After a stressful week, Ericsson 4 dominates proceedings in Singapore

Ericsson 4 won the UBS Challenge for the In-Port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race in Singapore today after finishing second in race one and winning race two. The result earned the team the four maximum points on offer which extends their total to 39 points.

The second in the series of seven in-port races, the results of which count towards the overall result of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 started at 0525 GMT, 1325 local time in a gusty 10 – 15 knot breeze. Both sides of the race course were lined with spectator boats for the first ever southeast Asia in-port race.

Two races were held and the results are combined to give an overall winner for the day. PUMA (Ken Read/USA) dominated the first race in an impressive display of solid sailing and race tactics, leading the fleet from start to finish and holding Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) at bay. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) and Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR) showed good form and fought throughout the short windward/leeward course for third place, the finishing order only being decided on the final run when Telefónica Blue edged ahead.

Ericsson 3, skippered by Magnus Olsson/SWE, who has stepped up to take charge of the boat while regular skipper Anders Lewander/SWE recovers from knee surgery, finished fifth.

Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) was OCS (on course side) at the start gun and had to return to start properly, but made a good recovery to finish in sixth place.

Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) with new navigator, Guillermo Altadill/ESP replacing Matt Gregory/USA, finished in seventh after a promising start, but sail-handling difficulties meant they were never really in contention.

In race two, the first four finishers in the first race opted for the right hand side of the course, while the bottom three headed for the shore immediately after the start. The offshore side of the track clearly had more pressure as Ericsson 4 and Telefónica Blue led the fleet to the windward mark. Green Dragon came in to the mark on port and tacked just inside PUMA to round fourth, with Telefónica Black approaching quickly from the left hand side of the course.

As the fleet split again, PUMA opted for the right hand side with good pressure, while Ericsson 4 and Green Dragon went left. The last run was anything but a procession.

PUMA came smoking through the fleet, to rejoin the top four. Telefónica Blue attacked from the right hand side of the course. But, at the conclusion, Ericsson 4 fought to hold off Telefónica Black, and finished the race in pole position. Telefónica Black was second, and third was Telefónica Blue in a photo finish. PUMA finished ahead of Green Dragon in fourth, Ericsson 3 was sixth, and Delta Lloyd, still struggling due to lack of practise on the water due to work being carried out on her keel, was seventh.

Overall, the day belonged to Ericsson 4 who won the UBS Challenge for the In-Port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race in Singapore, with a second in race one and a win in race two, extending her lead overall and bringing her tally to 39 points. PUMA took 3.5 points for a win in race one and a fourth place in race two, for a total of 31 points. Third was Telefónica Blue, who scored three points for two third places (33.5 total).

Telefónica Black was fourth and earned 2.5 points for a sixth and a second (22 points total). Green Dragon was fifth and added two points for a fourth and a fifth (22.5 points total). Ericsson 3 claimed 1.5 points for a fifth and a sixth (24 points total), and, finally, Delta Lloyd scored one point for two seventh places (10 points total).

The next race in the in-port series will be held in Qingdao, China on 7 February after the finish of leg four (2,500 nautical miles), which starts next Sunday, 18 January.

UBS Challenge for the In-Port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race Singapore
1. Ericsson 4: (4 points)
2. PUMA: (3.5 points)
3. Telefónica Blue: (3 points)
4. Telefónica Black: (2.5 points)
5. Green Dragon: (2 points)
6. Ericsson 3: (1.5 points)
7. Delta Lloyd: (1 point)

Overall Leaderboard
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 39 points
2.Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 33.5 points
3. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 31 points
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 24 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 22.5 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echavarri/ESP): 22 points
7. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points
8. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 10 points