For ABN One, It's Icing on the Cake

In Monday's In-Port Race, Pirates of the Caribbean held the advantage, but one jibe gone bad cost them the race win they do so dearly wanted.

Portsmouth In-Port

Oskar Kihlborg/volvo Ocean Race

When ABN AMRO One steamed into Portsmouth, England nearly two weeks ago, winning the transatlantic leg handily, it distanced itself even further at the top of the race's leaderboard, so far out of reach that everyone started talking about for the ensuing battles for the other positions. You'd think Sanderson and his boys would take it down a notch and take whatever is left to sail with an ultra-casual swagger. But that's not Sanderson's way. It's too much fun to win, and when you know you're unbeatable…well, that makes for an event better day in the office. So it was business as usual today in the Solent off Southern England, where the Volvo Ocean Race sailed its sixth in-port race, this one with the absence of the race's seventh competitor, movistar, still adrift, a navigational hazard, somewhere in the North Atlantic. And before the boats left the dock, Sanderson was recorded as saying that he was going all out (on his 35th birthday, nonetheless) to improve his record in the in-port racing. Starts always seemed to be ABN's weakness-the reason Sanderson admitted, was to be conservative so as to preserve his boat as best as possible. For the Portsmouth in-port they got away clean, splitting sides with Pirates of the Caribbean, nearly alone on the left (they were flanked by Brunel). ABN One sped to the right side of the course and for a short while appeared to hold the lead. But as Cayard's strategy played out further up the beat, his team came out on top with a safe lead around the first mark of the course. (Cayard would later say that they had it right and everyone else had it wrong.) Two legs later, with ABN threatening from 55 seconds back, Pirates stumbled while jibing their masthead spinnaker (keel cant problems), and ABN rolled past to never look back. End of story. "I'm not sure that we would ever really have held them off," Cayard told VOR media, "We just had a good jump on them at the start, but that thing (ABN AMRO One) is cancerous, it just keeps eating you up. All in all we did what we had to do which was beat Brasil 1. We didn't have to beat Brasil 1, but it's adding padding to our second place position and in the big scheme of things that's what we're trying to do." ABN has now won this race twice over, with one more in-port and two more offshore legs yet to sail. With movistar out, the true battle for second is now between Pirates and Brasil, which finished third today to keep itself a serious contender in the last two spots on the podium. Fourth, fifth, and sixth went to ABN AMRO Two, Ericsson, and Brunel, respectively. www.volvooceanrace.org