Full House for Farr Boats at yesterday's VOR In-Port race in Baltimore 30/4/06

The results of yesterday’s Volvo Ocean Race Baltimore In-port race saw a huge change to the status quo. Light, shifty conditions in the notoriously fickle Chesapeake Bay helped the Farr-designed boats storm to victory, with the four Farr entries taking the first four places. Movistar finished first, then Brasil, with home side Pirates of the Caribbean finishing in third place from Ericsson, fourth.

The celebrated ABN AMRO boats, designed by Argentinian Juan Kouyoumdjian, struggled in the light north-east airs that dropped progressively during the afternoon from 12 knots to virtually nothing. ‘The kids’ on the slightly lighter ABN AMRO Two came in fifth, whilst ‘Black Betty’, ABN AMRO One, finished sixth. Grant Wharington’s Brunel, freshly modified and re-entering the race at the in-port with no points, finished seventh, perhaps testament to their lack of time on the water.

There might not have been any breeze, but the weather was certainly spectator-perfect; crowds began to mill around the inner harbour early in the day, and around 1,000 boats were out on the water for a closer view of the action. The lighter boats were fully geared up to make the most of the calm conditions forecasted; Jonathan Swain of Movistar commented: “For most of the Farr boats, this is the best opportunity to beat the AMRO boats.” With a 22 point lead, and having dropped only 4 points before the race, ABN One’s status as runaway winners of the race overall wasn’t truly in contention, but skipper Mike Sanderson (Moose) conceded that the conditions would “make it a lot tougher for us.”

Pirates of the Caribbean, sailing with the newly-crowned Miss USA on board, won the start line, with Brasil and ABN Two in hot pursuit. Most of the boats headed off on port tack to the right side of the course, looking for the forecasted right windshift. The two American skippers, Paul Cayard on Pirates and John Kostecki on Ericsson, had a bit of a battle at the second mark. Pirates, suffering from some unlucky gear failure and unable to use the winch pedestal for either of their primary winches, still managed to push Ericsson out to fourth.

Showing off some new sails, Movistar established the lead, while Brasil turned up the pace, storming from fifth place to second, and the Pirates kept hold of third.

The order of the boats remained fairly consistent from there on in, with Movistar putting in a great performance, increasing their lead, and ABN One and Brunel lagging even further back in the dying breeze. Due to the conditions, the windward/leeward course was shortened to three laps. Final positions and official timings were:

movistar 2h 21m 32s
Brasil 1 2h 26m 07s
Pirates of the Caribbean 2h 26m 57s
Ericsson Racing Team 2h 29m 17s
ABN AMRO TWO 2h 29m 49s
ABN AMRO ONE 2h 35m 18s
Brunel 2h 35m 50s

The results mean that the overall leaderboard positions are slightly changed, with Pirates taking third place from ABN Two, now fourth overall:

ABN AMRO ONE 63.5 Points
movistar 44 Points
Pirates of the Caribbean 41.5 Points
ABN AMRO TWO 41 Points
Brasil 1 37 Points
Ericsson Racing Team 30.5 Points
Brunel 0.5 Points

Sam Brunner