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Challenge mastered by Golding's Group 4

Mike Golding's Group 4 led the 14-strong fleet home to Southampton yesterday at the end of the sixth and final leg from Boston of the BT Global Challenge round the world race.

"We had a terrific time," he said. "Our success was largely due to the fact that the crew were all enjoying themselves as well as working hard.

"We were in this to win," he said. "We never contemplated any other result from the very beginning."

Golding's total time over the course, which also took the amateur crews each paying up to pounds 20,000 for the trip, from Southampton to Rio de Janeiro, Wellington, Sydney and Cape Town, was 161 days, 5 hours, 25 minutes and 18 seconds.

Second into Southampton in the early hours of yesterday morning and also second overall was Simon Walker in Toshiba. His time of 163 days, 11 hours, 14 minutes and 34 seconds was almost 54 hours slower.

"The guys have done an absolutely superb job," Walker said. "I'm really proud of every single one of them."

Third back from Boston was Chris Tibbs on Concert with a leading BT executive, Dr Alan Rudge, in the crew. Any chance of a podium place in the overall standings had been lost for Tibbs when his yacht was dismasted on the second leg from Rio to Wellington. But Tibbs said: "We consider ourselves one of the three top boats and it proved itself again today."

Most of the remainder of the boats were due in yesterday but a special welcome is reserved today for the crew of Time & Tide, skippered by James Hatfield. They are largely disabled or recovering from disability.

Despite some friction and injuries on the way round they have achieved their objective to be the first disabled crew to sail around the world and they did it over a course which goes against the prevailing winds and currents. They are expected to be in time for a champagne breakfast.