The eight-strong fleet racing in the concluding leg of the Volvo Ocean Race will head out on to the racetrack for the ninth and final time at 1400 today

The eight-strong fleet racing in the concluding leg of the Volvo Ocean Race will head out on to the racetrack for the ninth and final time at 1400 today for a 250-nautical mile sprint from Gothenberg to Kiel.

With everything still to play for between illbruck from Germany, with 54 points, the current race leader and second-placed Assa Abloy from Sweden who has 49 points, the next 24 hours will create some of the closest racing we’ve seen so far.

Should Assa Abloy finish in first position on a total of 57 points, and illbruck finish in sixth on a total 57 points, there would be a tie breaker which Assa Abloy would win. The tie breaker is based on the number of firsts, seconds, thirds etc that each boat has recorded and the current standing is:

Assa Abloy 5, 6, 1, 4, 1, 3 ,2, 1

Illbruck 1, 1, 4, 1, 2, 4, 1, 4

Should Assa Abloy finish in first position on a total of 57 points, and illbruck finish in seventh or eighth position, then Assa Abloy would be the clear winner.

If illbruck finishes in fifth place or higher, regardless of Assa Abloy’s finishing position, then the German team is the overall race winner.

Tyco, News Corp and Amer Sports One, all level with 40 points, will be in combat for third place on the podium overall.

The last two legs of the Volvo Ocean Race have posed considerable inshore racing challenges for the now tired crews, with islands, shoals and strong tides adding to the complexity of leg eight.

On leg nine, the short dash to Kiel, the race track is so constrained by islands that, although the general weather pattern is important, there is little that the fleet will be able to do to avoid unfavourable conditions by sailing a different route.

Instead, what is going to be very important is predicting how the wind field is going to be disturbed by the islands and land encountered. Away from land, the wind should be fairly constant over a relatively large area in both strength and direction. But, through the Kattegat and around the islands of the second half of the leg, the land has a big influence on the wind.

Headlands and hills can cause interruptions in the wind flow, as the same volume of air tries to pass through a smaller space. The heated land may change the direction of the wind and increase its strength making it gustier as the day progresses. Although the route has few alternatives for the navigators to choose from, there can be a big difference in wind strengths between one side of a channel and another. The wind shadow behind hills and headlands will need to be avoided at all costs, as positions will quickly change if any one of the competitors becomes becalmed.

There is also the possibility of including additional course sections to lengthen the course in order to achieve the desired finish time in Kiel on Sunday 9 June. The fleet will be informed of course sections to be inserted no later than 1100 hours local time on Saturday 8 June. For the same reason, it may be necessary to shorten the course. The Race Committee will inform the boats of an intended change of course by Inmarsat C, and by VHF when the leading boat is within five miles from Kiel lighthouse. There will also be a committee vessel flying a flag stationed at that point.

Current standings

Illbruck 54 points

Assa Abloy 49 points

Amer Sports One 40 points

News Corp 40 points

v Tyco 40 points

SEB 29 points

Djuice 25 points

Amer Sports Too 11 points

Crew lists for Leg


Phil AIREY (New Zealand)

Bouwe BEKKING (Netherlands)

Jeff BROCK (Canada)

Claudio CELON (Italy)

Grant DALTON (New Zealand)

Fredrik LOOF (Sweden)

Chris NICHOLSON (Australia)

Roger NILSON (Sweden)


Pepe RIBES RUBIO (Spain)

Stefano RIZZI (Italy)




Christine BRIAND (France)

Joanna BURCHELL (United Kingdom)

Anna DROUGGE (Sweden)

Keryn HENDERSON (New Zealand)


Miranda MERRON (United Kingdom)


Abby SEAGER (United Kingdom)

Bridget SUCKLING (New Zealand)

Willemien VAN HOEVE (Netherlands)

Liz WARDLEY (Australia)

Emma WESTMACOTT (Australia)

Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN (Netherlands)



Jason CARRINGTON (United Kingdom)

Sidney GAVIGNET (France)

Michael HOWARD (USA)

Mike JOUBERT (South Africa)


Richard MASON (New Zealand)

Jules MAZARS (France)

Neal McDONALD (United Kingdom)

Klas NYLOF (Sweden)

Magnus OLSSON (Sweden)


Stu WILSON (New Zealand)



Jean-Yves BERNOT (France)

Herve CUNNINGHAM (France)

Knut FROSTAD (Norway)

Espen GUTTORMSEN (Norway)

Mikael LUNDH (Sweden)

Anthony NOSSITER (Australia)

Jacques VINCENT (France)

Jonas WACKENHUTH (Sweden)

Jeff SCOTT (New Zealand)

Off Stig WESTERGAARD (Denmark)

Erle WILLIAMS (New Zealand)

Arve ROAAS (Norway)


Jean-Yves BERNOT (France)

Illbruck Challenge

Edward ADAMS (USA)

Stuart BANNATYNE (New Zealand)

Stu BETTANY (New Zealand)

Mark CHRISTENSEN (New Zealand)

Richard CLARKE (Canada)

Ray DAVIES (New Zealand)

Dirk DE RIDDER (Netherlands)

Jamie GALE (New Zealand)

Ross HALCROW (New Zealand)

Tony KOLB (Germany)


Juan VILA (Spain)


Team News Corp

Peter DORIEN (Australia)

Damien DUKE (Australia)

Jez FANSTONE (United Kingdom)

Matthew HUMPHRIES (United Kingdom)


Gordon MAGUIRE (Ireland)

Alby PRATT (Australia)

Craig SMITH (New Zealand)

Justin SLATTERY (Ireland)

Ian (Barney) WALKER (Australia)


Campbell FIELD (New Zealand)

Nigel KING (United Kingdom)

Jeremy ROBINSON (United Kingdom)



Team SEB

Rodney ARDERN (New Zealand)


Tom BRAIDWOOD (Australia)

Gareth COOKE (New Zealand)

Steve COTTON (Australia)

Jon GUNDERSEN (New Zealand)

Glen KESSELS (United Kingdom)

Gunnar KRANTZ (Sweden)

Tony MUTTER (New Zealand)

David ROLFE (New Zealand)

Marcel VAN TRIEST (Netherlands)

Magnus WOXEN (Sweden)


Anthony MERRINGTON (Australia)



Team Tyco

Jan DEKKER (South Africa)

David ENDEAN (New Zealand)

Damian FOXALL (Ireland)

Steve HAYLES (United Kingdom)

Brad JACKSON (New Zealand)

Gerrard MITCHELL (United Kingdom)

Tim POWELL (United Kingdom)

Robert SALTHOUSE (New Zealand)

Kevin SHOEBRIDGE (New Zealand)

Grant SPANHAKE (New Zealand)

Jonathon SWAIN (South Africa)


Mike QUILTER (New Zealand)

Guy SALTER (United Kingdom)


Damian FOXALL (Ireland)