ABN AMRO ONE widened its lead in the Volvo Ocean Race, passing the Hudson River finish line early yesterday more than 32 km ahead of the competition to win the sixth and shortest leg of the around-the-world race.
After fighting rough, head-on winds during the 740km "sprint" from Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, skipper Mike Sanderson said the final push into New York Harbor was easier than had been expected.
"We were very lucky with the day that the conditions were OK. It could have been much worse," he said after crossing the finish line at 4:06am yesterday.
Pirates of the Caribbean was trailing in second place about two hours behind, race spokesman Cameron Kelleher said.
After a 39-hour run along the coast, Sanderson said he was ready for some rest.
"I'm a little tired -- but nothing that 12 hours in the dead of sleep won't fix," he said.
ABN AMRO ONE, with a 10-person crew, is the widest and heaviest of the seven 21m boats participating in the race.
The boats are scheduled to stop in England and the Netherlands before finishing the nine-leg, 58,000km race in Goteborg, Sweden, in June. The race has already brought them to New Zealand, Brazil and elsewhere.
As the winner of the leg, ABN AMRO ONE earned seven points, upping its total to 70.5.
But Sanderson said he was not ready to declare victory.
"I don't work out the points," he said.
"I just race one race at a time. And when somebody tells me it's done, we'll be celebrating," Sanderson said.
The fleet will begin Leg 7 to Portsmouth, England, tomorrow, with each boat leaving New York in the order it arrived.
ABN AMRO ONE will get a head start on the runner-up finisher by the same amount of time that it beats that boat into port.
New York is considered a "pit stop," which means the seven yachts must remain in the water and cannot take on any new gear or supplies.