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22 November 2003, 02:19 pm
Hellomoto Wins Open 50
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Transat Jacques Vabre
Salvador de Bahaia

On the day that England and Australia produced the closest and greatest final of Rugby's World Cup, the Aussi-Brit pairing of Paul LARSEN and Conrad HUMPHREYS sealed their own joint victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre.
Their Hellomoto arrived in Salvador de Bahia with a 500 mile lead over the second placed Open 50.

"I'm just ecstatic," said a very excited Humphreys, shortly after crossing the finish line. "It's not really sunk in yet - I feel numb. It's been such an incredible race. Between our router Lee (BRUCE), Paul and I, we were able to keep it all together and make the breaks just when we needed to. Those storms of the first few days really took their toll, physically and mentally. In conditions where it felt as though Hellomoto would come apart, we had to dig deep. Then the Doldrums gave us our big break - clever routing and some bold moves with the squalls allowed us to scoot through a maze of light winds and into the Trades. From then on, we just pushed for every bit of speed to catch the 60s, and make the final party."

For Paul LARSEN, the win represents a successful defence of his title from the 2001 race which he sailed with Alex Bennett. "It's great to be at the end of what's been a very long and challenging course. Weatherwise, it was a real game of 'snakes and ladders'. Fortunately, I think we got most of the ladders in our fleet. Certain weather windows were quite small and made for a large overall separation in the fleet. The race really had everything, with the first few days being bloody hard work. There was a lot of pressure on Conrad to pull this off. We couldn't afford a repeat of the events of last year's Route du Rhum, yet we still had to push the boat. I'm happy for him and glad for myself for making it two out of two. It's a very satisfying finish and my thanks to everyone."

Humphreys was quick to acknowledge the support and efforts of the team behind him. "They've been just fantastic," said Conrad. "It's been a very tough campaign and resources have been limited. But the team has stuck with us every step of the way - Motorola, the guys back at the ranch, everybody. This is for them as much as it is for us and I can't wait to see them all again and to share it with them. But until I do, you'll just have to excuse me if I enjoy the moment!"

Further details and results are available on the event website at the address below.
Karen Hodges (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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