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Sail star back on dry land.

British yachtswoman Emma Richards was relieved to be back with her friends and family and sleeping in "a bed which does not move" today after completing the 29,000-mile Around Alone round the world race.

The 28-year-old from the Isle of Wight helmed the 60ft racer Pindar across the finish line at Newport, Rhode Island, USA, at 9.15pm UK time yesterday to be welcomed by her family, a flotilla of small craft and hundreds of well wishers on the dockside.

The elated Richards became the first woman and the youngest person to complete the five-leg race.

After finishing fourth overall - and fifth on the final leg - she said. "It was probably the biggest challenge I will ever face in my life. I'm looking forward to having a few beers with my family and friends and sleeping in a bed that does not move".

In a statement, her parents said: "We are immensely proud of her fantastic achievement.

Emma battled through what she described as the "The perfect storm" when winds gusting up to 70 mph and mountainous seas battered her vessel.

She told her team it "was like being in a washing machine".
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 5, 2003
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