Volvo Race - Green Dragon leads past scoring gate

Green Dragon is first to pass through the scoring gate of Fernando de Noronha, on leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race

Green Dragon - Ian Walker/GBR - passed through the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha today in the lead at 12:24 GMT. They moved clear to the top of the score board for a short time with six points, before Ericsson 4 - Torben Grael/BRA - followed through at 13:59 GMT. They both sit at the top of the table with six points.

A relieved Ian Walker said, 'We’re delighted on board. We’ve been leading for a few days now and every single position report we’re watching to see if they’re closing in us, but we’re holding them off.'

Guy Salter (Media Crew Member) on Ericsson 4 described the tension, as the short handed crew pushed as hard as they could towards the gate. 'Nobody has time to chat as all concentration goes into getting to the gate quicker than the boats around us, that is why it is my turn to write the report.

'The strain of being a man down is showing in the harder conditions - but we seem to be coping, although if Tony (Tony Mutter) were here we would probably have that extra gear he often provides us with.'

The International crew on Ericsson 4 just pipped PUMA (Ken Read/USA) to the post after days of battling to round in second place at 13:59 for their 3.5-point windfall.

Ken Read's men pocketed three points when they rounded at 14:16. Telefonica Black, meanwhile, passed the landmark at 14:48 to collect 2.5 points.

The overall pecking order is headed by Telefonica Black - based on the Alicante in-port race performances (see provisional leaderboard below).

Simon Fisher navigator from Telefónica Blue had praise for the Green Dragon crew this afternoon but says his crew are still determined, with 3450 miles still to go till the finish in Cape Town. 'As I write the first boat has just passed the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha. Good work Ian (Walker) and crew - I think they have sailed a great leg so far, going as west as we probably all should have done but didn't quite have the guts... They stuck by their strategy and have been awarded maximum points.'

Ericsson 3 (Anders Lewander/SWE) are currently in sixth position with Delta Lloyd (Ger O’Rourke/IRL) to the east of them having jumped up the position board into seventh in the past day with their increased boat speed. They have had a 24 hour run of 311 miles compared to Team Russia’s (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) 227. Delta Lloyd has a better wind angle at the moment to sail to the gate, due to their easterly placing but with 171 and 192 miles respectively till the island there is still all to play for.

This outcome and rounding time were as predicted 30 hours previously by Sail-World using software and data supplied by www.predictwindwind.com!PredictWind and www.iexpedition.org!Expedition

Volvo Ocean Race Leg One Day 13: 18:00 GMT Thursday Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to leader)

1 Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) DTF 3354
2 Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) + 5
3 PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +6
4 Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +8
5 Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +67
6 Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE) +121
7 Delta Lloyd IRL (Ger O'Rourke/IRL) +142
8 Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) +171

*Provisional leaderboard (including first scoring gate) as at 16:00 GMT Thursday:

1. Telefonica Black - 6pts
2. PUMA - 6pts
3. Ericsson 4 - 6pts
4. Green Dragon - 6pts
5. Telefonica Blue - 4pts
6. Delta Lloyd - 1pt
7. Ericsson 3 - 0.5 pts
8. Team Russia - 0.5 pts

*TIES: When there is a tie on total points between two or more Boats, the tie will be broken in favour of the Boat with the most first places counting Legs and In Port Races, and, if the tie remains, the most second places, and so on.