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Dragons Admit Keel Problems

15th May 2009

There will be huge anticipation this week as the Volvo Ocean Race head for Galway on a transatlantic sprint. But the Green Dragon team have had to admit that their lack of keel weight stacks the odds on the low side for an Irish homecoming win, in a candid RTE interview.

In a Boston interview with RTE's Tom McSweeney, watch leader Damian Foxall and bowman Justin Slattery have admitted to the VOR's worst-kept secret - that a lack of lead in the canting keel of the Green Dragon means their engine is firing without a few key cylinders.

Foxall and Slattery told Tom McSweeney that the keel is almost a metric tonne tonne lighter than that of their competitors, putting them at a major disadvantage.

What follows here is a short, edited excerpt from Tom McSweeney's Seascapes interview which airs tonight at 10.30pm on RTE Radio 1. The full version is online here and in that, Justin elaborates further on why the design of the boat was so far behind the others.

The show is a riveting listen for VOR followers, not least for the peeved tone from Foxall and Slattery at having done everything right along the way but seeing none of the glory.

Green Dragon currently lies fifth after two last place finishes in the in-port races in Boston, and the Boston-Galway leg marks the end of the main oceanic part of the Volvo Ocean Race, the remainder made up of short sprints between ports.

Presented by RTE’s Marine Correspondent, Tom MacSweeney and produced by Marcus Connaughton, Seascapes is broadcast at 10.30pm each Friday night and repeated at 5.02am on Monday mornings on RTE Radio 1. The programme is also available as a Podcast and is broadcast twice a week on the Digital Station, RTE Choice, on Wednesday mornings at 7.30am and Saturday lunchtimes at 12.30pm.

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