Sunday, 24 May 2009

VOR: PUMA and Green Dragon Second and Third into Galway

by SailRaceWin and Volvo Ocean Race media

SailRaceWin: "Crossing the Atlantic is always pretty special, but to be Irish, on an Irish boat, arriving into Ireland with the Volvo Ocean Race may be a once in a lifetime thing." said Green Dragon's navigator, Ian Moore, earlier.

Skipper Ian Walker had always maintained that Green Dragon was capable of a podium finish on the Volvo Ocean Race legs, and today they proved this. The podium placing could not have come at a sweeter time than when sailing into Green Dragon's home port of Galway, Ireland.

Whilst Green Dragon had started the day in second position, following a very fortuitous gybe during stealth play the previous night, they were overtaken by just a few minutes by PUMA during the last 250 miles into Galway.

However, Green Dragon managed to hold off a late-charging Telefonica Blue, under the charge of Volvo veteran skipper Bouwe Bekking, to take the final podium slot on arrival at the Emerald Isle.

Volvo Ocean Race media: Ian Walker's Green Dragon team have sailed their hearts out to finish in third place on leg seven of the Volvo Ocean Race.

With three Irish sailors on board - Ian Moore, Damian Foxall and Justin Slattery - the Dragon has completed its circumnavigation, and earned one of its strongest leg finishes to date.

Telefonica Blue is well positioned for a fourth place finish, while Delta Lloyd has a five mile edge on Telefonica Black.

The sky is starting to light up again but nobody has gone to bed yet.

Some dockside reaction, from the lads aboard Green Dragon:

Ian Moore (navigator): "This is pretty special. Being an Irishman on an Irish boat finishing in an Irish port... I don't think anyone will ever forget this."

And from Ian Walker, the skipper: "I'm lost for words. I'm flabbergasted. The number of people, the number of boats. There must have been 500 boats out there. All at four in the morning. Some of them in little RIBs 30 miles offshore, shouting us on. Is the whole town here? Did anyone stay in bed tonight?

"Given our recent run, third place was beyond our expectations, but that is what we strive for. We knew if we got heavy downwind, that was the one thing we could do well in. I think we managed to just keep going, keep going... We did a number of things well. First, we stayed close. We stayed close enough that we could attack when it got windy. We managed to pull more miles. And we chose the perfect place to gybe. I think we got just the right spot."

And the second place finisher - PUMA - who equalled their best leg finish in the race.

Skipper Ken Read: "This is as good as it gets. That was some of the best sailing we've ever done in our whole lives. To come back after breaking the rudder like that. This crew is unbelievable. It's almost like we thrive on adversity. We don't know how to be normal."

Volvo Ocean Race

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