In what is being termed 'a major initiative' for young Irish sailors the Green Dragon Academy has been launched to use a second generation Volvo Open 70 and Ireland's entry in the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race as a platform to discover the next generation of Irish offshore sailors.
'Our mission focuses on the 18–30yr old Irish sailors who are looking to forge a career in this niche sector within sailing' says project director Cillian McGovern. 'The Green Dragon is an ideal platform from which to gain invaluable exposure to the level of seamanship required to sail at the highest level' he adds.
With only eight of this class in operation, six of which are currently competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, the opportunity presented, cannot be understated', says McGovern.
At present, the boat has been hauled out of the water in Alicante and is being serviced in advance of the upcoming sailing season.
Late in 2011, the Green Dragon left Galway, where it had been safely stored for two years, and was sailed to Rotterdam. From there, it was loaded onto 3 trucks and travelled 270+ miles through Germany to Frankfurt where it was Volvo's showpiece at the Frankfurt Motor Show. After the motor-show, it was sailed to Alicante via Southampton, Cascais and Cadiz.
The highlight of which was a 24-hr between Cowes and Finisterre at an average speed of 19knots, with a crew of 8 sailors, all of whom were under 30.
The Legends Regatta was of great benefit to the young Irish sailors on board who gained great knowledge from the Whitbread/Volvo Legends on board, notably: Joe English, Bouwe Bekking and Jerry Kirby, not to mention, leading Open 60 designer, Merf Owen from Owen Clarke Design.
The forthcoming sailing season will see the Green Dragon Academy sail to Lisbon for the Volvo Ocean Race stopover, sail to Dublin and train out of the Royal Saint George Yacht Club before sailing to Galway for the Grand Finale of the Volvo Ocean Race.