The French yacht Groupama, with Kerryman Damian Foxall on board, was declared overall victor in the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Yacht Race.
Only minutes separated the first four in the six-boat fleet, led by Spanish/New Zealand entry Camper, as they swept up the northern shoreline of Galway Bay in inky darkness early Tuesday morning.
There to greet them off Barna was a motley flotilla of yachts, ribs, currachs and assorted craft, most of whom gleefully ignored Garda and Naval Service attempts to maintain a 500-foot corridor through the finishing line.
The American entrant, Puma Ocean Racing, finished third. Team Telefónica ends in fourth place, with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Sanya fifth and sixth, respectively.
“This leg basically sums up our whole regatta,” said Puma skipper Ken Read. “We’re kind of the tough luck kids. We had a nice little lead with about four hours to go. We knew we would be sailing into lighter air, and sure enough that’s what we did. As soon as we parked, everyone came zipping up from behind. It’s happened so many times in this race. Yes it’s a shame, but we give Camper and Groupama credit – they should be very proud and this is a time to congratulate them.”