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Fifth and sixth for Irish teams after In port race

5th October 2008

A third place in race one was followed by a disappointing sixth in race two after sail handling errors for the Green Dragon as the Spanish lead the way in front of their home crowd.

 

At the start of the second race, Russia crashed into the side of the Ireland's second boat Delta Lloyd, leaving a hole.

“That’s going to need a repair which is the last thing we need,” said Ger O’Rourke, the Delta Lloyd skipper whose shore crew only got their measurement certificate at 0700 on the day of the race. “I’m not best happy with how it happened, but that’s life. We just wanted to lap the course on the first race, but to be sixth overall after two is great.”

Yesterday in the bay of Alicante, Spain the eight boats contending for the Volvo Ocean Race 2008 - 09 squared up against each other for the first time. The Green Dragon Team started strongly, leading the fleet off the line in race one and rounding the top mark in second place. The two Spanish Telefonica Volvo Open 70’s showed they had a slight speed edge in the light winds, but Ian Walker and his 12 strong crew aboard Green Dragon held on to finish in third position, ahead of pre-race favourites PUMA and ERICSSON 4.

“We had a fantastic first race, the manoeuvres onboard were clean and I am pleased that we were competitive in some shifty conditions against the rest of the fleet,“ commented Ian Walker.

A short postponement due to the light and shifty breeze gave the crew’s time for some changes before race two. PUMA were the only boat to opt to fly their code Zero after a disappointing 6th place in race one.

With the majority of the fleet favouring the pin end off the start line, mayhem followed at the committee end of the line. Team Russia collided with both Delta Lloyd and the committee boat, before taking penalty turns. Ericsson 4 found there was nowhere to go and had to bail out to avoid a collision. PUMA skippered by American Ken Read took charge of the race flying their Code Zero headsail upwind, leading through the first mark, but race one winner Telefoncia Blue chased them hard followed by Telefoncia Black.

After a clean start at the committee boat end Green Dragon chose to go right on the first beat to the mid gate; they rounded the first mark fifth behind ERICSSON 4. Puma held their lead in to the final mark, but a magnificent sail by Bekking on Telefonica Blue meant PUMA were edged out in the final downwind stretch, rounding off a fantastic day for the home boats.

A late change to the masthead code zero headsail put pressure on the crew who just managed to hoist the zero and drop the spinnaker in time. This seemed to be paying off as they closed in on the two boats ahead, but Telefonica Black tacked on the Green Dragon forcing a very costly tack away. As a huge right shift brought Ericsson 3 back into the picture a match race developed between the two. It was a very close finish with ERICSSON 3 holding onto their lead, with a frustrating 6th place for the Green Dragon.

“The second race was a little frustrating, we had a good start but a big left shift cost us dear at the mid gate. The crew work was excellent under pressure and we have lots to build on looking forward” Ian Walker Skipper of Green Dragon.

Race One Finish:

1, Telefonica Blue

2, Telefonica Black

3, Green Dragon

4, Ericsson 4

5, Ericsson 3

6, PUMA

7, Team Russia

8, Delta Lloyd

Race Two Finish:

1, Telefonica Blue

2, PUMA

3, Telefonica Black

4, Ericsson 4

5, Ericsson 3

6, Green Dragon

7, Delta Lloyd

8, Team Russia

Overall leaderboard

1, Telefonica Blue 4 points

2, Telefonica Black 3.5 points

3, PUMA 3 points

4, Ericsson 4 2.5 points

5, Green Dragon 2 points

6, Delta Lloyd 1 points

7, Ericsson 3 0.5 points

8, Team Russia 0.5 points

 

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