Monday, 18 May 2009

VOR: Green Dragon - A Close Start out of Boston

Skipper Ian Walker looking for a way through the fleet at the start of Leg 7. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Lucy Harwood

The crew onboard Green Dragon were given a warm send off in Boston today by a huge crowd of Irish supporters, all cheering on as the boat left the dock to the sound of their team song ‘Galway Girl’. In a 15 knot south easterly breeze the fleet started Leg 7, but the fleet were recalled from the first start after the start gun malfunctioned. Once racing got underway again, it was a split fleet off the line with the home team PUMA leading the fleet to the top mark. Telefonica Blue led her sistership around the first mark, followed by Green Dragon just holding off PUMA, then Ericsson 4 and Ericsson 3, whilst Delta Lloyd was pushed away from the mark by the coastguard because of an approaching freighter!

The fleet then headed back down into the harbour as a dense fog started to set in around the city. Telefonica Blue held her lead and rounded the bottom mark ahead of Telefonica Black, PUMA managed to slip through just ahead of Green Dragon, with Ericsson 4 and Ericsson 3 chasing hard on the Dragon’s tail. Delta Lloyd was forced to play catch up in distant 7th, after the freighter incident earlier on the course. As the fleet headed back up and out of the harbour it was to be round two with the freighter, which now under pilot boat was making its way back towards the fleet. The two Telefonica boats held their course with the rest of the pack around a minute behind. Green Dragon were caught by Ericsson 4 as they pass the freighter but still held off Ericsson 3 as they headed out passed the final channel mark. Delta Lloyd bought up the rear of the pack as the fleet disappeared into the thick fog that had now covered the harbour. They will head north-east up the coast of New England as they make their way out passed the whale exclusion zone this evening.

Current forecasts suggest slightly lighter speeds are expected to the east and north as the fleet ventures out of Boston Harbor. As the evening approaches the cold front should advance far enough east to cause a building gradient wind, which will veer to the South/South West across the coastal waters of New England. Conditions may become increasingly gusty during the evening and overnight ahead of the cold front.

For Green Dragon Leg 7 has great significance as they race across the Atlantic to their home port of Galway in Ireland. This is also a unique leg for the crew as they will be in active communication with the online Volvo Ocean Race Game community, every 12 hours Ian Moore and Ian Walker will send the online community a question regarding the current situation on the boat. The community will vote and the crew will decide what to do.

Leg Seven Day 1: 2200 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
1. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) + 2819
2. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +2 nm
3. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +2 nm
4. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +2 nm
5. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +2 nm
6. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) +4 nm
7. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +6 nm
8. Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS

Green Dragon Crew List Leg 7
IAN WALKER (GBR) - Skipper
IAN MOORE (IRL) - Navigator
NEAL McDONALD (GBR) - Watch Captain
DAMIAN FOXALL (IRL) - Watch Captain
IAN BUDGEN (GBR) – Helm/Trim
GUO CHUAN (CHN) - Media Crew Member

Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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