Wednesday, 20 May 2009

VOR: GREEN DRAGON LEG SEVEN DAY 4 QFB: received 18.05.09 1630 GMT

Green Dragon on Leg 7 to Galway. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.

by Ian Walker (skipper)

Today is a very good day. First and foremost we are out of last place and are less than an hour behind all the other boats after making big gains to the South.

Secondly the sun is out and although it is still a bit foggy, it is a wonderful spring like day. The sea is flat and the boat is dry inside and out.

Damian Foxall with the cheese of the year provided by Good Food Ireland. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.

Thirdly we have just opened the huge block of Award Winning Irish farmhouse cheese given to us by Good Food Ireland (thanks again). Sadly we don't have any red wine to wash it down with, but we did find some spicey sausage to accompany it. It makes a welcome break from the freeze dried food.

Fourthly my head cold is subsiding so I can think straight at last.

Green Dragon Racing en route to Galway. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.

Tactically we benefitted from a few boats reaching hard for the scoring gate and also from a change to the forecast which meant that being south was an advantageous thing. We always knew the first half of this leg would be very hard for us sailing upwind and reaching. Damaging the daggerboard on the lobster pots made it much harder. Our sole aim has been to stay in touch before the downwind sailing starts. The forecast is for all downwind from the second ice gate and for much of that to be in very windy conditions.

We have not sailed in close proximity to the other boats in weather like that, so it will be interesting for everyone. The whole leg is setting up for a grandstand finish in Galway Bay. Mind you if it is blowing over 30 knots Galway Bay will be a pretty tricky place to negotiate.

Weather onboard the Green Dragon computer. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing.

Our experiment with the gaming community is working well. We had a long period where the strategic advice from the community matched our actions but it is clear that when the weather is very changeable or not matching the forecast we need to react quickly and do our own thing out here. It is providing a good source of entertainment however trying to decide what we should ask the gaming community to vote on - sadly most of the options suggested would be very funny but are far from acceptable!

Volvo Ocean Race

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