Ericcson Wins Volvo ‘In Port’ Race One

Ericsson wins race 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race

With John Kostecki calling tactics, Ericsson won today’s opening “in port” race of the Volvo Ocean Race in Galicia, Spain. Winds were light for the two-hour buoy race, which Ericsson apparently won with a combination of a good start, light-air speed and the decision to go left on the first beat. Ericsson had a four-minute lead at the first weather mark and was never seriously challenged after that. Here’s the write-up from the official site: Blow by blow. And here’s the report from Team Ericsson’s site: Flying start in Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006.

Final results:

  1. Ericsson 01:51:29
  2. Brasil 1 01:54:55
  3. The Black Pearl 01:56:30
  4. Movistar 01:57:13
  5. ABN AMRO TWO 02:00:07
  6. ABN AMRO ONE 02:04:11
  7. Premier Challenge DNS

Reportedly the two ABN AMRO boats have been optimized for heavy winds, and they suffered badly in the light going. It’s an interesting question of whether that will pay off for them in the long run; as a Southern California racer I know that many overnight races are won or lost at night, when our local winds tend to be light. A boat that’s fast in light air can sometimes go two or even three times faster than a slower boat, building a huge lead in a very small amount of racecourse.

On the other hand, Southern California races don’t tend to feature 60-knot winds and 80-foot waves. A light-wind flyer might begin to look like a much riskier proposition in the high southern latitudes, where a boat built for rougher conditions could be pushed harder.

Time will tell, I guess.

Update: Tactician John Kostecki describes how the race looked from his point of view aboard Ericsson in this article from Yachting World: Kostecki on VOR win.

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