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2 February 2006, 09:43 am
Ericsson Ready For In Port Race
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006
Melbourne, Australia

The Ericsson Racing Team has been out training in Port Phillip Bay, Australia today with just two days to go until the Melbourne In Port race. Scheduled for kick off at 1400 hours local time on Saturday 4 February, the third In Port race of the Volvo Ocean Race represents a return to racing for Ericsson after almost a month on dry land.
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The team was forced to retire from leg two due to a failure in the keel movement system and the boys are eager to return to racing and score points on the leaderboard.

The Ericsson Racing Team is busy squeezing in all the practice it can before Saturday's race in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne. Inshore tactician John KOSTECKI (USA) has arrived and the team took to the water today to practice manoeuvre training with Pirates of the Caribbean.

As skipper Neal MCDONALD (GBR) confirms, KOSTECKI is very much the man in charge for the In Port races. 'He's been with us since the start and he's got a good strength in both offshore and inshore racing. As a tactician he's second to none and I'm very pleased to have him on the team. Neither of us have done a huge amount of sailing in the Bay, but we will go out there and take it on.'

Ericsson returned to the water on Wednesday and the crew headed out to check all the systems onboard are in good working order - from the mast, to the rig and the canting keel system. Every single piece of titanium equipment on the boat has been scanned.

In Good Spirits

'The boat is in great shape and today we started crew training,' commented Spanish team member, Guillermo ALTADILL. 'The team spirit is good - everyone is fully charged both physically and mentally and we will go out there and give it our best shot.'

Magnus OLSSON (SWE), Ericsson's Technical Director and five times Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race veteran, played an integral role on the water today. Charged with laying the buoys and offering expert advice to the crew, OLSSON is optimistic about the future. 'The chemistry between the crew is strong and on the technical side we have come to good decisions on how to overcome our problems.'

'We are focussing hard on crew work and getting into race mode,' said KOSTECKI. 'Difficult times can make you a stronger team and everyone is keen to get out racing again.'

The course for Saturday's In Port race will be a three or four windward-leeward legs depending on the wind conditions. Tactician KOSTECKI predicts the following conditions,

'The forecast is for a light gradient wind but if we get some heating inland, there will be a thermal effect. The wind could build to 15-20 knots as the sea breeze fills in from the South. We're expecting a more stable breeze than we had for the Sanxenxo and Cape Town In Port races, and not much of a tidal influence. It's a closed bay so it will be fairly sheltered from the swell and more like sailing on a lake.'

Quotes From The Crew

Tom BRAIDWOOD (AUS): 'I can't wait to get back out on the water. Everyone's really excited to have another crack at it. We look forward to a good, steady day's sailing and the opportunity to show the potential of our boat which we haven't really had a chance to do yet.'

Magnus WOXEN (SWE): 'On Wednesday we went out sailing for the first time in almost a month. We had ten to twelve knots of wind and it was great to be out on the water again. We are very excited about Saturday's race. It should start off fairly light which suits us. Today we have checked a few sails for the In Port race and done some valuable training with the Pirates.'

Magnus OLSSON (SWE): 'The team is in good spirits. The recent events have really bonded the team - everyone is working well together. The crew has had a chance to rest and have some breathing space. We are all full of energy to turn things around and I am optimistic about the future.

'On the technical side, we have come to good decisions on how to overcome our problems - this has been very much a group consensus and everybody in the team is happy with the solution.'

John KOSTECKI (USA): 'We had a long day on the water today, working more on crew work and getting into race mode. We often observe in top performance sports that problems make a team stronger and I can certainly see this with the Ericsson crew. Everyone is keen to get out racing again and prepare for the next leg.'

Overall Leaderboard
(Up to and including Leg Two)

Pos Team Nation Skippers Pts
3 movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 15.5
4 Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 14.5
5 Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 13.5
6 Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 12.5
7 Brunel AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) 11

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

Annabel MERRISON (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Ericsson are looking forward to the In Port race in Melbourne:© Th. MARTINEZ
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