Saturday, 6 June 2009

VOR: Green Dragon - Looking Ahead to Leg 8

8 Olympic medals in a Galway Hooker, Torben Grael, (5) Ian Walker (2) Fernando Echavarri (1) sailing the Galway Hooker America Mor, built 1848 and owned by Dermot Flaherty of Galway. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Lucy Harwood

The Galway stopover is coming to an end, it has been an exceptional two weeks with record crowds making it one of the most successful stopover ports in the history of the race. For the home team Green Dragon it will be hard to leave the city that has welcomed them with open arms, “It has been a fantastic stopover, I think it has exceeded everyone’s expectations. We always thought it would be good for us because obviously home crowd and bringing the project back to Galway. But I think everyone has been over whelmed, all the teams have come to us and said it has been the biggest crowds they have seen before in the race, as well as great weather and just the reception from the local people has been phenomenal,” commented Ian Moore on Friday morning.

The race will kick off at 1500 local time (1400GMT) Saturday afternoon and the fleet will head south past the west coast of Ireland and onto the famous Fasnet Rock, Green Dragon’s navigator Ian Moore filled us in on the current forecast for the start. “It looks like a downwind start from Galway but the breeze is forecast to die away quickly after Fastnet rock and it could be a light air beat from the Rock to the Dover Straits. This is quite a contrast to yesterdays forecast which included much more down wind sailing. At the moment the routing is suggesting an ETA of over 5 days which could make for a very slow trip!”

The skippers lined up Friday ahead of the re-start and Green Dragon’s skipper Ian Walker talked about his stay here and the next leg:
“The whole team has had a fantastic stay, it is with a heavy heart we now have to leave. But it won’t be long until we sail back into Galway Bay, we are looking forward to doing this as soon as possible after we finish the race in Russia. During the next leg we will be carry on the relationship with the online game playing community. The online Volvo Ocean Race Game has been one of the big successes of the race, around 200,000 people have been taking part. The idea is to directly connect real race with the online race community. Essentially we use same weather files onboard that they use in the game, but they have the luxury of sitting at home and don’t suffer from the issues we may have onboard such as broken sails, tides, or the tiredness of the crew! We had great fun in the last leg and we have had some positive feedback from those that took part. We will be continuing this for the next leg and sending the questions every 12 hours, just as we did on Leg 7. I looked at the weather this morning, it is true you can cut the corner by going inside some islands, but I think the most likely scenario is that people will head further offshore to get the better conditions. The fleet has to pass inside the Fastnet Rock, which will probably be at night which is shame in terms of people being able to see what’s going on! Passing the Fastnet rock is great experience, it was a big goal to sail around and I remember my first time. It is an iconic landmark in yachting, just like Cape Horn, but only on a smaller scale! After that we will head for the English Channel and then onto the home of Ericsson!”

Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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