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The wind filled in, the sails stretched out and the fleet waved goodbye to Rio. Once again the city has taken the event to its heart, with provisional figures showing that 84,000 people passed through the race village doors between March 20 and now.
In fact, so keen were the locals, they barely let the sailors go. Torben Grael, the home favourite, was mobbed everywhere he went on his final day. He was brought to a halt by a swarm of autograph hunters as he made his way to the dock this afternoon, and then photographed incessantly by press and public.
A couple of television teams and a smattering of reporters then formed a not-so-orderly queue and collected his thoughts. In all, there were 207 references to the race in 42 print publications in Brazil, and it's a fair shout that the majority focused on the man with five Olympic medals. By the time he finally got onboard, his name was being chanted by areas of the crowd. And when the race started a flotilla of spectators, counted in their hundreds, followed his every move. I
f they were a hindrance, Grael's waving and smiling did little to dissuade them. On the land, people crammed the shoreline to see what the fuss was about. Some went to greater extremes than others, not least the 50 or so people that climbed onto the steep face of Sugarloaf Mountain for a better view.
They would have been pleased to see Grael and Ericsson 4 sneak past Telefonica Black to claim the lead shortly after a lap of Guanabara Bay. Thereafter, the fleet disappeared from view, destined for Boston some 4,900 miles away.
It remains to be seen if Grael can claim his first offshore win since leg two, but if he doesn't it will not be for a lack of support.

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