Third into Cape Town, second through the gate and third into Cochin, being on the podium is no accident

Ericsson 3 (Anders Lewander/SWE) has filled the third podium position for the 4450 nm leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race to Cochin, India. The team spent the final 24 hours of the leg almost drifting, choosing to activate their StealthPlay in order to keep their position secret and prevent the chasing pack from sailing round them while they were becalmed.

The wind filled in for the final miles and team crossed the finish at 0736 GMT this morning (1306 local time) earning six points. This brings their total to 14.5, which is good enough for third place overall. However, once the four-way battle for fourth place is decided later on this morning, Ericsson 3 will be relegated. Ericsson 4, the second boat in this two-boat project won the leg yesterday and leads the race overall.

This is the second time Ericsson 3 has crossed the finish line in third place, however, in Cape Town, the team was docked two points for racing with a non-compliant keel. A new, rule-compliant keel was subsequently fitted and this time the team will be able to celebrate third place properly. The podium finish comes after crossing the scoring gate in second place, which gained the team a further 3.5 points.

On stepping ashore, skipper Anders Lewander said, “Coming into port is wonderful. It is something you dream of and realising it feels so great. A podium position is extraordinary. This race is worth fighting to be involved in. We have spent a lot of time developing and learning and each leg has its achievements, and on this leg, we have been though all sorts of weather. We now know how we can go forward. I have great confidence in the team.”

Magnus Olsson/SWE – watch captain and six-race veteran said, “It’s very good to be here in third. We had great boatspeed and we can get better, we just need to be more aggressive in our tactics. We think we deserve third place and would like to congratulate Ericsson 4 and Telefónica Blue. I already love India it is fantastic exotic place.”

After a dramatic start in Cape Town, when the team caught their headsail around the radar unit, ripping it from its bracket just after the start and tearing the sail, the crew quickly found their place mid-field, close to Ericsson 4.

On day five, as the wind increased to 40 knots, watch captain Magnus Olsson appealed to the wind Gods, “No broach, please God, no broach.” In pitch darkness, a big gust hit the boat and forced the bow deep under water. The boat was heeling badly. The crew on deck, although attached to the boat by their harnesses, were washed down the length of the deck. Bowman, Anders Dahlsjö from Sweden lost his grip and smashed into a winch handle. The handle bent badly and Anders was in agony, holding his hands over his ribs. “Now we have another guy on painkillers,” commented MCM Gustav Morin matter of factly.

The highlight of the leg for Ericsson 3 was crossing through the scoring gate on day six, 20 November, in a respectable second place, with Ericsson 4 just ahead of them. “In the middle of nowhere, with only open seas surrounding us, and just birds and fish listening and watching, six guys are making big noises of joy. With fists in the air, screaming and laughing, we are celebrating being the second boat to the scoring gate,” said Morin.

It was still an all-Ericsson affair on day eight, with Ericsson 4 leading Ericsson 3 by just three miles. For the next five days, the two Ericsson boats led the fleet, swapping the lead back and forth.

When Ericsson 4 made a break and escaped the clutches of the Doldrums, Ericsson 3 was left leading the group of three, Green Dragon, Puma and Delta Lloyd, that had all chosen the middle path through the Doldrums.

The battle for third place continued, but by day 15, Ericsson 3 had a buffer of 40 miles and the team was able to cling on to this to clinch third place.

Leg Two Finishing Order into Cochin, India
1. Ericsson 4/SWE (Torben Grael/BRA)
2. Telefónica Blue/ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED)
3. Ericson 3/SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE)

Overall Leaderboard (Provisional)
1. Ericsson 4: 26 points (FINISHED)
2. Telefónica Blue: 19 points (FINISHED)
3. Ericsson 3: 14.5 points (FINISHED)
4. PUMA: 14 points (RACING)
5. Green Dragon: 14 points (RACING)
6. Telefónica Black: 8.5 points (RACING)
7. Team Russia: 6.5 points (RACING)
8. Delta Lloyd: 4.5 points (RACING)

The next finish will be later this morning and is likely to be very tight. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) PUMA (Ken Read/USA), Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR) and Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bérmudez/ESP) are all in the mix and slogging it out. Telefónica Black and Green Dragon are in StealthPlay, so it is not possible to forecast which of the four boats will cross the line next.