Spanish yacht Mapfre won the duel into Auckland last night, as leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race came to a thrilling conclusion.
The first three boats were separated by just a few minutes, after a fascinating battle down the coast.
It brought back memories of the classic showdown between Steinlager 2 and Fisher & Paykel, when Sir Peter Blake and Grant Dalton fought toe-to-toe into the City of Sails and Blake prevailed by the narrowest of margins.
It was Mapfre's first leg win. There were numerous lead changes across the 5264 nautical mile leg from Sanya, China, to Auckland but the Xabi Fernández-skippered boat went ahead when it mattered.
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"We've [made] a huge effort on this leg and this is a huge moment for the whole team," said Fernandez, who paid credit to his navigation team that ensured good gains by picking the shifts perfectly over the final 24 hours.
Mapfre edged into Auckland just ahead of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, closely followed in third by overall race leader Dongfeng Race Team (China). Team Alvimedica were slightly further back in fourth, with Team Brunei and Team SCA filling out the minor placings.
The teams had been expected to finish in the late afternoon, with Dave Swete - a Kiwi crew member on board Team Alvimedica - hoping to see some of New Zealand's World Cup cricket clash with Australia at Eden Park. But the fleet was frustrated by light winds in the final stages of the leg, dashing hopes of a daylight arrival.
Leg five begins on March 15.