Ericsson 3 has finally crossed the finish line in Rio De Janeiro to win Leg 5
After an agonising march to glory, Swedish skipper Magnus Olsson and his men officialy finished at 10:37:57 GMT.
On arrival, a jubilant Olsson, buoyed by the result, said: “It’s unbelievable. We had a fantastic strategy when we needed it. Aksel (Magdahl) did a fantastic job on that. We executed that strategy in a very good way.
“We were so tired but we were fighting on with tremendous spirit right to the end, everybody worked well with each other. And, finally, we nursed the boat really well and didn’t have any breakdowns.”
Ericsson 3 started eight half hours behind the scheduled starters after a pit stop for repairs in Taiwan en route to the leg start in Qingdao. Olsson admitted the victory seemed a long way off at the time.
“We didn’t look like a winner then,” he said. “Getting there (Qingdao) tired, carbon dust all over the boat and eight hours late and a few guys new in the crew and all that, but we managed to turn it around, it’s fantastic, it really is.”
In a reference to the gamble on snubbing perceived wisdom and heading north in the Southern Ocean at the scoring waypoint at 36 degress south, he added: “It was the fantastic strategy that convinced us that we take that risk. We all wanted to take it and the execution of that was very good. We sailed very well.
“Aksel said if it’s going to work we have to sail really well – a performance of 100 per cent all the time otherwise we’re going to be late with the pressure coming there and the front coming there and all that.
“We sailed really hard but we were on the borderline of destroying the boat. But we managed to keep the boat in one piece. That was the key to our success.”
Asked about the go-slow towards the finish line when Ericsson 3 fell into a wind hole and almost ground to a halt within sight of the chequered flag, Olsson, ever the comedian, said: “We didn’t want to get too far ahead, so we slowed down a bit, in order to control the other boats.”
Coming shortly – Matthew Sheahan talks to Magnus Olson and Aksel Magdahl on the dockside in Rio about their impressive performance and what it means for the future