Brian Thompson and his crew aboard the giant catamaran Doha 2006 crossed the finish line on Saturday morning to win the Oryx Quest

Brian Thompson and his crew aboard the giant catamaran Doha 2006 crossed the finish line on Saturday morning to win the Oryx Quest.

Thompson and his talented team stormed across the finish line off Doha precisely 62 days, 21 hours, 1 minute and 22 seconds after they left the fair shores of the Gulf State of Qatar. The wind was a steady 12 to 13 knots and the boat approached on a close reach sailing at 15 knots. They crossed the line close to the coastguard cutter that was the official finish boat providing the dignitaries on board with a terrific show as they rocketed past. A warm Qatari sun blazed down sparkling on the turquoise water as they crew threw their arms in the air in jubilation and lit flares to mark their win.

The official finish time for Doha 2006 was 08:01:22 GMT, 11:01:22 local time, just 2 hours and 58 minutes short of nine weeks at sea.

The last week of their around-the-world odyssey has been especially tedious for the team as they battled headwinds, or no wind. In fact it has been a long, hard slog all the way from south of South Africa but perhaps the worst part of the voyage has been the last 400 miles in the Strait of Hormuz. The wind died completely leaving the giant catamaran to float helplessly on a glassy sea.

Finally, during Friday night a steady wind filled in and the cat loped toward the finish line. First the shimmering haze off the desert sands reflected in the clear sky then signs of civilization as a small fleet of spectator boats approached the boat. Finally, just before they crossed the line, the square-topped outline of the high-rise buildings in Doha came into view and then suddenly it was over. The finish gun fired and the race officially ended for Doha 2006.

An elated Brian Thompson gave the credit to his crew, one of the most accomplished teams of offshore sailors ever assembled. “I am lucky to have sailed around the globe with some of the best multihull sailors in the world,” he said. “This is a truly great team and our victory is as much theirs as it is mine. We started as a team of sailors and finished as a team of best friends.”

While Thompson and the Doha 2006 crew celebrate their win, Tony Bullimore and his team have hit the doldrums. Their boat speed for the last four hours has hovered between two and five knots; not exactly thrilling sailing, but perhaps a taste of what the next ten days might have to offer before they too will enjoy life on land.