The Ericsson Racing Team concluded its participation in the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06 in Gothenburg on Saturday 17 June, with a fifth place in the overall ranking. The result comes as a disappointment having started out with high expectations, but the team's attitude and improvement throughout the race, together with the corporate achievements of the campaign, are considered a great success.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06 is over and all eyes are on the next edition. For the Ericsson Racing Team, the 32,000 nautical mile journey around the world started on 5 November in Sanxenxo, Spain, with a victory in the first in-port race. However, a series of technical problems followed, which affected the team's progress and results throughout the event.
'These races are complicated and the technology aspects play a huge role', explains Ericsson skipper Neal McDonald (GBR). 'The first two legs, in which we had problems, cost us an awful lot in terms of experience and points. We felt that we were just getting into the swing of it, and that we had improved a lot. Ericsson has been a big part of our progress; they have been extremely supportive despite our difficulties. The guys on the boat have done a great job, together with the shore team which worked extremely hard. It is a great team of professionals and we all worked as hard as we could to get every ounce of speed possible.'
In parallel to the sailing campaign, Ericsson has been running a strong commercial program throughout the race, involving hundreds of customers and employees all over the world. 'It has been a fantastic event for us, planning the land activities and using it as a global commercial platform', explains Bert Nordberg, Ericsson's Executive Vice-President and Head of Sales and Marketing. 'Our objective was to grow our business and strengthen our brand around the globe, and we believe this has been a huge success. We have reached over 4000 people from 400 companies and we have had over 100 technical seminars around the world, numbers exceeding our expectations and targets.'
The Ericsson Racing Team will now take a well deserved break. The Ericsson yacht will be used throughout the summer with a smaller team. She will race in the famous Gotland Runt (SWE) on 2 July before being used for corporate sailing throughout the summer.
Bert Nordberg adds: 'We are very excited by the prospect of a new race and applaud the race organisation for enhancing the race further and adding new, commercially interesting territories to the course while maintaining the integrity of the yacht race. Of course, formal decisions need to be taken but as Head of Sales and Marketing at Ericsson, I will definitely work to ensure that we do this again.'
In order to support a possible future campaign, Atlant Ocean Racing has already started working on the next edition of the event; laying the foundations for a successful sporting campaign.
Nordberg continues: 'Based on the commercial success of our current campaign, I think it is very hard to find a better and more efficient platform for meeting and spending quality time with our customers in an exciting environment. Our participation in this race has contributed to growing our business and we look very positively on giving it another shot.'