ABN AMRO One victorious in hometown of Rotterdam in today's VOR in-port race 11/6/06

The weather remained challenging for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet with shifty and light conditions prevailing throughout the day for the Rotterdam in-port race.

Sandwiched between a sprawling high-pressure system centred over Berlin and a strong low to the east of the UK, the breeze on the Maas was inconsistent and unpredictable. A right-hand shift in the gradient wind resulted in a short postponement but at the start the breeze was up to 10kts and all six boats went for the committee boat end of the line, with ABN One and Brunel making great starts in front of their home crowd. Ericsson was over early and had to gybe off to the other side of the course.

With ABN One in the lead, the battle was on between Pirates of the Caribbean and Brasil, fighting not so much for 2nd and 3rd in the in-port but for final podium standings. Positions at the first windward mark were: ABN One, Brasil, Pirates. As the wind dropped, Brasil made good gains, sailing lower with her spinnaker pole in light airs than the bow-sprit boats either side of her.

ABN One split from the pack up to the second windward mark, taking the port side of the course to look for more breeze in an extremely fortunate gamble that saw her extend her lead from 8 seconds to 1 minute and 20 seconds at the windward mark. The dropping wind on the other side saw the rest of the fleet struggling, and the course was shortened by a lap.

ABN are, of course, now celebrating along with their fans. Not so for the Brunel – the Dutch sponsored entry — who has had a disappointing couple of days in her homeland. Not only did she finish 5th in the in-port rather than the
podium place the team crave, but she missed a turning mark just 32nm from the finish yesterday. Following a protest issued by the Race Commitee, Brunel today announced her retirement from Leg 8.

Rotterdam in-port finish times

ABN ONE: 1hr 55m 32s
Brasil: 1hr 58m 52s
PotC: 1hr 59m 43s
Ericsson: 2hr 1m 17s
Brunel: 2hr 7m 2s
ABN TWO: 2hr 8m 33s