The Ericsson Racing Team has officially retired from Leg Two of the Volvo Ocean Race this morning

The Ericsson Racing Team has officially retired from Leg Two of the Volvo Ocean Race after experiencing failure to her hydraulic keel movement system in the early hours of 4 January. She arrived into Port Elizabeth (RSA) at 0900 GMT on Friday evening, from where she is currently being transported by the Wallenius Wilhelmsen container ship Targus to Melbourne (AUS).

Ericsson initially headed into Mossel Bay after the failure, where the broken titanium ram was replaced with a spare steel ram, in the hope of continuing racing. However, the team decided this was not an adequate solution as the replacement steel ram was made to the same specification as the broken ram. As the reason behind the failure of the titanium ram hasn’t been found it would not have been prudent to resume racing.

Ericsson continued sailing from where she suspended racing and arrived into Port Elizabeth late Friday night. The Ericsson Racing Team has officially retired from Leg Two of the Volvo Ocean Race after securing the shipment to Melbourne.

Ericsson Racing Team skipper, Neal McDonald (GBR) commented: “Everyone has been pulling together to try and make it possible for us to continue racing – the sailors, the shore crew, our management team and our sponsor – but this is not in the interests of the team in the long term. We have to look at the race in its entirety, not just one leg at a time, and I believe this is the best decision for the future of the campaign. I am confident we will find a solution that will see us join the race in Melbourne as a strong competitor.”

McDonald continued: “It is in tough times like this when you really bond as a team and we are now more determined than ever to make a comeback in this race. With seven legs and five in-port races to go, the race is still very open and there are many points up for grabs.”

Dusyant Patel, Operating Officer for the Ericsson Racing Team and head of sponsorship at Ericsson, added: “This is a grand prix sport and we always knew that racing in the Volvo Ocean Race was a challenge, especially with a completely new design of boat. We have been knocked down but we are determined to get back up and return to the race as a very competitive team.
I am impressed by the hard work and determination that the team has demonstrated in order to get the boat back on the race course. Ultimately this race is about perseverance, fighting back despite the setbacks, and stepping up to the challenge.”

A lot of research is currently being done in order to further develop and strengthen the system which cants the keel. After the failure, the Ericsson Racing Team immediately set up a special Ram Project, headed by Magnus Olsson and including other team members, hydraulics consultants, engineers and other specialists. They are all working hard, trying to understand why the ram broke and simultaneously securing options to make sure that the boat will continue racing without impeding its performance.

Ericsson was loaded onto a Wallenius Wilhelmsen cargo ship called Targus earlier today and she has left Port Elizabeth at 01.00 GMT on Monday 9 January. She will sail through Durban and Mauritius before heading to Melbourne, where she is due to arrive on January 26.

Preparing Ericsson for shipping has been a full team effort, with sailors and shore crew working together to dismantle the mast and load the boat. The sailing team will fly to Australia on Monday, to both train and rest, as they await Ericsson’s arrival.