John Kosteckis illbruck Challenge, the pre-start favorite of the Volvo Ocean Race was the first to reach the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone this morning. That bragging right, however, was a double-edged sword. As the first team to enter the squall-dotted zone north of the equator, illbruck hoped to be the first to escape, leaving its competitors wallowing as they blasted towards the next waypoint, the Archipelago de Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil. On the other hand, as they sailed from cloud to cloud, working towards the exit door, those close behind could have reduced the gap, or worse, passed by under the cover of darkness. Yet, shortly before 2000 GMT, after an astonishingly short passage, illbruck reported that they were free.