Paprec-Virbac 2 wins Barcelona World Race

The 60-ft yacht that won the round-the-world race is a Farr Yacht Design made with carbon fiber materials.

At 20h 49.49 on day 93, Jean-Pierre Dick and Damian Foxall steered Paprec-Virbac 2 across the finishing line to win the Barcelona World Race. Their 25,000-mile journey, non-stop around the planet, has taken exactly three months, and been an impressive display of speed and seamanship.

"This was our whole life, and all our energy and we are obviously very emotional,"said skipper Jean-Pierre Dick, leaning over the lifelines and addressing the media as his boat pulled up to the pontoon in Barcelona.

The victory has been hard earned and impressive. The dynamic French-Irish duo has held the lead for the majority of the race, fending off early challenges from PRB and Veolia Environnement to grab the lead for good on December 7th. More recently, it's been Hugo Boss clipping at the heels of Jean-Pierre and Damian as they made their way back up the Atlantic Ocean.

Real obstacles came in the form of icebergs and equipment breakage. Deep in the southern latitudes, Paprec-Virbac 2 played 'Russian Roulette' with icebergs on several occasions, escaping unscathed, except for the toll the added stress and fatigue had taken on the two skippers.

Shortly after passing through Cook Strait, they hit an object in the water, seriously damaging their rudder system. But the were able to fix this without stopping. Then, after rounding Cape Horn, their forestay broke, and dismasting was a likely outcome. But again, quick thinking and on-board acumen allowed them to fashion a repair that would hold to the finish.

Finally, the ascent up the Atlantic turned into a marathon. First, lighter than normal headwinds slowed their progress. Then, fierce headwinds and terrifying seas made their passage through the Strait of Gibraltar terrifying. Now on the home stretch in the Mediterranean Sea, their food supplies started to run thin, making for a pair of hungry and happy sailors as they crossed the finish line tonight for victory.

Jean-Pierre and Damian were to be welcomed at the pontoon in Barcelona by family and friends along with their entire team. The Mayor of Barcelona, Jordi Hereu, was on hand to offer his congratulations. And offshore sailing legend Dame Ellen MacArthur, whose OC Events is a co-organiser of the event, paid tribute as well.

The winning boat, 60 ft/18.2m long, is a carbon fiber/epoxy design by Farr Yacht Design (Annapolis, Md.). It was launched Feb. 2, 2007 at Southern Ocean Marine in New Zealand.