark
was awarded the coveted accolade by Her Worship Mayor Kerry PRENDERGAST, Mayor of Wellington. He was joined on stage by his whole team and accepted the award to rapturous applause and cheering from all in attendance.
Sir Chay BLYTH rounded off the ceremony, wished everyone a good night and the celebrations continued…