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Green Dragon Joins the Volvo Race Legends Fleet in Spain

16th October 2011
Green Dragon Joins the Volvo Race Legends Fleet in Spain

Ireland's Green Dragon and Telefónica Black, two Volvo Open 70s from the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race will join the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta fleet over 1-5 November, lining up with boats that took part in the first 10 round the world races.

Ireland's Volvo 70 will race its first race in almost two years after she had finished fifth out of seven entries in the 2009 Race.

Attempts to sell it for two million euros in 2009 did not materialise. Since then, the round the world yacht has been in dry dock in Galway, rendered obsolete because her hull was heavier and keel lighter than her rivals. She recently sailed to Rotterdam to be part of an exhibition.

The two state of the art racers will showcase 38 years of development in round the world racing since the first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74, when they take their place next to the Legends fleet which spans ten races.

Both boats will compete in the regatta run over two days, creating a challenge for race director Jack Lloyd and his race management team, who will be setting inshore courses that work for maxi ketches such as the race-winning Steinlager 2 and her opponent from 1989-90 Fisher & Paykel, as well as for yachts such as the Italian Tauranga which took part in 1973, and, more recently the Whitbread/Volvo Open 60 Assa Abloy/2001-02.

"The real challenge for us is to try to make all the yachts competitive with each other," Lloyd explains. "The step-up in design and technology since 1973 has been massive and we would like all the boats to be sailing together.

"We are looking at a 'pursuit ' style of racing where the boats start the race in a staggered fashion according to their size, which we feel has the best chance of creating a dramatic and competitive finish for the fleet on each of the two days of race," he adds.

Green Dragon has been entered in the Legends Regatta by Enda O'Coineen and John Killeen. O'Coineen has had a long association with the race, having been the driving force behind the NCB Ireland entry in 1989-90 and most recently Green Dragon in 2008-09, together with the very successful Galway stopover in the previous race.

The Green Dragon crew will include Killian Bushe who sailed on and built NCB Ireland and was builder of the winning entries in the last three races. The team plans to include a broad cross-section of Irish sailors who have participated in the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race and will also include Angela Farrell who sailed on Maiden and Deidre O'Callaghan on With Integrity during 1989-90.

Entering in the spirit of the regatta, the team will also travel with its own Irish band, the Green Dragon 'Upstarts'.

Both Green Dragon and Telefónica Black were constructed especially for the last Volvo Ocean Race. Green Dragon, from the board of Reichel Pugh, finished in fifth position, one place above the Spanish boat, from Farr Yacht Design, which was part of a two-boat campaign for Team Telefónica 2008-09. Sistership Telefónica Blue, with a new rig, a new paint job and a new name, Sanya, will race in this year's Volvo under the leadership of race-winning skipper Mike Sanderson.

Telefonica Black's best moment was when she won the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 from Stockholm to St Petersburg. Her navigator, Roger Nilson, was competing in his seventh Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race and will be reunited with the boat during the Legends regatta.

Rig: sloop
Designer: Reichel Pugh
LOA 64' (19.5m)
Crew: 11
Finished: 5
Elapsed time: 135.05
Skipper: Ian Walker/GBR

Rig: sloop
Designer: Farr Yacht Design
LOA 64' (19.5m)
Crew: 11
Finished: 6
Elapsed time: 87.1 (DNF leg 4, DNS leg 5)
Skipper: Fernando Echávarri/ESP

Entries in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion

- Tauranga (1973-74)
- Adventure (1973-74 1977-78)
- Great Britain II (first five races)
- King's Legend (1977-78)
- Berge Viking (1981-82
- Gauloises III (1981-82)
- L'Esprit d'Equipe (1985-86)
- Rothmans (1989-90)
- Charles Jourdan (1989-90)
- Steinlager 2 (1989-90)
- Fisher & Paykel (1989-90)
- Assa Abloy (2001-02)
- Telefónica Black (2008-09)
- Green Dragon (2008-09)

Regatta Ambassadors

- Lady Pippa Blake
- Tracy Edwards MBE
- Sir Chay Blyth CBE, BEM
- Magnus Olsson
- Skip Novak
- Pierre Fehlmann
- Alain Gabbay

Published in Volvo Ocean Race Team

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