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Ericsson 4 wins Volvo Ocean Race first leg

  • Story Highlights
  • Ericsson 4 won the first leg and leads the points table
  • Team Puma is in second place and Green Dragon is in third in the points
  • The first leg was 6,500 nautical miles to Cape Town, South Africa
  • The second leg of the race begins on November 15 in Cape Town
  • Next Article in World Sport »
By Mike Steere
For CNN
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(CNN) -- Race favorite Ericsson 4 has cruized to a comfortable victory in the Volvo Ocean Race's first leg from Alicante to Cape Town.

Torben Grael's Ericsson 4 has won the opening leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante to Cape Town.

The Torben Grael-skippered boat broke the world record for distance sailed by a mono-hulled boat in a 24 hour period late in the leg to establish a strong lead over nearest rival Puma.

In setting the record Ericsson 4's crew managed to travel 602 nautical miles, smashing the previous record of 562 miles held by ABN Amro Two since the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

However, winning skipper Grael said the first leg race was closer than it had appeared.

"It was such a close race. Our speeds between the boats are so close. We had visual contact with PUMA for maybe 70% of the race, maybe 80% -- this race will go to the wire," he said.

Team Puma claimed second spot when it crossed the finish line off Cape Town, South Africa late Sunday.

Puma's skipper Ken Read believed his boat had more speed to give in the coming legs.

"We have more in the locker room.

"This race was close, but soon we'll be up to speed and have our day," Read said.

Ericsson 3 claimed third place, and Irish-Chinese entry Green Dragon took fourth three hours later, but was eventually promoted to third due to a penalty which Ericsson 3 sustained during the opening leg.

The results put Ericsson 4 to the top of the points standings with 14, one point ahead of Ken Read's Puma and three points clear of Green Dragon.

Several competitors were still racing to the finish on Monday, with Telefonica Black holding up the rear of the fleet, still around 200 nautical miles from the finish.

To get a live update of all the latest developments on the remaining boats, and see how the leg unfolded visit the official Volvo Ocean Race tracker.

The second leg gets underway on November 15 and is a 4,450 nautical mile leg from Cape Town to Cochin in India.

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