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Green Team on the water

18th June 2008

Ireland's Green Team hit the water yesterday for their first sail in the brand new VO70 commissioned for the Volvo Ocean Race.

The team had a productive session on the water in a freshening breeze.

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Green Team on the water off Southampton

Skipper Ian Walker expressed his satisfaction at the session: “We sailed today for five hours in perfect conditions. Starting in no wind we slowly loaded the boat up and quickly got sailing with full cant on the keel in 15 knots of wind."

Walker continued: "As always with new boats there were some glitches and we already have some modifications to make but it was overwhelmingly positive."

By this morning there already rumours floating around about precisely what those glitches were, and when Afloat.ie asked watch leader Damian Foxall if it was true a large piece of carbon fibre had been carried ashore by RIB from the Green Team boat yesterday, he laughed knowingly, and would only say that the breakage was 'nothing serious'.

As it happens, the broken piece in question was the carbon bowsprit, which will keep Irish shore manager Johnny Smullen and his crew busy for the next few days. The team expect to have it fixed and be back on the water by Friday.

Unlike the Russians, who started out extremely cautiously, only raising the main on their maiden voyage, things progressed much more quickly for Green Team who had their Code Zero and full main up on Day One. Designers, riggers and electrics and hydraulic experts were on board for the sail to test the functionality of the various systems.

"The specs for the boat were specced correctly," said Foxall."Everything's working well. The rig was very straight, we had code zero up and full main in the building breeze, and we were able to come in and basically tick the rig off and now we can move on to more extensive sailing."

Yesterday marked the very first outing for the Reichel Pugh design, and appeared to answer many questions about how it will perform.

Said Walker: "The boat feels beautifully balanced, the keel system is working well and the mast and sails set up nicely. It is a fantastic feeling to be out on the water with her after so much hard work by everyone concerned. I was particularly pleased we got out sailing for Tom Braidwood who project managed the build for us in China and who had to return to Australia immediately after sailing yesterday for the birth of his second child”

Afloat.ie Team

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