Monday, 8 December 2008

Sunrise Finish for Ericsson 3 in VOR Leg One

by Volvo Ocean Race media

Ericsson 3, skippered by Sweden’s Anders Lewander crossed the finish line at 0408 GMT (0608 local time) today, 3rd November, after 22 days, 16 hours 08 mins and 50 secs at sea. She is the third boat to arrive in Cape Town at the end of the 6,500 nautical mile leg, which started from Alicante in Spain on October 11. Her stablemate, Ericsson 4, is already in Cape Town and flying the leg winner’s flag and leading the race overall.

“I am very proud of the team,” said skipper Anders Lewander. “It is fantastic coming to Cape Town: what an achievement for us. We have fought really hard and come back with great attitude. All the hours of preparation were worthwhile.

We have had a lot of hard work, but we’ve got through and built on our spirit.”
Ericsson 3 is sailed by an all-Nordic crew, with one exception: watch captain Richard Mason from New Zealand, although Mason has lived in Sweden for a number of years.

Mason has done this race twice before and his counterpart on the other watch, veteran sailor, Magnus Olsson, is on his sixth lap of the planet. The duo brings vast experience and knowledge to balance the youthful enthusiasm of the rest of the crew, a cocktail that has been clearly proven by the team’s outstanding performance on this leg.

Speaking about the tough conditions the crew faced, watch captain Magnus Olsson said in his usual upbeat way, “We all love those conditions; that is the reason we do this. You don’t need to sleep, you can’t sleep. It is so fun, you don’t know where you are, water everywhere, the boat is going so fast and you don’t know if you are going to die or survive. It’s fantastic.”

At the start of leg, Ericsson 3 led the fleet, with Ericsson 4, through the Straits of Gibraltar. Going straight between the middle of the Cape Verde islands, the Nordic-crewed boat then had a challenging passage through the Doldrums before having to stop briefly at the scoring gate in Brazil for a spare part.

When 40 knot gales were forecast, on day 16, 26 October, Eivind Melleby the Norwegian helmsman said, “ We will have to hold on tight and keep the crew and equipment in once piece. “ Navigator Aksel Magdahl, also a Norwegian, added, “We will just do it our way and see how good that is. I am sure some of the more experienced teams will push hard, but we will set our own pace. We will give it our best.”

Day 19 caused the experienced Richard Mason to exclaim, “The worst watch of my life. We were in a squall for four hours and it was pitch black, absolutely no visibility at all. I couldn’t see the waves and no horizon. We had everything from 19 – 46 knots of wind,” he said. “Going with the chute up in that much breeze on one of these boats, when you can’t see a thing, is as terrifying as it gets. It just doesn’t get any harder than it was tonight. The guys did a great job to get the boat and ourselves through it in once piece,” he said.

Ericsson 3 went into battle with the wounded Green Dragon on day 20 (30 October) and finally overhauled them, but the Dragons were constantly breathing fire. By day 23, the strain was beginning to show. “Everything is getting to its edge. The situation feels close and stressful,” said MCM Gustav Morin. A couple of bad sail changes slowed Ericsson 3 down, and a plastic bag caught around the keel did not help matters. But Nordic team pressed on and were delighted to finish 27 nm ahead of Ian Walker and the Green Dragon.

Ericsson 3 is the third boat to arrive in Cape Town and will score four leg points, taking into account the earlier measurement penalty imposed by the International Jury in October (for racing while her keel was not rule-compliant, see

According to the ruling, Ericsson 3 will have two points docked from her leg one score of six. One point was previously deducted from her point total at the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha as well as from the in-port race in Alicante.

On current form, the next boat to finish will be Green Dragon, in approximately 90 minutes.

Leg One Finishing Order into Cape Town
1. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA)
2. PUMA USA (Ken Read/USA)
3. Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE)

Overall Leaderboard (Provisional) – following the first three finishes
1. Ericsson 4: 14 points (FINISHED)
2. PUMA : 13 points (FINISHED)
3. Telefonica Blue: 6 points (RACING)
4. Telefonica Black: 6 points (RACING)
5. Green Dragon: 6 points (RACING)
6. Ericsson 3: 5 points (FINISHED)
7. Delta Lloyd: 2 points (RACING)
8. Team Russia: 1 point (RACING)

Volvo Ocean Race

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