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12 March 2006, 08:31 am
One To Forget
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ericsson Racing Team crossed the finish line in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at 1912 UTC last night to take fifth place in leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race. For Neal MCDONALD (GBR) and his crew the 6,700 nautical mile leg has not been the happiest and yesterday's result will be one they would rather forget.
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Skipper MCDONALD commented, 'It's great to finally be here. It was long leg and physiologically very difficult. We are not pleased with the result but we are very pleased to be here in one piece without to many catastrophes. We are not enjoying being behind and we will just have to try and improve in the future. There is still a long way to go and it feels like we have done all the hard work and I know from experience that there is still a long way to go in this race. We've been through the toughest legs and now it's time to make up the points.'

Magnus WOXEN (SWE) added on the dock, 'This leg was mentally very tough as well as physically, as you hammer the boat through big Southern Ocean waves. It's an unbelievable experience when you are jumping and flying off waves. You hear bangs and hope that it doesn't mean anything but it is one hell of a ride! It's a question of knowing how hard to push the boat and we are still learning.'

Leg Of Immense Frustration

Ericsson Racing Team arrived in Rio de Janeiro last night in fifth place at 1912 UTC after 20 days, 17 hours and 42 minutes at sea. The story of their leg is one of immense frustration. On day four, they blew out a spinnaker, which took 36 hours to repair. The lack of this crucial sail prevented the team from sailing where they wanted to and the three boats to the south slipped away into more breeze. On day nine, 27 February, the boat did a spectacular Chinese gybe. Luckily no one was hurt and no gear was damaged. In a situation like this, they were very lucky not to break their mast. The team was back up to speed again in a few hours, but it again cost them precious miles.

In the approach to Cape Horn, there was a glimmer of hope that Ericsson might be able to pass ABN AMRO TWO. The team set their biggest spinnaker at first light in their attempt to overtake. Pushing hard until about 120 miles short of Cape Horn itself, the sea state was so unfriendly that the spinnaker was dropped. More drama followed shortly thereafter when, in the mountainous seas, their battery bank broke free and began to short on some carbon structure, starting a resin fire. Smoke and flames were beginning to show and the team quickly levered the whole bank away from the carbon, solving the immediate problem, and it was back to business.

Leaving Cape Horn and the Falkland Islands behind them, the team was obsessed with their strategy to the finish. They were at the back of the fleet and desperate to make gains, claiming that they would happily stay at sea for another four weeks if it could mean a better result. It was not to be.

Of the six teams who contested leg four, only movistar now remain out on the course. Their current ETA into Rio is in the early hours on Tuesday.

Leg Four Finish Report, 12 March 2006
(movistar still racing)

Pos Team Nation Skipper TLPTS Arrival Time Leg Time RPTD Overall
1 ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 10.5 11/03/2006 - 03:18:23 UTC 020d 01h 48m 23s 49 1
2 Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 9 11/03/2006 - 07:06:50 UTC 020d 05h 36m 50s 30.5 3
3 ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 7 11/03/2006 - 07:36:10 UTC 020d 06h 06m 10s 35 2
4 Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 6.5 11/03/2006 - 07:55:04 UTC 020d 06h 25m 04s 26.5 5
5 Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neil MACDONALD (GBR) 4.5 11/03/2006 - 19:12:52 UTC 020d 17h 42m 52s 21 6

TLPTS: Total Leg Points
RPTD: Race Points To Date
Overall: Overall Position

Position Report At 0400 Hours UTC, 12 March 2006
Team Nation Skipper Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTLC CMG SMG VMG ETA
ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN
Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN
ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN
Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN
Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN FIN
movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 36 50.02S 46 39.03W 855 0 0 12 6.6 12 16/03/2006 - 0257 UTC
Brunel AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS

DTF: Distance To Finish
DTL: Distance To Leader
DTLC: Distance To Leader Change; the difference between the distance from the boat to the leader taken at the time of the last six hour poll, and the distance from the boat to the leader at the previous poll
CMG: Course Made Good; the average course steered over the period of the past six hours up to the time of the last poll
SMG: Speed Made Good
VMG: Velocity Made Good; the average velocity of the boat towards the finish over the entire leg
ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival

Overall Leaderboard
(Up to and including Leg Four - not yet ratified)

Pos Team Nation Skipper Pts
1 ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 49
2 ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastien JOSSE (FRA) 35
3 Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 30.5
4 movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 28
5 Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 26.5
6 Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 21
7 ING Real Estate Brunel AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) 11.5

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

Lizzie GREEN (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Ericsson sails into finish leg four:© David BRANIGAN
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