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Swedish yacht secures home win in Volvo race

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Swedish yacht secures home win in Volvo race
12:07 CEST+02:00
Sweden's Ericsson 4 docked at Marstrand in southwest Sweden on Thursday morning as the clear leader of the nine-month yacht race, which is set to conclude later this month.

Ericsson 4 remained on course to take the around-the-world race after extending its lead in the gruelling event.

The yacht arrived in the port of Marstrand near Gothenburg at around 5am after covering the 1,250-mile leg from Galway in Ireland in 12 hours, 57 minutes.

It finished just minutes ahead of US entry Puma Ocean Racing and Sino-Irish boat Green Dragon at the end of a tight race.

Ericsson 4, skippered by Brazil's two-time Olympic champion Torben Grael, now has a 15-point lead in the event, with just 20 points left to be won in the two remaining stages and one in-port race, and its overall victory appears all but certain.

Puma snatched second place in the overall standings from Telefonica Blue, which finished fourth in Marstrand.

"It was a very important result, a very close race," said Grael. "Green Dragon was sailing really well and they had an excellent leg.

"We're very close to winning the race, but we're not there yet," he added.

Puma skipper Ken Read said he was "very proud" of his team after a difficult race in which the spinnaker broke.

"Many people have asked if I could write a book about this around-the-world adventure and the truth is I could write a book about this leg only," he said.

The seven teams will now spend three days in Marstrand before leaving Sunday on the short 500-mile leg to Stockholm, where Ericsson 4 is expected to confirm its overall victory in the capital of its home country.

The Volvo race, which began in Alicante, Spain in October, is to conclude in Saint Petersburg, Russia, late this month after negotiating 10 stages over 37,000 nautical miles.

Positions in eight stage:

1. Ericsson 4 8.0 points

2. Puma Racing 7.0

3. Green Dragon 6.0

4. Telefonica Blue 5.0

5. Delta Lloyd 4.0

6. Telefonica Black 3.0

7. Ericsson 3 2.0

Overall standings:

1. Ericsson 4 (SWE)/Torben Grael (BRA) 102.0 points

2. Puma Ocean Racing (USA)/Ken Read (USA) 87.0

3. Telefonica Blue (ESP)/Bouwe Bekking (NED) 86.0

4. Ericsson 3 (SWE)/Magnus Olsson (SWE) 64.5

5. Green Dragon (CHN/EIR)/Ian Walker (GBR) 59.0

6. Telefonica Black (ESP)/Fernando Echavarri (ESP) 42.0

7. Delta Lloyd (NED)/Roberto Bermudez (ESP) 35.0

8. Team Russia (RUS)/Andreas Hanakamp (AUT) 10.5 (withdrawn from the

race).

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