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30 October 2008, 09:58 am
Ericsson 4 Breaks Through 600 Nautical Mile Barrier
Record breaker, VO70 Ericsson 4
Ericsson 4 clocked up an incredible 602nm run over 24 hours

Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09

Ericsson 4 broke through the 600nm barrier, when she extended her lead on leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race with a historic 24-hour distance run of 602.66nm on Wednesday night, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.
Skipper Torben GRAEL (BRA) and his crew, which is one man short since Tony MUTTER (NZL) was taken off the boat at the Cape Verde islands last week with an infected knee, have been pushing the boat hard for well over 24 hours. They first toppled the monohull 24-hour distance record of 562.96nm set by Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) and the crew of ABN AMRO TWO in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race at 03:55 UTC on Wednesday morning with a run of 566.57nm. They raised the bar repeatedly and, by 13:00 UTC, 593 miles were on the board as the magical 600-mark grew nearer. By 14:25 UTC, they had clocked 594.23nm as they moved onwards and upwards. At 18:54 UTC, GRAEL and his crew smashed through the 600nm barrier with their record breaking run of 602.66nm. These distances are subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC).

Guy SALTER (GBR), Media Crew Member onboard Ericsson 4 said last night, "It's not everyday you get to have a ride as we have had over the past day or so. To get a new 24-hour record has been superb, but the reality of that feat out here hasn't really sunk in. We know we have a record but what is more on the fellas' minds is getting to Cape Town and hopefully at the front of the pack, avoiding damage to ourselves and the yacht. All the boys look really drained - sleep is not the easiest on Ericsson 4 - I can only describe the motion as I would imagine re-entry on the space shuttle is like."

The record breaking speed of Ericsson 4 has helped the Swedish entry extend her lead by 30nm over the past 12 hours up to 71nm at the 07:00 UTC poll this morning. Ken READ (USA) and his team onboard PUMA have been doing their utmost to hang onto the coattails of the leaders and remain in second place, whilst Ericsson 3 (Anders LEWANDER/SWE) has moved up into third, with Green Dragon (Ian WALKER/GBR) losing miles overnight as they made a move to position themselves to the south of the leaders.

Further back in the fleet, the westerly gale continued to whip up seas in excess of eight metres. Sailing at around 25 knots, Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI/ESP) launched off a particularly large wave, momentarily lost control of the boat and crash landed only to find that one of the rudders had sheared off and part of a daggerboard and the bowsprit were gone. None of the crew was injured and the damage to the yacht was quickly assessed. The crew has mounted an emergency rudder and are continuing on course to Cape Town, albeit rather more slowly.

Telefónica Syndicate Head, Pedro CAMPOS (ESP), said that the safety of the crew was the first priority and reported that all are well and unhurt. He confirmed that the damage to the yacht was not thought to be structural in any way but, understandably, the crew is very disappointed to have to nurse the yacht into Cape Town. He praised the crew for their professionalism and the seamanlike manner in which they dealt with the situation.

Leg One Day 20: 07:00 UTC Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to leader)

Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben GRAEL/BRA) DTF 1267
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken READ/USA) +71
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders LEWANDER/SWE) +153
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian WALKER/GBR) +216
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe BEKKING/NED) +299
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando ECHAVARRI/ESP) +370
Delta Lloyd IRL (Ger O'ROURKE/IRL) +428
Team Russia RUS (Andreas HANAKAMP/AUT) +430

Volvo Ocean Race Leaderboard*
(After Leg One Scoring Gate)

1. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe BEKKING/Iker MARTINEZ), 6 points
2. Telefónica Black (Fernando ECHAVARRI), 6 points
3. Puma Il Mostro (Ken READ), 6 points
4. Ericsson 4 (Torben GRAEL), 6 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian WALKER), 6 points
6. Delta Lloyd (Ger O'ROURKE), 2 point
7. Ericsson 3 (Anders LEWANDER), 1 points
8. Team Russia (Andreas HANAKAMP), 1 points

*Provisional standings

Go here for all the news on the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09

Volvo Ocean Race - www.volvooceanrace.org

Lizzie Ward (As Amended By ISAF)
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