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Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Sunday, 2 November 2008

Ericsson 4 claim Volvo Ocean leg

Ericsson 4 during the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race
Ericsson 4 was propelled by a cold front and high winds in the Atlantic

Ericsson 4 won the 7,840-mile first leg of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean race from Spain to South Africa.

The Swedish boat, skippered by Brazilian Torben Grael, covered the stretch from Alicante to Cape Town in 21 days, 17 hours and 54 minutes.

United States boat Puma Racing, skippered by Ken Read is expected to finish second later on Sunday.

Grael said: "We had a wonderful journey and I am very happy with everything we have achieved."

Ericsson 4 led for much of the gale-lashed leg and shattered the distance record for a monohull boat by covering 590 miles in one 24 hour period.

"We had very rough weather for a couple of days with a lot of speed," Grael added.

"We had PUMA on visual for 70% of the race. I was glad we were ahead of them at the scoring gate and at the finish."

The second leg starts on Saturday, 15 November and sees the eight competing teams head to Cochin in India, taking care to steer well clear of the east coast of Africa where the waters are plagued by Somalian pirates.

The 10-leg race is due to finish in St Petersburg, Russia in June 2009.

see also
Swedish boat breaks 24-hour mark
29 Oct 08 |  Other sport...
Walker to set sail in Volvo race
10 Oct 08 |  Other sport...

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