Ericsson Racing Team ready for an exciting showdown in tomorrow's in-port race

The Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06, the world’s premier ocean race, kicks off tomorrow with the first in-port race in Sanxenxo, Spain. The in-port races are one of the most exciting new additions to this year’s event, drawing on a different skill set to ocean racing and counting for over 20 per cent of the overall points. After a great day on the water yesterday, Ericsson skipper Neal McDonald (GBR) and his team are looking forward to the challenge.

McDonald commented: “The new Volvo 70 boats are a big leap in technology. They are faster, more powerful and will be a big challenge to race around the buoys.” He continued: “It will be the difference between a sprint and an endurance race. When we start the inshore race we know that it will be over in three to four hours so we will give it all we’ve got.”

John Kostecki (US), winner of the last Volvo Ocean Race, is tactician on Ericsson for the in-port races. “These boats are different animals to the Volvo 60s and will be quite a challenge to handle round the marks. It will be difficult to get the spinnaker up and down quickly so we will rely on timing and anticipation. Our training these past few weeks has been very much focused on manoeuvre training and the team seems to work well together.”

Despite the light to variable breezes forecast on Saturday, Kostecki is hoping for some good wind: “These boats are pretty exciting when the wind picks up, so I hope for some good breeze and we can put on an exciting show!”

The first leg to Cape Town, South Africa, begins on 12 November, from the neighbouring port of Vigo. From there, the race will visit ten ports in eight countries and cross four oceans, before finishing in Gothenburg, Sweden 32,250 nautical miles later, on 17 June 2006.