Thursday, 26 February 2009

VOR: GREEN DRAGON LEG FIVE DAY 12 QFB: received 25.02.09 0238 GMT

Ian Walker (left) celebrates his birthday in the sun by the equator, near the international dateline, on board Green Dragon on leg 5. Image copyright Guo Chan/Green Dragon Racing.

by Ian Walker (skipper)

February 25th - Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my 39th birthday and I have actually had a lucky escape as we should be crossing the date line tomorrow or the next day and had it been today. It could have seen me celebrating my birthday twice in one year – I didn't fancy turning 40 this year.

Sadly there was no tea in bed, no birthday cards and no presents - it would have been a long way for the postie to come. I did have a few surprises though. Firstly I had a conference call with our CEO and my good friend Jamie Boag who was at a function in Boston and I was treated to a full rendition of 'Happy Birthday' on speakerphone from everybody there including the Mayor of Boston.

Next came a bottle of Guinness and a lovely fruit cake smuggled on to the boat by our friends at 'Good Food Ireland'. Good Food Ireland is an organisation that promotes Irish food and cooking all over the world and they have prepared Irish produce for us and many more in most of the stopovers so far. I can still taste the Irish beef given to me as I stepped ashore in Cape Town at the end of leg one. Thanks guys (and girls) you are the stars of the race so far in my books - not just for your fantastic food but even more for the fun you share. You are an excellent advert for Ireland and you put smiles on faces wherever you go.

Birthdays aside, we have had a very good few days. The fleet has opted to follow our easterly route, which has consolidated some very big gains for us. We have taken over 200 miles out of the leaders and are very much back in the hunt. It looks like everyone is shaping up to go east of Fiji, where a large area of no wind awaits the fleet.

Right now the wind is down to seven knots, the lightest the wind has been since leaving the shores of Qingdao. We are using this opportunity to give the boat a full once over and dry our gear out. It won't be long before we are anxious to get going again. The lads are already counting the days and, to be honest, judging by the smell down below I can see why. As it’s my birthday I may help things by treating myself to a fresh water wash down and a clean pair of undies - that is the closest I am going to get to spoiling myself on my birthday this year.

Volvo Ocean Race

No comments: