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Final Boat Completes Latest Leg of World Ocean Race; Thoughts Turn to Murdered Former Winner - 2001-12-08

The final boat has now completed the latest leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, as the all-woman crew on "Amer Sports Too" arrived in Sydney, Australia, from Cape Town in South Africa. But the race is still overshadowed by the tragic news of the murder of former race winner, Sir Peter Blake, of New Zealand.

Even as the women arrived in Sydney, for many, including New Zealander Brigit Suckling, first thoughts were not about completing the 6,500 nautical mile trip to Sydney, but the appalling news from Brazil. "The last 24 hours were quite sad because of the news of Peter Blake dying, so there was a bit of a somber mood on board, which kind of takes it away from the excitement of the arrival," she said.

The women were disappointed to finish seventh under American skipper Lisa McDonald, but at least they completed the leg, unlike Team Tyco.

Skipper of the U.S. boat Kevin Shoebridge, also had Peter Blake on his mind. "Basically, he was just a good bloke," he said. "I think he had had enough of the cut and thrust world of professional yachting, and he had always had an interest in the environment, so I'd say he was happy in doing what he was doing. It is just unbelievable it has ended like this."

Shoebridge sailed under Blake in the victorious Steinlager II boat in 1990, which won every leg of the around the world race. Illbruck, under American John Kostecki, is looking to repeat that feat, after winning the first two this time around.