In the closest ever Volvo Ocean Race or Whitbread finish movistar finishes just nine seconds ahead of ABN AMRO ONE

In a nailbiting finish the VO70 movistar finally came good after two failure-ridden legs in the Volvo Ocean Race and finished first in Wellington, just nine seconds ahead of ABN AMRO ONE, the latter having led for much of the race only to lose a 32 mile lead in the final, light airs, 40 miles to the finish. Also proving a point with a similarly problem-plagued first two legs was Paul Cayard’s Pirates of the Caribbean team coming in a creditable third, followed by Brasil and then ABN AMRO TWO.

In a surprise move sixth-placed Ericsson turned back from the line and then returned under mainsail alone, declaring that they were suspending racing. This is seen as a tactical move because it means that they will not incur a two hour penalty if they have outside help sorting out problems on the boat. This seems to confirm that they have suffered some kind of failure on the boat, accounting for the poor performance of what should be one of the fastest boats in the fleet.

Meanwhile movistar announced that they were going to take the two hour penalty and immediately lifted the boat and started work on the ‘bomb doors’, the shuttering that covers the keel aperture when it is canted. This is a similar problem to that which caused the Pirates to pull out of leg 1.