BG Spirit heads the leaderboard after leg 5 of the Global Challenge

All the yachts in the Global Challenge have now finished Leg 5, the longest leg in the race. The last yacht, Pindar, made her entrance into Boson Harbour yesterday morning. And crews are now taking time out to enjoy the city of Massachusetts.

BG Spirit’s bold tactical move east paid huge dividends for the crew who shot into first and claimed the longest lead win in the event’s history – 36 hours. A jubilant skipper, Andy Forbes commented: “We didn’t expect it to pay off as much as it has done. “We moved into different weather systems and it was pretty much all done and dusted. For some reason our lead just kept extending and extending – it was an amazing feeling.”

BG Spirit also won Leg 3 in a similarly brave fashion by making a bold move to the south of the course when the rest of the fleet stayed north; a result which earned them first place on the overall leaderboard. “When we left Sydney we were four points clear,” said Forbes, “but when we left Cape Town we were four points behind. We said then that things could change and it looks like they might.”

Leg 1 winners, Barclays Adventurer came in second with Vaio in third, a team who look like they have finally put their inter crew unrest behind them to put them back to podium place standing. Skipper, Amedeo Sorrentino explained his jubilation on the dockside: “It’s a great result for us and we were fighting for first all the way. It was very stressful for routing and navigation though but a podium place was our target.

“It has a special meaning for all of the Vaio crew as we had some problems early on in the race. In Cape Town we found some group harmony and spirit and this is the result of it. It’s the result of coming together as a team with the same goals of pushing the same direction.”

Talking about BG Spirit’s tactical decision, which won them the leg, the Italian skipper explained: “It was so courageous heading north and around the high pressure that they deserve their victory 100 per cent.”

The close finishes which have characterised the race then started to appear with Saic La Jolla – who led throughout much of the early stages of the leg – who came in 3.5 hours behind Vaio.

BP Explorer, desperate to get in fifth to retain their overall first place standing, was followed by arch rivals Spirit of Sark who they have shared much of the limelight with, each finding the other near impossible to shake off.

It looked like Spirit of Sark was going to catch BP Explorer – after a near suicidal tactical error grounded them – but they managed to pull it off by a staggering 1 minute 32 seconds, to take fifth place.

Right behind the two teams – still desperate for a podium place after they were piped to the first place post in Leg 4 – was Imagine. It Done, just 3 min 25 seconds minutes behind Spirit of Sark.

In keeping with the exceptionally close finish times were Team Stelmar coming in eighth just in front of Me to You, eight minutes behind. This is after 36 solid days of racing.

Samsung arrived in 10th followed by Team Save the Children in 11th. Pindar’s arrival completed the fleet.

“It’s a disappointing result,” said skipper Loz Marriott just after crossing the line. “It’s been very frustrating for the crew and myself [because] we’ve performed so much better in the past.”

Talking about their results in previous legs Loz said: “We were feeling good about our progression and development as a team and it showed from Wellington to Sydney and Sydney to Cape Town, but something went wrong on this leg … we need to discuss it as a team, learn from our mistakes and bounce back for the next leg.”

The outcome of Leg 5 and hence the overall leg results will now be wholly dependent on the outcome of the jury, following a protest lodged against BP Explorer by Imagine It. Done. Matthew Ratsey, Technical Director Challenge Business issued the official statement: “Today Monday 6 June at 1930 EST skipper of Imagine It. Done Dee Caffari submitted a protest against BP Explorer for an alleged ‘luffing after sunset’ incident earlier on the 6 June at 0052 UTC. The protest was lodged within the required timescales as specified in the General Sailing Instructions. The protest hearing is currently scheduled to be heard on Saturday 11 June. Further information to follow.”

Positions (leg 5)

1. BG SPIRIT – 34 days 0h 24 minutes 10seconds

2. Barclays Adventurer – 35d 14 h 24 m 10s

3. VAIO – 35 d 17g 21m 0s

4. SAIC – 35 d 20h 56 m 45 s

5. BP Explorer – 36d 1h 5m 28s

6. Spirit of Sark – 36d 1h 7m 0s

7. Imagine It. Done – 36d 1 h 10m 25s

8. Team Stelmar – 36d 16h 2m 46s

9. Me to You – 36d 16h 10m 36s

10. Samsung – 36d 18h 44m 20s

11. Team Save the Children – 37d 4h 20m 52 s

12. Pindar – 37d 14h 19m 25s