A solid performance on leg 5 extends the teams overall lead while Ken Read's team move themselves up a place
Ericsson Racing Team made it a one/two today in leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race when Ericsson 4 crossed the finish line at 2257 GMT (1957 local time) in skipper Torben Grael’s home port of Rio de Janeiro, to stand second on the podium next to Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE) who took line honours earlier today.
Ericsson 4 now extends her overall lead to 63.5 points; 10.5 points ahead of PUMA (Ken Read/USA) who, provided she finishes this leg in her current third position, will retain second place overall. At the time of Ericsson 4’s finish, PUMA had 49.4 nm to run and was making 10 knots of boatspeed. This is the third leg win for Torben Grael and Ericsson 4. They also won both legs one and two as well as taking maximum points for the in-port race series in Singapore and Qingdao.
After being at sea for 40 days 17 hours 57 minutes and 44 seconds, to the delight of the large and noisy home town crowd who had been waiting for this moment all day, the Brazilian skipper, said: “We have been dreaming of this moment all week long and it is great to be home. The reception has been beautiful.”
Ericsson 4 was the leader of the pack when the Volvo fleet was faced with the decision as to how to tackle the islands of Fiji on day 16, 1 March. Skipper, Torben Grael chose the easterly option, along with Ericsson 3 and Green Dragon and led the field across the first scoring gate to earn four points. Ericsson 3 then made her brave move to the north and Ericsson 4 was left to fight for second place with PUMA (Ken Read/USA).
Speaking of Ericsson 3 performance, Grael said, “They made a very great move after the gate and it was clever. They gained a big advantage, but we managed to pull back but they pulled away again and we never had a real chance. They made a fantastic effort all the way from Taiwan.”
British navigator, Jules Salter added, “We needed a break in the weather to get past Ericsson 3 but that never came and the guys sailed very well. We have all sailed together a lot and they learned from us and learned from them, so we have created something great. They sailed really well.”
PUMA (Ken Read/USA) continued to put the pressure on Ericsson 4 and the two teams were close by for much of the leg until day 25, 10 March, when Ericsson 4 pulled out a lead over PUMA that they were never able to challenge. Ericsson 4 followed Ericsson 3 around Cape Horn, gaining a further 3.5 points, and the position remained unchanged until the finish in Rio today.
Shortly before finishing, skipper Ken Read sent a quick email, sharing some thoughts: “The last sunset. The final miles. The end to this epic adventure.
“If my count is right, this is our 41st day at sea. The trip from Qingdao was everything that we thought it would be and more. More days that is.
“Sure we were told that the leg could last somewhere between 34 and 40 days. My guess is that none of us ever thought it would be the longer of the two.
“The boat and team have held up exceptionally well under the circumstances. I guess in a way we had to, mainly because we have to do this all over again in two weeks or so. Although the next leg will be different. No 40 days and the light at the end of that tunnel is HOME. A very different feel for sure.”
Coming later today, Matthew Sheahan and Guy Swindells talk to three teams, each in very different moods as they step ashore in Rio.
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Leg Five Finishing Order Rio
1. Ericsson 3: 8 points
2. Ericsson 4: 7 points
3. Puma: 6 points
Overall Leaderboard (Provisional)
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) 63.5 points (FINISHED)
2. PUMA (Ken Read/USA) 53 points (FINISHED)
3. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) 46.5 points (RACING)
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE) 43.5 (FINISHED)
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR) 34.5 (RACING)
6. Telefónica Black 21 (DNS)
7. Delta Lloyd 12 (DNS)
8. Team Russia 10.5 (DNS)