Great result for Neal McDonald and team on Ericsson. Cayard takes third 21/5/06

Neal McDonald’s Swedish Ericsson team crossed the Gilkicker point finish line at 1226GMT today to take second place in Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Having won the firt In-port race back in November in Sanxenxo Team Ericsson suffered with after a series of crew changes, including the demotion of the skipper for one leg but this leg has proved that the team is on the way back and now look set to continue their fight to claim a top spot in the overall race series.

Chatting to a tired but content skipper as they moored up at the dock in Portsmouth today McDonald commented: “The last few legs we’ve just taken a leg at a time and seen some vast improvements and we’re finally learning how to sail the boat and catching up with the rest of the guys. We’ve now just got to continue to get the points.”

Clearly unphased about his demotion as skipper on the leg from Rio to the States McDonald in his typical relaxed manner added: “Ahh, doesn’t make any difference, I was still on the boat.”
And about this leg: “It was a pretty wild trip and I am very pleased to be back in my home country especially with my wife and family here.

“The guys did a great job, but obviously it is overshadowed by the tragic death of Hans Horrevoets. I am very proud of my team and we sailed conservatively throughout the leg, especially after we heard the sad news. Sailing at any level is pretty tough and there were times on this leg when we felt like we were in the Southern Ocean.”

Just 28 minutes later Paul Cayard brought Pirates of the Caribbean home in third place notching up their overall points to 55 and putting the Pirates into second place overall. Cayard added: “We had a lot of breeze out there and a very rough sea. The guys did a great job keeping the boat together and thankfully we are all here and the boat is in good shape.

“It was a real tough trans-Atlantic. It was the toughest we have done and it doesn’t take much in this type of boat to make the situation difficult.

“As far as the race is concerned, we are very happy with our position and managing to add to our points and give us a bit of a cushion on second place overall.”

The next boat to finish will be Brasil 1 (Torben Grael) which will finish within the hour.