Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Magnus Olsson to remain skipper of Ericsson 3

Anders Lewander reacts to his team's decision to dismiss him

[Source: Ericsson Racing Team] Ericsson Racing Team today announced that Magnus Olsson will remain skipper of Ericsson 3 for Leg 5 to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Anders Lewander, who skippered the Nordic-crewed yacht for the first three legs of the Volvo Ocean Race, will step down.

Lewander was unable to sail aboard Ericsson 3 during Leg 4 due to a knee injury, but has since made a good recovery.

“Being a skipper in this race is a tough job and one that requires highly tuned leadership, and any skipper takes on the job in the full knowledge of the challenge that it poses. Given the tough times ahead for Ericsson 3, we have made the decision to change the dynamic onboard the boat and asked Magnus Olsson to remain as skipper,” said Ericsson Racing Team Managing Director Richard Brisius.

“This last leg was very tough for Magnus and the crew of Ericsson 3. What makes this even more of a challenge is that we now have to repair the boat in Taiwan to get her ready to finish this leg, and endeavor to get her race ready for Leg 5. As a result the crew will probably have to sail more or less non-stop from Taiwan to Rio de Janeiro, briefly stopping in Qingdao to pick up supplies and start the next leg,” Brisius continued. “It therefore makes sense to look for consistent leadership and ask Magnus to continue as skipper.

Wow, that hurts. Video copyright Ericsson Racing Team

“Anders has played a vital role in the campaign since he was appointed in 2007 and has been instrumental in the selection and build-up of the team,” Brisius said.

“I am naturally very disappointed but it is also important that we put this into perspective,” said Lewander. “As a team we have had a podium position in each of the first three legs of this race, which is a significant achievement.

“I am pleased of what we have achieved, and as with all experiences you grow from them and move on. I was fully aware of the challenges before I accepted the role,” Lewander said. “I am proud of my involvement with Ericsson Racing Team and will continue to support them.”

Olsson is currently in Hualien, Taiwan, overseeing the repair of Ericsson 3.

“In a way this is a bittersweet situation, but I am immensely proud of what we have achieved to date as a team,” said Olsson, who’s competing in his sixth circumnavigation race. “I feel humbled by the responsibility and trust that the crew and the rest of Ericsson Racing Team have placed on me. We are now under real pressure to perform.”

Eivind Melleby, a helmsman and trimmer who sailed Legs 1, 2 and 3, will rejoin the crew in Qingdao for Leg 5.

Yesterday Ericsson 3 was moved by barge from Keelung, on Taiwan’s North Coast, to Hualien, in the central East Coast region, where the repair will be carried out.

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