Green Dragon brings up the rear

Ian Walker's posse reaches Boston

Tuesday April 28th 2009, Author: Lucy Harwood, Location: United Kingdom
Ian Walker and his crew onboard Green Dragon crossed the finish line off Boston at 16:08 GMT this afternoon after a challenging leg from Rio. It was a sunny afternoon which marked the completion of 15 days, 22 hours, 8 minutes and 10 seconds at sea for the crew, as the boat sailed across the line to take seventh place with the spinnaker flying. The team were greeted by local well wishers who came out to see the Dragon into port, and also by Maurice Keller from Good Food Ireland who presented the crew with a well deserved Green Dragon Buttie; an organic Irish fillet beef, topped with sea salt, West Cork Country relish and freshly baked bread!

Speaking on the dockside skipper Ian Walker said “We don’t give up until the other boats have crossed the finishing line. There’s always hope. I just had a chat with the lads at the end and I said, ‘a lot of crews wouldn’t still be together after the tough last leg, running out of food and the problems we’ve had to overcome, and then this leg...’ But I think the fact that we’re all here, we’re all smiling that speaks volumes. You have to get the technical aspect right as well as the personnel and all of the different ingredients and we have a lot of ingredients right in this programme and we still have plenty of race left in us!

"Most of it was pretty tedious, lots of reaching. The funny thing is we finished last but we sailed really well again! We did well on the first night, we got up with Telefonica Blue and the lead, we didn’t have the horsepower on the reaching so we fell behind and then did really well to stay in touch and a race of it over the last few days. Although we couldn’t see Delta Lloyd and Telefonica Black it felt like we were right down each others throats! We are in a sail boat race, somebody has to be last and this time it is us.

"There is no doubt Delta Lloyd have raised their game - they have had a lot of news things, they have a new mast, lots of new sails and of course they haven’t had to use their sails on the previous leg. We have put 12, 500 miles on our sails. They have some new people and they are clearly sailing their boat 10-15% better than they were at the start which is great for them, and it great for us as we should have some really good racing with them for he rest of the race. Telefonica Black are fast - they have the same boat as Telefonica Blue and they just stormed past the fleet as soon as it is at all upwind, so they have speed to burn so I’m sure with them we haven’t even seen half of their potential yet!

"What’s the saying in Finding Nemo, he says just keep swimming, and that’s what we were doing as we kept saying just keep sailing, just keep sailing, we just plugged away. The boys don’t need a huge amount of leadership - they have all been around the block a few times. Every day is the same they try just as hard it doesn’t matter if we are 50 miles ahead or 50 miles behind, in the middle of the fleet or with a boat right next to us everybody acts the same and even when everyone else had finished. Everyone was still behaving the same for the last 20-30 miles to the finish. Obviously we have some of the best sailors in the world on the boat and people who have won this race, and they are used to winning big races. So this isn’t a situation that people are used to having to deal with, but look at Formula 1 Ferrari are used to winning and they can’t get out their own way. You have to get the technical aspect right as well as the personnel and all of the different ingredients and we have a lot of ingredients right in this programme and we still have plenty of race left in us!"

The crew will now be focused some rest and relaxation in Boston, and on the next leg from Boston to Galway, a 2,500 mile dash across the Atlantic, Green Dragon’s trimmer Phil Harmer said on the dock: “We’ve been talking about the Irish connection here and obviously the Boston Celtics - I like basketball so I’m going to the basketball tomorrow night so I’m excited about that. Galway is going to be massive, it’s going to be probably one of the tougher legs of the race as well which suits us – our boat suits the ocean rather then the passage racing and coming into Galway is going to be something else as well, so everyone is really excited about that part of the race”.

Talking about the leg, he said, “If we lost miles then we’d try that bit harder to gain it back. It was good, it was a good team effort. There are six other good boats out there, we’ll move on and get ready for the next leg and we’ll be fine. We’ll be back out there and challenging for first again.”

The teams will have some time in Boston ahead of the In Port race on 9 May. The start of leg seven, on 16 May, will take the fleet 2,550 nm back across the Atlantic and into Galway, Ireland. For Green Dragon preparing for Galway essentially starts here in Boston, the team will be involved with events with the local Irish community and are already looking ahead to coming back to their home port. It will mark a complete circumnavigation for the boat and team who left Galway nine months ago. Ian Walker commented, “I’m up to speed on everything that is going on in Galway, Jamie Boag our CEO is there at the moment, he emailed this morning he was positively brimming with excitement about everything that is going on there, I think the Galway stopover starts here for us in many respects and one of our aims is to make that one of the best and most fun stopovers of the race.”

Leg Six Finishing Order Boston

1. Ericsson 4: 8 points
2. Ericsson 3: 7 points
3. Telefónica Blue: 6 points
4. Puma: 5 points
5. Telefónica Black: 4 points
6. Delta Lloyd: 3 points
7. Green Dragon: 2 points

Overall Leaderboard (Provisional)
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) 77.5 points (FINISHED)
2. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) 64.5 points (FINISHED)
3. PUMA (Ken Read/USA) 64.0 points (FINISHED)
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE) 53.0 points (FINISHED)
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR) 44.0 points (FINISHED)
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) 29.0 points (FINISHED)
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bérmudez/ESP) 21.0 points (FINISHED)
8. Team Russia 10.5 points (DNS)

More photos on the following page...

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