Monday, 15 December 2008

Ericsson Racing Team Wins Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race

Ericsson 4 arrives alongside in Cochin, India. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Victoria Low

Ericsson Racing Team won Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race today when Ericsson 4, skippered by Olympic gold medallist Torben Grael of Brazil, crossed the finish line at 0422:30 local time, 2252:30 GMT on Nov. 29.

Ericsson 4 completed the 4,450-nautical-mile leg from Cape Town, South Africa, in 14 days, 11 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds. The crew earned 12 points on the leg - 8 points for the leg win and 4 points for first at the scoring gate. Ericsson 4 now has 26 points total and retains the fleet lead

"Everybody's very happy. It was a very tough leg with so many different conditions," said Grael. "It's just the beginning of the race, and there are some difficult legs ahead of us. A lot of unexpected things can happen, it's good to be in the position we're in."

A jubilant Torben Grael in India. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Ericsson 4 had an adventurous leg, one that navigator Jules Salter described as beginning like a lion and ending like a lamb.

The first week was spent in rough conditions just north of 40S latitude, and the weather took a toll on both crew and gear. Sails were damaged and the crew suffered from lack of sleep, but Ericsson 4, a second generation Volvo Open 70 from designer Juan Kouyoumdjian, didn't suffer any significant damage.

"We learned a lot from Juan K last time, and have taken that forward to this generation. We have a lot of confidence in the structure," said David Endean, Ericsson 4 pit man and boat captain. "This generation of boat is stronger than the last."

The International crew led the fleet past the scoring gate on Nov. 20, and then sprinted up the Indian Ocean to the Doldrums, swapping the lead with teammate Ericsson 3. Ericsson 4 made its break from the fleet on Thursday when it scampered through the Doldrums and then benefited from strong westerlies on the Equator.

In the end, Ericsson 4 was made to wait painfully for this victory. It took nearly nine hours to complete the final 65 nautical miles, a snail's pace for the speedy VO 70s. While they were drifting to the finish, the fleet was closing up from behind.

"We're very happy to be here. Very relieved and very satisfied. Relief is a common emotion after how light it got at the end," said watch captain Stu Bannatyne. "There's always a risk to get overtaken when you park up. The others can see where you're parked and it can all disappear very quickly. Fortunately we had enough."

Ericsson Racing Team

Volvo Ocean Race

No comments: