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Round-the-world boats prepare for next leg

After Ericsson's victory, 8 days to next leg

by WideWorld



Ericsson Racing Team won its third consecutive leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, one of the world's toughest, and the team is now gearing up for leg 8 which starts on Friday.

Skippered by Brazilian Torben Grael, Ericsson 4 arrived in Galway, Ireland last week, scoring 11 points out of a possible 12. The boat crossed the 2,550-nautical mile course from Boston, USA to Ireland in 7 days, 7 hours, 34 minutes and 22 seconds.

Grael said it was a rough ride into Galway and his crew pushed the boat hard. Huge crowds greeted the Volvo Ocean boats as they arrived.

The next leg, from Galway to Marstrand, begins later this week. The boats will sail down the west coast of Ireland, across the Irish Sea to England, then into the North Sea and finally to the Baltic. Hazards include tidal streams running around the British and Irish headlands and unpredictable weather in the Baltic.

The Volvo Ocean Race started life in 1973 as the Whitebread Round the World Race - described as the longest, most demanding and perilous sporting contest in the world.

Three competitors died in that inaugural race after being washed overboard in storms. The race now takes place every four years.

The current race began in October in Alicante, Spain and finishes in late June in St Petersburg, Russia. By that point, the teams will have sailed over 37,000 nautical miles in some of the world's most treacherous seas.

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