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Ericsson finish 1-2 in second consecutive Volvo sail
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-04-28 10:24

Ericsson Racing boats continued their dominance of the Volvo Ocean Race today when Torben Grael, Brazilian skipper of Ericsson 4, and Magnus Olsson, the Swedish skipper for Ericsson 3, finished first and second on leg six from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Boston, USA.

Ericsson finish 1-2 in second consecutive Volvo sail
Ericsson 4 sails toward the finish line of the sixth leg of the Volvo Ocean race on Sunday in Boston. Ericsson 4 is the overall race leader. [China Daily] 

Ericsson 4 crossed the finish at 2105 GMT, recording an elapsed time of 15 days, 10 hours 30 minutes and 54 seconds on Sunday, followed by Ericsson 3 - 12 minutes behind.

The two Ericsson teams also shared the top two honors on the previous leg from Qingdao in China to Rio with Ericsson 3 finishing ahead of Ericsson 4.

"It feels fantastic. I think we had a very good leg. We were always very close to the other boats," said skipper Grael.

"It was a very hard job, but a very good result for us. It couldn't be better. It's one more step towards our objective. Normally, regattas in the United States give me luck. This is another one of them."

A fearsome battle played out in the closing stages of the leg to decide the points for second place. Ericsson 3 managed to hold on, finishing at 21:17 GMT, just over five minutes ahead of Telefnica Blue (2123 GMT), after 4,900nm and nearly 16 days of ocean racing. It was a particularly remarkable achievement for Ericsson 3, whose skipper Olsson was washed into the steering pedestal on day six, April 16, and was nursing a bruised back.

A relieved Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Telefnica Blue, said on finishing third: "We had a really good come back after two horrible days. Passing PUMA and nearly catching Ericsson 3 was great. It has been fantastic and it is really nice to be back here. We have had some shocking times, but we have come back to a real high".

All four boats used "Stealth Play" in the final fight to the end, trying to hide their route and break away from their components. This compelling rule, which allows a team to disappear for 12 hours, was used for the first time in this race.

Her position then must be made public after 12 hours or when she is within 250 nautical miles to the finish line, whichever comes first.

Ericsson 4 turned out to be the one that most benefited from the rule. Scoring 3.5 points for second place at the scoring gate of Fernando de Noronha and eight points for a leg win, Ericsson 4 extends her overall lead to 77.5 points. Telefonica Blue moves up to second overall with 64.5 points, only half a point ahead of PUMA provided she finishes in her current position of fourth. Ericsson 3 has a total of 53 points, which is good enough for fourth place on the overall leaderboard.

The fight for fifth place in leg six of the Volvo Ocean Race went down to the wire today between two Spaniards, Fernando Echvarri on Telefonica Black versus Roberto Bermudez at the helm of the generation one boat, Delta Lloyd.

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