Wednesday, 20 May 2009

VOR: GREEN DRAGON LEG SEVEN DAY 3 QFB: received 18.05.09 1655 GMT

Wet and wild on Green Dragon. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.

by Ian Walker (skipper)

It is amazing what a difference a few degrees of water temperature makes. The water has just gone from 5.5 degrees to 10.5 degrees as we are currently right on the edge of where the freezing cold Labrador Current meets the more tropical Gulf Stream.

The whole boat instantly feels warmer above and below decks and, more importantly, it has led the fog to thin out so we can see where we are going for the first time in days. It is easy to appreciate how much the UK and Ireland owe to the Gulf Stream and its warming waters. Warmer sea temperatures immediately means more wind in the sails so progress which has been slow at times recently is improved. The status of Green Dragon has also improved.

Ian Walker looks out of the cabin. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.

At first light this morning we swapped the daggerboards back round putting the repaired port daggerboard in the port case. We are very confident in the repair and the only very small downside is a less than perfect surface finish to the repaired part of the foil. Maybe next time we'll bring car filler, paint and a polisher!

Whilst damp and cold I cannot think how lightly we are getting away with this part of the trip. I would not like to be in this part of the world in a northerly gale and one cannot help but think of the Perfect Storm which took place on the Grand Banks not far from our current position. I take my hat off to anybody who fishes this part of the world for a living (apart from the lobster fishermen of course).

Neal McDonald at the helm of Green Dragon. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.

The race remains tight and we are hoping that the leaders get distracted by their battle for the scoring gate and allow us to gain some precious miles towards the waypoint. We are in a pretty close fight with Delta Lloyd who are seven miles ahead and a few to leeward and appear to be heading up towards our line rather than heading directly east towards the scoring gate. The next few days look like they will be made up of much of the same before the downwind ride to Ireland begins.

Volvo Ocean Race

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