Volvo Ocean Race
Torben Grael : "the whole team won"
Ericsson 4’s crew wins the 2009 round the world race
dimanche 28 juin 2009 –
When Ericsson 4 crossed the finish line just off St Petersburg, Russia, it marked the culmination of three years of hard work and preparation. Ericsson 4 skipper Torben Grael (BRA) summed it up in one simple word - "unbelievable".
"It has been a long journey, but it feels good - a nice feeling of mission accomplished," continued Grael, 48. "I think the high moments were the record Record #sailingrecord period and all the leg wins, getting to the harbor with everybody celebrating and cheering. Going around Cape Horn is always a fantastic thing - especially as we went around with lots of wind and in marginal conditions. It’s a feeling of achievement when you go around the Cape. And of course getting this win at the end is the best out of it. We’re very happy with the way everything has happened."
"I feel happy, the pressure is gone," added Grael, the 48-year-old skipper from Brazil who adds the Volvo Ocean Race Volvo Ocean Race #VolvoOceanRace to his collection of five Olympic medals, including two golds.
The whole of Ericsson Racing Team, particularly the group of skilled shore team and boatbuilders were singled out by both skippers for particular praise.
"It takes a lot of effort, organization and teamwork. We have a fantastic team. It’s not just the 11 guys that won, the whole team won," concluded Grael.
Ericsson 3, whose Nordic crew grew by leaps and bounds throughout the race, finished a creditable fourth overall. The crew was entered as a means to give young sailors from Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway the experience necessary to ensure continued participation long into the future and it was the long leg from China to Brazil that was to be their defining moment.
After hitting a submerged object, which caused a crack in the hull’s outer skin and almost resulted in them sinking, the crew rallied round. They pulled into Taiwan and with the help of the teams’ skilled boat builders made the necessary repairs and hot footed it to the start line in Qingdao arriving just 90 minutes after the start of leg 5 to Rio. Amazingly, the crew won the leg.
"I am very proud of our crew and what they have achieved. We had so few issues and it was good sailing. Every day was a good day. All the other races I have done you feel you are there because of yourself, but not on Ericsson 3," commented Magnus Olsson (SWE).
"When we sailed around Cape Horn this time only three guys on board had done it. It was a great privilege to be there with the nine that hadn’t. They were exhausted, hair and beard everywhere - but they were so happy. And it made me so happy."
"Now this group has improved beyond belief. Their skill levels are much higher. If this group get another chance to do it, I don’t think I am good enough to do it with them. I was at the beginning, but not now. Now they take me around the world.
For Ericsson the race marked an adventure of a different sort. An extensive program of client meetings and demonstrations was run in parallel to the race. Ericsson’s regional offices have been heavily involved all around the world, bringing their key customers to the event. Ericsson entered the Volvo Ocean Race Volvo Ocean Race #VolvoOceanRace a second time looking to improve upon its fifth-place showing in the 2005-’06 race.
"It is really a fantastic day for us and I am proud of what both crews of Ericsson Racing Team, the shore team and all the support teams, have achieved," commented Torbjörn Possne, Ericsson’s Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing.
"We used the lessons learnt from the last race and applied these to both the onshore and on water activities and, as a company, Ericsson is delighted with the results. The feedback that we have had to date amongst out key clients and customers has been very positive. The Race has given us a platform to be able to discuss and demonstrate our key product offerings with the key decision makers in our industry. We have been able to create relevant business meetings in a new environment. The mix of business and sport is very powerful."
However, the signature that has singled Ericsson Racing Team throughout the race has been one of diligent preparation.
"Preparation, that’s what it comes down to," said Ericsson 4 watch captain Stu Bannatyne, who has now won for the third time. "The whole thing started with Ericsson committing very early. They got the right people and from there all the right decisions were made. We had experienced people and a good program."
"If you want a winning campaign you need to start early to connect the important people," Olsson added. "The team’s victory is owed to a combination of an early start, early commitment, good funding, dedication throughout the project and good management." ends
Press info Ericsson Racing Team / www.ericssonracingteam.com
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