Bold Olsson leads Volvo field round Cape Horn

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The combination of veterans and apprentices that makes up the Nordic crew of Ericsson 3 led the way round Cape Horn yesterday on the fifth leg of the Volvo round-the-world race.

Skipper Magnus Olsson, who will be 60 next month, held a lead of more than two hours and 50 miles over his stablemate, the five times Brazilian Olympic medallist, Torben Grael on Ericsson 4 – an achievement of double significance.

Grael leads the race overall and is favourite to lift the trophy at the final stopover in St Petersburg. Olsson had started what, at 12,300 miles, is the longest leg in the history of the race with a deficit of five hours after repairs kept him in Taiwan on the way to Qingdao, China.

Ericsson 4's crew member Guy Salter passed on congratulations to Olsson's team. "The Ericsson 3 boys have managed to hold us off and fair play to them.

"They played a good move early after the last scoring gate – a move which none of the rest of us were as brave to play and go against all that is traditional with the NZ to the Horn leg," he said.

In third place, and also due to round one of the world's most notorious landmarks yesterday, is the American entry Puma, skippered by Ken Read, but the Irish-backed entry, Green Dragon, in fourth place, was in its own race against the clock.

The British skipper and double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker was hoping to celebrate with some Guinness on St Patrick's Day but, even with the help of southern Chile being a few hours behind British time, he may have to delay any toasts until today.

Struggling to keep up with the Spanish entry Telefonica Blue, Bouwe Bekking – hobbled with a broken forestay – is also nursing a cracked mast through the 50-knot winds of the Southern Ocean.