Team BG Spirit takes the crown of the last leg and the glory of the race

Global Challenge yacht BG Spirit has taken the crown – they have claimed first in the final leg and first overall in the Global Challenge 2004/05.

They had a battle on their hands the whole way in this fierce and final leg but arrived first, just four minutes in front of Barclays Adventurer, their official finish arrival time being 10.54.08 GMT.

Skipper, Andy Forbes was greeted by Sir Chay Blyth and presented with the magnificent Princess Royal Trophy. He hugged Sir Chay and explained: “It’s absolutely unbelievable; what an incredible nine and a half months and to be back here where we left, and in first place, is just amazing.”

Tens of thousands of friends, families and spectators packed the finish line from Southsea Castle to Gunwharf Quays – the yachts’ final resting place.

Forbes continued: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted about the amount of people here today and the support out on the water; I didn’t even think we were going to get across the line at one point!”

But they did get in and in first once again. Talking about his winning team he continued: “I’m just proud to be part of them, I mean this is what its all about. I’m just a skipper that drives the boat! These are the guys that sail the boat, 70 per cent of them are inexperienced and have never really sailed before and here they are after 9.5 months, 33,000 miles, sailed around the world and in first place, incredible!”

Barclays Adventurer finished at 10.58.16 GMT and provisionally hold second place but currently have an ‘Intention to Protest’ against them which means they have a slightly nervous wait to see if the protest is submitted.

Jumping off the yacht skipper Stuart Jackson looked elated and told the crowds: “It’s been absolutely amazing today, coming in second was just fantastic. We gave BG SPIRIT a hard fight but second still feels great.” Congratulating his crew by pouring as much Champagne over them as possible he cheered that they were: “Absolutely amazing, the best in the fleet, the best there is!”

VAIO were over the line 26 minutes and 5 seconds after BG SPIRIT, 18 minutes and 57 seconds behind Barclays Adventurer, finishing at 11.19.13 GMT. An exuberant skipper, Amedeo Sorrentino enthused: “We got third!” However, he looked less enamoured when he explained: “After the Needles we ran aground because of a rock and that’s why we came third,” he explained modestly. “But it was a great, great experience.”

SAIC La Jolla finished in 4th followed by a scrum led by Pindar. Team Stelmar followed next just over one minute in front of Me To You who were three minutes in front of Imagine It. Done. Samsung were another two minutes behind, with Spirit of Sark eight minutes behind again.

In his interview, skipper Duggie Gillespie said he was devastated to be out of the podium positions for the overall race. In 11th place Team Save the Children were just four minutes behind Spirit of Sark.

BP Explorer missed a waypoint (the PA Buoy) just outside La Rochelle, so they had to turn back and round the mark to avoid potential disqualification. Hence they are nearly 100 miles behind the rest of the fleet. They will still take a podium place, finishing in third overall but it has been a disappointing blow for a team, which was leading for so much of the race.