NÄSTA

HISTORIC WIN FOR ERICSSON 3 AFTER EPIC STRUGGLE

Mars 26, 2009 @ 19:25:02   Foto Dave Kneale / Volvo Ocean Race

Skipper of Ericsson 3 Magnus Olsson celebrates the teams win of Leg 5 with Navigator Aksel Magdahl

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Sweden¹s veteran skipper, Magnus Olsson has done it!  Olsson and his Nordic
crew have won leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race, crossing the finishing line
in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro this morning at 1037 GMT today (0737 local
time). 

At 12,300 nm it is the longest leg in the 36-year history of the event and
the first time that 60-year old Olsson, the oldest competitor in this year¹s
race,  has taken part as skipper, having competed five times previously as a
crew member.  His young navigator, Norway¹s Aksel Magdahl (30), is half the
age of Olsson and is competing in this competition for the first time.

Olsson and his crew stepped ashore in the Marina da Gloria to a euphoric and
emotional welcome after spending 40 days 05 hours 37 minutes and 57 seconds
at sea and the huge smile on this popular skipper¹s face spoke volumes.

Buoyed by the result, Olsson said: "It's unbelievable. We actually deserve
it.  We had a fantastic strategy when we needed it. Aksel did a really good
job on that. We were so tired but we had a great fighting spirit to the
end.  We sailed really well, and our performance was 100 per cent all the
time.  We were on the borderline of destroying the boat, but we managed to
find a balance and we managed to keep the boat in one piece."

Aksel Magdahl said, ³It was a tough leg and I thought we would struggle
more, but to then get to the second scoring gate first was amazing and to be
here first is a bonus.²

This win is all the more poignant for the fact that the team had already
been at sea for three days longer than the rest of the fleet when they
arrived in the Marina da Gloria today having had no stopover in Qingdao to
rest and unwind.  

Olsson and his crew had just over an hour to load 40 days¹ worth of food and
diesel in Qingdao after finally completing leg four, and set sail again on
the most demanding and potentially dangerous leg of the course, chasing the
rest of the fleet that had already left seven hours previously.  

Ericsson 3 had suffered serious structural damage during the gale-ridden leg
four from Singapore to China.  The team had been forced to suspend racing on
27 January when they were in serious danger of sinking, in order to limp
into Taiwan where they made substantial repairs.  They resumed racing on 11
February.

After starting leg five, Ericsson 3 was quickly back in contention, moving
up to third place on day three, a position they made their own until, on day
19, 4 March, Olsson and his brave young navigator made their winning move.

They ignored historic navigational strategy that declared Œsouth was best¹
and immediately after crossing the first scoring gate at latitude 36 degrees
in second place, they tacked northeast away from the fleet.  Magdahl
believed that the best course was to go north of the high pressure that sat
between the fleet and Cape Horn and Olsson put all his faith on Magdahl¹s
shoulders. 

Today, Aksel Magdahl said, ³The northerly route didn¹t seem special at the
time but when all the rest did not follow us then it suddenly seemed a big
decision and very important. It then became the biggest sailing decision of
my life, the biggest sailing moment of my life, that is for sure.

Race veteran Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Telefónica Blue, which had won the
previous two legs said at the time, ³If that route wins them the leg, they
will write history, as up until now, in all the legs down south, the south
has won.²

Simon Fisher, helmsman on Telefónica Blue added, ³We will have to see if
their plan was genius or madness.²

Magdahl explained his strategy around the high pressure at the time: 
³Eighteen hours before the gate I realised this high did not seem to move so
fast anymore.  I was also looking at a very interesting small, but powerful
low pressure coming in from the northeast, and I thought a bit around
whether it was possible to use this, rather than going slow south underneath
the high pressure and even risking getting to close to it.²

Two days, later, the northern decision paid off and Ericsson 3 took the lead
and held on to it tightly for 19 days until today, when the team rewrote the
history books. 

The next boat to finish will be Torben Grael¹s Ericsson 4, later today.

Leg Five Finishing Order Rio
1. Ericsson 3: 8 points

Overall Leaderboard (Provisional)
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA)  56.5 points (RACING)
2. PUMA (Ken Read/USA)   47 points (RACING)
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)

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