Another win for illbruck

Ed Gorman was on the dockside in La Rochelle for the arrival of John Kostecki's team
illbruck approach the La Rochelle finish line They made it look so easy. The immaculate lime green and white rocketship that is illbruck glided serenely across the last few miles of a flat Bay of Biscay under full main and Code O to claim her fourth leg win in the Volvo Ocean Race and re-assert herself over her main rival, Neal McDonald and the crew of Assa Abloy. Their arrival in France was hardly a big moment in sport or a memorable one in sailing. There were probably no more than 30 small boats out to greet her and conditions off La Rochelle were dull with fog closing in. When they reached the dock in an unattractive and industrial harbour in mid-afternoon, there were a few fireworks, the obligatory rock music and a couple of hundred people to welcome them in. Skipper John Kostecki never gives much away. Most of the time you wish he would be a little more expansive. There was no doubting, however, the sense of satisfaction he was enjoying from having put Assa back in her place as he reflected on an impressive leg seven from Annapolis which included a new world monohull distance record. Asked by madfor sailing whether he felt this fast and furious 11-day transat had re-established illbruck's dominence over Assa, he was unequivocal in his reply. "Absolutely," he said with a flash of aggression in his eyes. "We were passed by Assa on the last two legs close to the finish but this time we have more or less led them from the Chesapeake - for sure that's a confidence booster for us and for our shore team." The British navigator Ian Moore who is hoping to re-join the sailing team for the last two legs alongside Juan Vila, expanded a little on the rivalry and