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Challenge Transat crews recuperate after brutal passage across the North Atlantic

Wednesday October 16th 2002, Author: Rachel Anning, Location: Transoceanic
BP Explorer has arrived in Ocean Village, Southampton safe and well bringing
to the end the racing in the Challenge Transat 2002.

Champagne corks were flying as the sixth and final crew arrived at their destination port yesterday where they were met with rapturous applause and cheers from their friends, family and supporters. Also out in force were the five other yacht crews delighted to see their fellow competitors arrive safely after gale force winds made the final few days of racing some of the most challenging of the event.

All of the six crews will now be recuperating after the tough racing of the Challenge Transat, Race 2 where the crews have experienced surfing down waves of over 20 knots and averaging daily runs of around 250 miles. In fact the fleet was not due in for another couple of days but have been flying to the finish aided and abetted by the gale force conditions. Race organisers, Challenge Business cited that the race has seen the fastest Atlantic crossing of the Global Challenge yachts in their 10-year history.

Jumping off the boat to talk to the press on his return to dry land was skipper Alex Johnson: "It's good to be back! It's also weird and strange being on dry land and hasn't really sunk in yet."

The conditions for the crew has been challenging in the past coupe of days. As Alex explains: "It was tough out there but the guys did well. The conditions worsened in the channel with 60 knots of wind and big old waves. The crew was up for it though and very enthusiastic, working very hard with constant sail changes. They worked well considering they had to deal with a number of setbacks, good stuff."

Mate James Allen added, "yesterday we had no wind and sat there for seven or eight hours but last night we had gale force 10 so literally flew in!"

Complimenting his crew James continued, "they were a cool crew. They kept on going and worked really hard."

However, with all the teams now safely moored in Ocean Village Southampton the next few days will be spent nursing both boats and bruises whilst catching up with friends and family who some people have had virtually no contact with since they left Southampton for the first race back in August.

The Award Ceremony for Race 2 will be taking placed this Saturday (19th October) in Southampton, Ocean Village.

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