Monday, 6 April 2009

VOR: Ericsson 3 and Ericsson 4 Stumble on Guanabara Bay

Ericsson 3 and Ericsson 4 in the Light In-Port race in Rio de Janiero. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Victoria Low

Ericsson Racing Team placed fourth and seventh in Saturday’s Rio In-Port Race.

Sailed in light and shifty winds on Guanabara Bay, Ericsson 3 and Ericsson 4 rounded the first windward mark in second and third, respectively, but then suffered through light winds at the bottom of the first run and dropped back a few places.

Ericsson 3 was further hampered on the second upwind leg when it was given a penalty from the on-water umpires for tacking too close to Telefonica Black.

“We misjudged the situation a little bit and we came too close,” said Magnus Olsson, skipper of Ericsson 3. “It was right to give us a penalty, but it was bad of us to misjudge that.”

Although Ericsson 4 finished fourth in the race, it now has 66 points and retains the overall lead in the race.

Ericsson 3 and Ericsson 4 round the mark in the Light In-port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race in Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

“We definitely could’ve done better. We didn’t use the opportunities we had,” said Torben Grael, skipper of Ericsson 4. “We had a good start and a few opportunities, but we didn’t use them well. It’s not too bad. Points-wise we haven’t lost too much.”

Ericsson 3 also retains fourth overall, but Olsson is frustrated with Ericsson 3’s continued struggles in the In-Port racing.

“We still have a little problem with keeping cool,” Olsson said. “All of the decisions have to be made fast. Perhaps we are not doing that in a good way. Or, when we try to do them fast, something goes wrong. I think it‘s a bit of lack of experience sailing big boats in a tight fleet like this. You have to react really fast. You can’t think too much because there isn’t the time. You have to react to new situations all the time. I don’t think we’re there yet.”

Racing on Saturday was postponed for more than two hours while the race committee waited for the wind to settle. A light northerly inhibited the development of the afternoon sea breeze. Racing commenced at 15:10 local in an 8- to 10-knot southerly. There was also a strong tide running that lifted the boats when sailing upwind and slowed them downwind. The lengthy delay to the first race meant the race committee ran out of time for a second heat.

“The only thing I don’t understand is how you can do two races in China and not here,” Grael said. “I feel there’s no excuse not to do another one. We did a second one in China, so why not here?”

The China In-Port Race was sailed in winds lighter than in the race in Rio and with a significant amount of fog.

1. Telefónica Blue, 4 points
2. Puma, 3.5
3. Delta Lloyd, 3
4. Ericsson 4, 2.5
5. Telefónica Black, 2
6. Green Dragon, 1.5
7. Ericsson 3, 1

(After Rio In-Port Race)
1. Ericsson 4, 66 points
2. Puma, 56.5
3. Telefónica Blue, 54.5
4. Ericsson 3, 44.5
5. Green Dragon, 41
6. Telefónica Black, 23
7. Delta Lloyd, 15

Ericsson Racing Team
Volvo Ocean Race

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