Saturday, 31 January 2009

VOR: Ericsson 3 to Undergo Repairs in Taiwan

Ericsson 4, skippered by Torben Grael (BRA), finishes third, on leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Singapore to Qingdao, China at 09:04:00 GMT. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Victoria Low

Ericsson 4 skipper Torben Grael went through his usual ritual yesterday after finishing Leg 4: thanking the crew, hugging loved ones and feeding the media frenzy.

Torben Grael in Qingdao. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Then he made an atypical phone. On the receiving end was Magnus Olsson, the Leg 4 skipper of Ericsson 3, who was more than 500 miles away in Taiwan. Olsson is in Taiwan because Ericsson 3 had taken on a significant amount of water and was in peril of sinking.

“That was very heart-warming,” Olsson said today. “It cheered me and the crew up. It was really nice because it came from his heart. He thought we’d sailed a good leg, he thought we sailed well and safe. He felt for us. That was fantastic. Well done to Torben.”

Magnus Olsson, skipper of Ericsson 3. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Olsson and the Nordic crew turned towards Taiwan Monday night when they discovered the forward, watertight bulkhead flooded. The hull was leaking due to delamination on the underside of the hull.

After hauling the Volvo Open 70 and inspecting the damage, the team has decided to perform the repair work in Taiwan. The yacht is at a commercial dockyard in Keelung, but will be transported by barge down the coastline to another boatyard with the necessary facilities to affect the repair.

“A transport barge is due to arrive tomorrow and we’ll probably load the boat on Sunday,” said navigator Aksel Magdahl. “It’ll begin the journey down the coast either Sunday or Monday.”

A replacement panel for the bow is being built off-site and will be air-freighted to the yacht in Taiwan, where it’ll be scarfed and bonded into place.

The final plan for getting Ericsson 3 to Qingdao has yet to be finalized.

Ericsson Racing Team

Volvo Ocean Race

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