The Volvo Ocean Race picked up its second high-profile U.S. sailor in less than a month yesterday when Sweden-based Ericsson announced the signing of John Kostecki, who recently left the BMW Oracle America's Cup team, where he was tactician.

Kostecki, who won the 2002 Volvo Race as skipper of Illbruck, made the announcement in Annapolis. The Volvo fleet stops there next April on its round-the-world jaunt. He joins fellow American Paul Cayard, who last month agreed to skipper Disney-sponsored entry Black Pearl. Cayard won the 1998 edition of the quadrennial race as skipper of EF Language.

Unlike Cayard, who will sail all legs of the grueling, 33,000-mile race, Kostecki will serve as an adviser and as tactician on Ericsson for inshore port races, which account for 20 percent of a team's score. He hopes to do some offshore legs as well, but will leave the decision to Ericsson skipper Neal MacDonald, whose offshore team has trained together for months.

The race starts Nov. 12 in Sanxenxo, Spain, when seven, 70-foot race boats leave for Cape Town, South Africa. Kostecki, 41, said he left BMW Oracle, billionaire Larry Ellison's America's Cup entry, after two years because "it wasn't fun." The Olympic silver medalist and three-time America's Cup tactician said he's excited about sailing the Volvo 70 designs, which employ the newest technology and state-of-the-art sailing gear.

-- Angus Phillips