Leg Three was won in spectacular style today by Sydney skipper Andy FORBES who led his team home to triumphant victory by crossing the finish at the Sydney Opera House in a time of 7days 2hrs 11ms and 4s
Just 15 minutes and 20 seconds behind them were SAIC La Jolla
- their first podium place - and Me to You
an agonising 6 minutes and 20 seconds behind them. This was also Me to You's
first podium place, making the race still open to a huge contingent of the fleet.
, who have suffered a disappointing first two legs crossed the finish line exuberant in fourth place just 2 minutes and 4 seconds in front of BP Explorer
. sixth place went to Samsung
, Spirit of Sark
in seventh, Team Stelmar
in 8th, Barclays Adventurer
taking 9th, VAIO
10th, Team Save the Children
in 11th and last place to Imagine It. Done.
A brave southerly gamble paid off for winning skipper, Andy FORBES who explained: "There was a lot of work behind the scenes in Wellington. We had a plan; we had a strategy and we stuck to it. We were drawn in to one-to-ones with a number of the fleet, BP Explorer being one of them, but to be in 11th place 36 hour ago and to pull it off was awesome.
There were times we felt nervous but we saw the wind south and to be honest we were surprised that more boats weren't down there. Last night these guys trimmed - we had guys on the bow and it was blowing 30knots but they sat up there with torches all night.
It's indescribable, unbelievable, fantastic and something I've dreamed of doing for so long."
On a sunny summer day in Sydney a huge spectator fleet welcomed the teams to Australia. The atmosphere was electric as crowds packed the pontoons in Darling Harbour to welcome their heroes in and crews cheered each other as they pulled in, one after another, to the guest pontoon, which will be home to the yachts for the next two weeks.
Sir Chay BLYTH was there to crack the champagne open as the team songs blasted as the yachts proudly sailed in, against the backdrop of the magnificent Sydney skyline.
Next stop Cape Town, but for now two weeks of celebration, rest, recuperation and a justified sense of pride for the twelve teams have now sailed half way round the world