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1 May 2003, 10:48 am
LogicaCMG Takes Victory
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Logica© Challenge Business

Round Britain Challenge

In the early hours of this morning (00.24BST) LogicaCMG crossed the finish line to become the victors pipping Spirit of Southampton to the post, in the inaugural Round Britain Challenge.

Spirit of Southampton, just behind LogicaCMG, crossed the finish line at 01:51BST, The Daily Telegraph, in third, crossed at 03.53 BST, BG Group at 05:09, Basilica at 05:42:06 and Spirit of Hong Kong at 06.21. Vail Williams, currently lying in seventh place is due to cross the finish line at 11am and Team Spirit at 12pm today.

No one could have predicted the winner in this fiercely fought 1,800 mile race as the two lead yachts battled it out on the waters of the English Channel in an unending game of cat and mouse. But it was Duggie Gillespie, skipper of LogicaCMG, supported by Mate Joanna Summers, who found both the wind and tidal advantage they were looking for, in the eleventh hour, to grab the lead off Spirit of Southampton.

Duggie Gillespie explained at the finish: "It was hard work. It was easier weather wise but a lot tougher competition wise. There are a lot of good guys out there putting the pressure on. We were way down there in the pack and they were making really good decisions. We weren't. Slowly a couple of good decisions were made at the end."

These decisions obviously paid off for Duggie and his team who were celebrating their victory with a steady stream of beer, champagne and 'real food'. With them was a large number of family and friends who had braved the early hours of the morning to greet the yacht, as it cruised sleekly into Ocean Village lit up by flares at around 2am this morning!

LogicaCMG were then the first to congratulate Spirit of Southampton who followed about 90 minutes later as rivals melted and friendships were reformed, many having trained together in previous months. The marquee in Ocean Village was buzzing with excitement all night as more and more friends, families, supporters, and those held fascinated by the race, streamed in to offer their support to these hardy sailors.

The crews are tired, after the final few hours of racing but jubilant to be back, if not a little daunted as Deborah Stephenson, Crew Volunteer aboard The Daily Telegraph explained at the dockside: "everyone had mixed feelings heading up Southampton waters - it's an end of an era and everyone will have fond memories of this, on our boat certainly."

The same will ring true on all the yachts as the Round Britain Challenge goes down in yacht racing history and remains firmly etched on the hearts of everyone involved.

Stay tuned for Vail Williams and Team Spirit's cross of the finish line and to hear interviews with both skippers. Their welcome into Ocean Village is set to be even bigger than the front boats, as daylight hours beckon more people down, and the rest of the crews are resolute to cheer their fellow teammates in. Last but by no means least.

Rachel Anning
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