A relieved WALKER said, "We're delighted on board. We've been leading for a few days now and every single position report we're watching to see if they're closing in us, but we're holding them off."
Guy SALTER, Media Crew Member on Ericsson 4, described the tension, as the short handed crew pushed as hard as they could towards the gate. "Nobody has time to chat as all concentration goes into getting to the gate quicker than the boats around us, that is why it is my turn to write the report.
"The strain of being a man down is showing in the harder conditions - but we seem to be coping, although if Tony [Tony MUTTER (NZL)] were here we would probably have that extra gear he often provides us with."
The international crew on Ericsson 4 just pipped PUMA (Ken READ/USA) to the post after days of battling. PUMA skipper READ, although concentrating hard on the blue and orange boat in front, did have to endure King Neptune's visit as three crew members including himself were virgin's to crossing the equator.
The skipper was covered in 'rancid food' and vegemite was rubbed into his hair but it was the pony-tailed young crewman Michi MULLER who pulled the shortest straw of the trio. READ described the scene, "He was simply handed a pair of scissors. I don't think any of the boys had the guts to cut Michi's hair for fear of retribution. But they gave Michi the chance and he immediately reached back - grabbed the pony tail - and cut off the last inch or so of the long blond locks. All to the huge amusement of the entire team."
PUMA was 12 miles from Fernando at the 13:00 UTC report and will gain three points if they cross in third position. Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI/ESP) is currently in fourth, 31 miles away with its sister boat Telefónica Blue (Bouwe BEKKING/NED) 65 miles behind them.
Simon FISHER (GBR) navigator from Telefónica Blue had praise for the Green Dragon crew this afternoon but says his crew are still determined, with 3,450 miles still to go till the finish in Cape Town. "As I write the first boat has just passed the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha. Good work Ian [WALKER] and crew - I think they have sailed a great leg so far, going as west as we probably all should have done but didn't quite have the guts... They stuck by their strategy and have been awarded maximum points."
Ericsson 3 (Anders LEWANDER/SWE) are currently in sixth position with Delta Lloyd (Ger O'ROURKE/IRL) to the east of them having jumped up the position board into seventh in the past day with their increased boat speed. They have had a 24 hour run of 311 miles compared to Team Russia's (Andreas HANAKAMP/AUT) 227. Delta Lloyd has a better wind angle at the moment to sail to the gate, due to their easterly placing but with 171 and 192 miles respectively till the island there is still all to play for.
Leg One Day 13: 13:00 UTC Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to leader)
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian WALKER/GBR) DTF 3354
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben GRAEL/BRA) + 13
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken READ/USA) +16
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando ECHAVARRI/ESP) +31
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe BEKKING/NED) +96
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders LEWANDER/SWE) +153
Delta Lloyd IRL (Ger O'ROURKE/IRL) +174
Team Russia RUS (Andreas HANAKAMP/AUT) +197
Volvo Ocean Race Leaderboard
(After In-Port race 1)
1. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe BEKKING/Iker MARTINEZ), 4 points
2. Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI), 3.5 points
3. Puma Il Mostro (Ken READ), 3 points
4. Ericsson 4 (Torben GRAEL), 2.5 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian WALKER), 2 points
6. Delta Lloyd (Ger O'ROURKE), 1 point
7. Ericsson 3 (Anders LEWANDER), 0.5 points*
8. Team Russia (Andreas HANAKAMP), 0.5 points
*one point has been deducted from the Ericsson 3 score as per the jury decision number JN04 2 October.
Volvo Ocean Race - www.volvooceanrace.org