|Photographs by DPPI/Jacques Vapillon|
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Dispatch No. 14:
March 26, 2001
[Note: nationalgeographic.com does not research or copyedit dispatches.]
It was a spectacular day for a team that deserved the tumultuous welcome they received when they crossed the finish line of The Race shortly after 10 oclock local time on Saturday. They began their circumnavigation in grand style, and they returned in grand style and thats about all you can ask from a crew that has sailed around the world and prevailed where others would have faltered. The trials, tribulations, breakdowns, freezing cold of the Southern Ocean, blasting heat of the tropics and never ending slap, slap of waves on the hulls is all behind them as Cam, Larry and the entire team savored their arrival in Marseille. The last day had not been easy with fickle winds slowing their progress to a crawl, but just before dawn an easterly wind picked up and they tore into the finish doing 28 knots and flying a hull. It was a spectacular sight by anyones measure. Just before dawn, Cam sent his final email from the race course.
It is just getting light. We are in the bay of Marseilles. Basically it is over. We could cross the line, quietly slip into the harbor and head for the boulangeries for some pain de chocolates and croissants, hop in our bunks and wait for everybody to wake up and stare at us already tied up. Everybody is asleep or just wandering home from the nightclubs. Instead we decided to chill out, wait for some daylight and give all of our friends and family a chance to come out and cheers us in for the last few miles. Kind of a Hollywood finish. Hey this is show biz and it will be a great day for some TV and photos, so why not wait, there is no danger of being passed.
And a TV finish it was, with a hundred thousand spectators crowding every vantage point around Marseille from the breakwaters, hills, and the old battlements, and taking to the water in a flotilla of escort boats that jammed in tight around the big cat as she motored majestically to her berth at the Race Village inside the old port. A fireboat cascaded curtains of water and two big harbor tugs hovered on the edge of the small boat fleet as the little boats jostled for the best view. Horns, whistles and sirens competed with the cheering and clapping crowds. As soon as the Race Director had cleared them, Cams two children Max and Beau, and Larrys two kids Max and Willie clambered over the lifelines and embraced their fathers whom they had not seen for 82 daysa lifetime in any childs mind. They were closely followed by TRUMP, the cartoon mascot of Team Adventures principal sponsor, Monster.com. Still on the dock were the wives, girlfriends, race officials and the thousands of well wishers that had turned out to welcome them home. It was the largest turnout for any of the race boats. Team Adventure had obviously touched the hearts of many ordinary people and they showed up in force to welcome them home. The crew were obviously moved and emotional knowing that they had eventually made it back safely and in a few days it will sink in just what they have accomplished. Cam made a short speech:
I would like to thank the thousands of school children who have followed our progress around the world. I hope that we have provided you with some inspiration and a little motivation to have some adventures of your own. I would also like to thank the many supporters, helpers, fans, friends and fellow citizens whose collective energy got us around the planet.
The Race is over for Team Adventure, but new adventures await. On April 5 they will depart from Spain to sail a voyage of discovery tracing the route that Christopher Columbus took over 500 years ago sailing to the new world.
Brian Hancock, Shore Crew