An ocean race of epic proportions reached its final conclusion today, after 32,700 miles of racing. Winners, losers, glory and defeat, this race has seen it all.
A script for an ending such as this could not have been written better. Djuice, the boat that struggled all the way around the planet claimed victory in the leg while illbruck took the race in a convincing manner.
Starting a race as the clear favourite was a heavy burden, but illbruck lived up to the highest expectations right from the start. With a conservative approach illbruck took the early lead in the race even though disaster struck on the first day of leg two as the bow section filled with water and for some dramatic hours it was unclear whether the yacht was in danger of sinking. In an impressive team effort the crew around John Kostecki got the yacht going again in last place, but it took them just a few days to sail straight through the whole fleet on a middle course to reclaim dominance on the fleet. They were rewarded with a spectacular victory in Sydney end never returned the lead on the overall table.
The extremely well organized and developed sail program allowed illbruck to save four new sails for the ultimate leg and they went well armed into the final battle they won against Swedish archrival ASSA ABLOY.
The illbruck Challenge crew finished in Kiel to an enthusiastic reception from friends, family, illbruck employees and customers and the thousands of German sailing fans who have been following the team since the around-the-world race started on September 23, 2001. Sail trimmer and sail designer Ross Halcrow from New Zealand, the only crew member on board illbruck who ever won the America's Cup (1995 with Team NZL) exclaimed enthusiastically: "This welcome has been huge and double as big as whatever I have seen in the America's Cup."
Illbruck was the first German yacht to secure victory in a leg and in the overall race, but they are just continuing a strong German tradition in this race. Peter von Danzig sailed the first race in 1973/74 finishing 14th, followed by Walross III in 1981/82 and Schluessel von Bremen in the 1989/90 race. Inspired from the early competitors, professional sailor Timmy Kroeger sailed the 1993/94 race on Intrum Justitia (second) and 1997/98 on Swedish Match (third).
The first place on this ultimate leg of the Volvo Ocean Race is a big reward for the endurance djuice has shown in their difficult sail around the world. Stricken by gear failure on the first leg and slow boat speed in spite of endless hours of two boat sail testing in the remaining legs djuice managed a second place on the fourth leg to Rio as their second top result. Finally they have overtaken Scandinavian rival SEB, who they put to seventh place in the eight-strong fleet after the disastrous losses of their rudder and mast in the Southern Ocean.
Figures about the number of spectators vary from 50000 to 100000 and the boats on the Kieler Foerde were so tightly packed that one could have crossed the water on dry feet.
PS Yacht Leg 3 points Arrival Time Elapsed Time Combined Time PO Overall
1 DJCE 8 09 JUN 02 15:42:30 001d 03h 42m 30s 132d 06h 24m 15s 33 6
2 ILBK 7 09 JUN 02 16:17:45 001d 04h 17m 45s 123d 05h 11m 24s 61 1
Volvo Ocean Race Position Report, Day 2, 1708 GMT
PS Yacht Latitude Longitude DTF CMG SMG TFHR DTL ETA PO
3 AART 54 31.12N 010 17.84E 12 229 11 158 12 09/06/02 18:22 55
4 ATOO 54 31.68N 010 18.88E 13 230 10.9 158 13 09/06/02 18:27 16
5 AONE 54 31.84N 010 19.16E 13 230 11.1 157 13 09/06/02 18:31 44
6 TSEB 54 39.84N 010 36.40E 26 223 11.1 145 26 09/06/02 19:56 32
7 TYCO 54 40.68N 010 38.12E 27 226 11 146 27 09/06/02 20:02 42
8 NEWS 54 41.12N 010 39.32E 28 227 11.1 144 28 09/06/02 20:08 41
PS Yacht Points
1 illbruck 61
2 ASSA ABLOY 55
3 Amer Sports One 44
4 Tyco 42
5 News Corp 41
6 Djuice 33
7 Team SEB 32
8 Amer Sports Too 16