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29 November 2005, 10:30 am
Set Back For Ericsson
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

Last night, Swedish entry Ericsson was reaching at 20 knots, in 22 knots of wind, when a failure occurred in the keel movement system. The boat had to be stopped to allow the crew to inspect the damage. Ericsson is now sailing towards Cape Town, South Africa, the leg one finish of the Volvo Ocean Race, under reduced sail to avoid overloading the system. The crew is in no danger.

'We were reaching on starboard tack at a speed of 20 knots,' explains Ericsson skipper Neal MCDONALD (GBR). 'The boat was fully loaded, but these were normal sailing conditions. At 0045 GMT we suddenly heard a loud bang. We immediately stopped the boat and took the mainsail down to investigate the problem. There was no visible damage, but it was obvious that the keel was flopping from side to side! After a few minutes work, Richard MASON managed to lock the keel in one safe position. We are now sailing towards Cape Town in a much reduced capacity.'

The details of the reasons of Ericsson's keel problems are not yet known, and the team will investigate the system thoroughly once the boat arrives in Cape Town. As one crew member summarizes, 'We are in no danger, but we are very annoyed because we have lost the opportunity to sail the boat properly.'

Leading the fleet, Mike SANDERSON (NZL) and ABN AMRO ONE and the youngsters on the second team boat ABN AMRO TWO led by Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) now have less than a 1,000 miles to sail to Cape Town, and, based on their current speed, the estimated finish will be in the early hours of Thursday morning, while third place Brasil 1 could finish later that night. Australians Sunergy and Friends still have 2,539 miles to run and their arrival into Cape Town is looking like 7 December, but they are still too far away to predict this with any accuracy.

Position Report At 1000 Hours UTC, 29 November 2005

Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 35 17.10S 02 04.09E 813 0 0 97 18.3 13.8 01/12/2005 - 0537 UTC
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 35 17.21S 00 31.03W 940 127 -2 102 18.2 13.5 01/12/2005 - 1500
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 35 07.33S 02 34.14W 1040 227 1 96 18.2 13.3 01/12/2005 - 1905
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 35 01.26S 04 13.43W 1122 309 -23 101 14.4 13.1 02/12/2005 - 1313
Sunergy and Friends AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) 27 03.09S 30 27.10W 2539 1726 -61 164 13 9.6 07/12/2005 - 0313
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 37 07.38N 08 31.48W No Data No Data No Data No Data No Data No Data No Data

For a complete list of all the news about the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 CLICK HERE.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Ericsson in happier times:© Ericsson Racing Team
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