Sunday, 31 May 2009
Ericsson 4 makes final preparations in Galway harbour. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Ericsson Racing Team.
by Victoria Low
Ericsson Racing Team is ready to race in the afternoon's Galway In-Port Race of the Volvo Ocean Race.
"This mornings offshore breeze will battle it out with the sea breeze early/mid-afternoon," said team meteorologist Chris Bedford. "The sea breeze eventually loses and the southeast gradient returns later in the afternoon."
The pattern of light wind conditions is familiar to the Volvo Ocean Race Sailors. In four of the previous five in-port races the conditions have been light and shifty. Torben Grael, skipper of overall race leader Ericsson 4, is taking a philosophical approach to the forecast.
"We have to take it one leg at a time. The next is an in-port race and we have to do the best that we can," Grael said. "The weather was looking better before, but now it's looking lighter and lighter. It has been a pattern for these in-port races."
Ericsson 4 leaving Galway harbour for the InPort Race. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Ericsson Racing Team.
Coming off a disappointing seventh-place finish on Leg 7 due in part to a collision with a whale, Ericsson 3 skipper Magnus Olsson is confident for the crew's chances tomorrow. Ericsson 3 has struggled at times during the in-port races, but Olsson expects a sterling performance this afternoon.
"We have been very consistent in the last part of the fleet, but we broke that in Boston with a fourth," Olsson said. "We are aiming to be on the podium this afternoon."
Each crew is allowed two extra crewmembers for the In-Port Race. Ericsson 3 will bring in familiar faces Rasmus Kostner and Jann Neergaard, both of Denmark. Kostner, a tactician, and Neergaard, the mainsail grinder, have sailed every in-port race with Ericsson 3.
There has been one crew change aboard Ericsson 3. Magnus "Bagi" Woxen of Sweden replaces Norwegian Eivind Melleby, who returned home to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.
Ericsson 4 goes back in the water for the InPort Race. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Ericsson Racing Team.
Ericsson 4 will have added power in two grinders, Brian MacInnes and Carl Williams. MacInnes, from Canada, has been a grinder in four of the five in-ports with Ericsson 4. Williams, of New Zealand, is making his first appearance. Both grinders are with the BMW Oracle Racing Team.
Ericsson Racing Team
Volvo Ocean Race