Leg 7 win in Portsmouth means VOR victory for Team ABN AMRO One 20/5/06

Mike Sanderson and crew aboard the Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed ABN AMRO One crossed the Portsmouth finish line at 2330 GMT, 0030 local time clinching not only Leg 7 but the overall win of the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race.

By winning six of the seven legs Team ABN AMRO One have impressively notched up enough points to put them safely in first place with still two legs to go.

Last night’s conditions in 52kt winds were, according to Mike Sanderson “The worst conditions of the race. The seas were horrendous and it was incredibly stressful. We had the keel virtually all the way down in an effort to depower and maintain some sort of control down the waves.”

Sadly the atmosphere here in Portsmouth tonight reflects the feelings of sadness of the death of ABN AMRO Two crewman Hans Horrevoets who died at sea on Thursday morning. What should have been a joyous occasion is instead an occasion of sorrow, and charged emotions, with families, friends and well wishers quietly expressing their feelings of relief as the crew from the ABN AMRO One stepped ashore.

Despite the events of the last few days in what has been undoubtedly the toughest part of the race so far, the heros aboard the winning yacht found time to chat about today’s incredibly tough day at sea and raise a smile as they were handed their trophy for winning Leg 7.

Meanwhile out in the Channel the battle continues for second place with Ericsson managing to retain a 15-mile advantage over Pirates of the Caribbean.

Further down the fleet there’s more problems for movistar who has suffered damage to the keel area. As a precaution the team has asked race headquarters to put surrounding rescue organisations, including the Falmouth Coast Guard, on standby. Apparently that the boat was taking on water earlier today. The pumps are coping with the ingress of water and the crew has stabilised the problem.

Their current position is 410 miles west south west of Land’s End and they are sailing at 10 knots in 22 knots of wind. The sea state is rough, with waves of six metres.

ABN AMRO Two has altered course to standby and Brunel is also on standby to assist if required.