Sunday, 31 May 2009

VOR: Green Dragon - Racing on Home Turf

Irish entry Green Dragon are put through their paces during the In-Port Race Practice in Galway Bay, Ireland, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Lucy Harwood

After an amazing homecoming to Ireland last weekend, the Green Dragon team have been further blown away by the amount of supporters who have visited the Volvo Ocean Race village in Galway this week. Skipper Ian Walker has been reflecting on the past week and ahead of tomorrow’s in-port race. 20,000 people are expected to descent on Galway to see the seven Volvo 70 yachts racing up close in Galway Bay.

“The arrival into Galway and has made the whole race for us and of course It was a big morale boost for the whole team, coming in third. Galway has really embraced the race, there have been huge crowds every night in the race village and the streets and shops decorated with the colours of the various boats – mainly the Dragon though!”.

“However, tomorrow we also desperately want to do well in front of the home crowd. We have been out practising a lot this week and had some really good sessions”, said Skipper Ian Walker.

The Green Dragon route lines the shore from Eyre Square through to Salt Hill allowing the best possible points to watch the In Port racing and enjoy the festivities. The action kicks off at midday with a display by the Red Arrows.

The in-port race in Galway kick off at 1200 GMT (Saturday 30th May). Green Dragon are allowed to sail with two extra crew members for the in-port race bolstering the crew number to 13. A new Dragon crewmember will be racing for the first time in the form of America’s Cup Team Emirates New Zealand grinder Winston McFarlane. Skipper Ian Walker will once again take the helm with navigator Ian Moore calling tactics and Neal McDonald on the mainsheet. Green Dragon engineer Johnny Mordaunt with be the thirteenth member of the crew for the day. Winston has an impressive CV and not only brings some pure strength to the boat, but is an inshore specialist:

Winston McFarlane (NZL) - Career Highlights:
Americas Cup
2007 Emirates Team New Zealand
2003 Team New Zealand Americas Cup Defence

Other Sailing
2009 TP52 Med Cup Circuit, Fly Emirates
2009 Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup Series, Emirates Team New Zealand
2008 Round Gotland Race, Morning Glory Z86
2005 TP52 Med Cup Curcuit, Lexus Quantum Racing

The current forecast is for light conditions, there is a high pressure system that is dominating the area, Saturday morning should see conditions decrease with a period of less than 10 knots by midday. Conditions could remain light, shifty and variable throughout the afternoon, with temperatures nearing 18C.

Today saw the boats take the water for the In Port practice race, Green Dragon also managed to fit in a training day yesterday, “We had a great practice yesterday, we have reverted back to our original team setup onboard. Unlike Boston we have had our inshore sails delivered on time, we have had time on the water and we have the full crew onboard. We are confident our crew work will be good tomorrow, we are very passionate about doing well fro the In Port racing. Sailing in front of a home crowd we really want to do well for all our supporters. We have bought in a new grinder in the shape of Emirates Team New Zealand sailor Winston McFarlane. After so much offshore sailing we are getting smaller, so we need a bit of power onboard to assist us during the In Port racing! We’re just going to go out here and give it our best shot. It isn’t just about the sailing we have the Red Arrows, we’ve got entertainers. This is a festival, it is to celebrate Ireland, to celebrate Galway. We’ll get the racing out of the way and we can all join in the celebrations,” said Skipper Ian Walker.

Green Dragon Crew List In Port Race Galway
IAN WALKER (GBR) - Skipper
NEAL McDONALD (GBR) - Mainsheet
DAMIAN FOXALL (IRL) - Trav/Strategy
IAN MOORE (IRL) - Tactician
GUO CHUAN (CHN) - Media Crew Member

Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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