Friday, 17 April 2009
Green Dragon's dragon and shamrock. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.
by Lucy Harwood
There are less than 170 nm left to the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha and winds have dropped below the 9 knot mark as the fleet is due at the gate today by midnight. Telefónica Blue are holding onto their lead, but Torben Grael and his men have moved up to second and are just 17 miles from their stern. It will be battle to see if the blue boat can hold them off as they need to secure as many points ahead of them as possible. The fleet are still caught in reaching conditions as they make their way through the south east trade winds, these are tough times for Green Dragon as the fleet extends, but with over 3,500 miles still remaining there will be more opportunities further up the race course. Current forecasts show that the conditions should improve as they head into the north-easterly trade winds over the next week.
Despite the boat’s position, spirits are high. “There are no gambles to be had, it’s just reaching along basically. All we can do is try to make our boat go faster; sail as well as we can and try to keep as focused as possible. To keep spirits high the crew talk about what they are going to do after the race. But in anyway it’s easy to handle when you just got to reach. It’s harder when the boat is in the middle of the ocean making loses. But right now we are where we are and good news is that at least we have a pretty good forecast and we are going to make pretty fast miles over the next week.” - Skipper Ian Walker.
Andrew McLean helms the Dragon. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.
With the return of Anthony Merrington and Ian Moore it feels like the original team is back. “I’m very comfortable with Ian Moore, I’ve sailed a lot with him” says Ian Walker.
Green Dragon’s skipper also highlighted today the importance of safety and described the crisis communication procedure: “Safety is the most important thing onboard, particularly for me as a skipper, trying to ensure the safety of the boat and the crew. It’s a three principle concern. First of all, some kind of medical emergency in case one of the crew members injury, accident or illness. Secondly, man over board, which we are trained for. The third lead is anything that might threaten the boat such a collision or dismasting. First of all we try to secure the situation and then we try to contact the duty officer of Volvo to let them know what is going on.
"In terms of communication from the boat, we’ve got various forms: by e-mail broadband and normal e-mail connection, satellite phone and the radio. In terms of medical emergency we’ve got three medical kits onboard. The ‘day kit’ which is a version of what everybody should have at home, just for common things such as headache, bandages, plasters, creams, etc. Secondly, we have the slightly more serious kit with the stuff that normally the doctor would administer, for instance, antibiotics or prescription creams. Then we have another case which is sealed and we are not allowed to access unless we really have an emergency. It is a kind hospital administer kit, for instance, to carry out a mini operation using drips etc. Of course, everything we do would be guided from England. We have a team doctor and also the Volvo doctor who we can contact 24 hours a day.”
Leg Six Day 6: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
1. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) DTF 3,653 nm
2. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +17
3. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) + 19
4. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +23
5. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +29
6. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +31
7. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +60
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS
Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race