ERICSSON 3 CREW MOVES INTO TIE FOR SECOND PLACE
Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race began on Feb. 14, but for Ericsson
Racing Team's Nordic crew the leg began three days earlier when
the sailors set off from Taiwan on their yacht Ericsson 3 bound
for the finish of Leg 4 in Qingdao, China.
Today marks the crew's second week at sea, save for two hours when
they docked in Qingdao to load food, fuel, gear, spares and
additional crewmembers, including two new faces, for the leg. Today,
they're reaping the rewards of focused diligence.
At today's 1309 GMT position report, Ericsson 3 was tied for second
place with Puma of the U.S. Both boats trailed fleet leader Ericsson
4 by 26 nautical miles.
Ericsson 3 and Puma's il Mostro were separated by about 8 nautical
miles and have been racing in close quarters since last weekend. Puma
had held the upper hand until last night, when Ericsson 3 got by to
windward in light conditions. The fleet is contending with the South
Pacific convergence zone, an area of unsettled weather.
"We are still in the tricky Doldrums fighting closely with Puma,"
said Ericsson 3 watch captain Thomas Johanson. "The wind and weather
is changing extremely quick in this convergence zone and the wind
just went from 10 to 30 knots. It was really what we call a [tough]
fight, but we handled it well and actually overtook the il Mostro."
A pre-race goal of the Nordic crew entry was to give offshore
experience to a group of sailors who are solid in their own right,
having backgrounds in the America's Cup, Olympic classes and other
grand-prix sailing, but had never done a circumnavigation race. Many
of the crewmembers were picked by skipper/watch captain Magnus
Olsson, who's competing in his sixth Volvo Ocean Race.
"I thought we would have bigger problems with Puma and Ericsson 4.
They are a little bit faster than us in these power-reaching
conditions," said Olsson, who was named skipper during the stay in
"I think we've done well," Olsson continued. "We weren't as well
rested as we should've been because we fixed the boat and came late
for the start and it was a big drama and everybody had the mindset we
had to finish Leg 4 before we could start Leg 5. So it wasn't ideal,
but I'm very, very happy with where we are. It couldn't have started
better for us."
There have been other changes to the crew list. Johanson, the primary
helmsman on the initial legs, became a watch captain when Richard
Mason had to stand down for this leg due to an injury concern.
Two other crewmembers were also added for Leg 5, Arve Roaas of
Finland and Magnus Woxen of Sweden, who have previously raced in the
Their experience is welcome as seven of the 10 active crewmembers and
the media crewman are participating in their first circumnavigation
"I would say we are a bunch of very different guys but with same
determination, winning spirit and never-give-up-attitude," said
Johanson. "We are all on a mission and trying the best ever we can to
show ourselves we can do this race. Well, not only to finish,but to
be on the podium. We have the talent but not the experience. Gladly
we are fast to learn."
Of the remaining crew, there has been a shuffle of responsibility.
Jens Dolmer, the boat captain, pitman and former farmer, has become
backup to navigator Aksel Magdahl, the youngest navigator in the
race. Johanson describes Dolmer as the boat's "heart and soul."
"He likes to be close to the nav desk, so he is now working as a
floater and is Aksel's backup, but also as our pitman," said
Johanson. "He surely is a workhorse who's always checking the systems
and [pushing] others to try to get to his level on their different
VOLVO OCEAN RACE LEG 5 LEADERBOARD
(Feb. 25, 2009, 1309 GMT)
1. Ericsson 4, +8,830 nautical miles to finish
2. Ericsson 3, +26 NM
2. Puma, +26 NM
4. Telefónica Blue, +62 NM
5. Green Dragon, +88 NM