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19 August 2005, 01:55 pm
Ericsson Racing Yacht Christened
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006
Gothenburg, Sweden

The Ericsson Racing Team's Volvo Ocean 70 yacht, was last night baptised by her godmother, HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, at a spectacular christening ceremony in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Ericsson together with partners Sony and Semcon, hosted a special event at the Gothenburg Opera for guests from all over the world. The new VO 70 yacht is now officially named Ericsson, representing a key milestone for the Ericsson campaign.

The Ericsson Racing Team led by skipper Neal MCDONALD (GBR) celebrated the christening of their boat last night, in the presence of HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Carl-Henric SVANBERG, President and CEO of Ericsson, Howard STRINGER, Chairman and CEO of Sony and Hans JOHANSSON, CEO of Semcon.

The christening ceremony took place at 2200 hours CET in the magnificent surroundings of the Gothenburg Opera. Princess Victoria was invited onto the stage by SVANBERG, to perform the official christening of the Ericsson yacht. 'We wish our yacht and all who sail with her a safe and a swift journey,' said The Crown Princess. The champagne bottle broke first time - a sign of good luck for the yacht and her crew.

Silence followed and the guests stood transfixed, as the Ericsson yacht was lifted into the air and swung out over the water. The Ericsson Racing Team was lined up on the deck and the sky was lit up with fireworks, as the crowds of supporters let out a resounding cheer.

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Ericsson is christened
© Rick Tomlinson
Skipper MCDONALD commented, 'This is a key milestone in our campaign and we are looking forward to going forward from here. Now that we have the full team in place, our energy will focus on consolidating our skills as a team and making sure the boat is in top shape for race start in November.'

Gunnar KRANTZ (SWE), skipper onboard Swedish entry SEB in the Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002, was amongst the guests attending the christening. 'This is a great event - the christening of the boat is like a start in the race. It lives with you for a long time and gives you extra confidence that you can pull it off and do a great job.'

He continued, 'The Volvo Ocean Race is a fantastic event and a very strong challenge. It takes a lot both from the sponsors, the project managers, the crews and the technical side and it seems like the Ericsson Racing Team has all the components in place. You can see that they are on a hunt for something big, which gives me a lot of confidence in this project.'

With only 78 days to go before the race begins, the Ericsson Racing Team will now sail back to their training base in Vigo, Spain, where they will train until the start of the Volvo Ocean Race on 5 November 2005. The race will take Ericsson to nine stopovers on her journey around the world, finishing back in Gothenburg on 17 June 2006.

Annabel Merrison (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The celebrations in Gothenburg last night:© Rick Tomlinson
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