Saturday, 23 May 2009
Waves tumble over the deck of Green Dragon. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.
by Lucy Harwood
Leg 7 is setting up to be a classic race, with the potential for a grandstand finish into Galway Bay this weekend. It was a long night at sea for the fleet as they battled storm force conditions, gusts of over 40 knots, big seas, knock downs and breakages. PUMA was one of the biggest casualties of the night after they broke one of their rudders, quick work by the crew meant that they were back on the race course after losing only 24 miles to the fleet. Elsewhere Green Dragon and Ericsson 3 made a gybe north and headed in line behind current leg leader Ericsson 4, some 100 miles north of the remaining pack. It was a good night to begin with for Green Dragon as they started to gain miles on the fleet, but it was not to last after the conditions built. The boat suffered several knock downs and an electrical failure which forced them to pull back the throttle for some time. The electrical issues now fixed onboard, boat speed is back up as they scream along at plus 25 knots to Galway.
The fleet are expected in from Saturday evening in what could be a very close finish. Green Dragon remains one of the most northerly boats and has moved to fifth. Reports from onboard all the boats suggest this is the best sailing the teams have experienced so far in this race. The next big decision for the crews will be when to gybe for Galway, there is another big depression on its way, as Ian Walker described last night “We could gybe earlier and avoid the worst of the strong winds, but not have such a good shift. Or we could just send it straight in there and hope you come out the other side and you’ll have a good shift if you do”.
Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race