Green Dragon starts Volvo qualification passage

Off the lorry... Green Team - moving day
The Green Dragon Volvo Open 70 set off for her mandatory 2000-mile Volvo Ocean Race qualification passage from her base in Cork on Friday(08/08/08).

The boat, which is sailing with a crew of 13, will head south to round the Fastnet rock and then north-east into the North Atlantic for the weeklong passage. The current forecast is quite strong, with a large depression heading east providing a good test for the crew and the boat.

For this qualification, the Green Dragon Racing Team are joined by some new additions in the form of three Chinese crew members, who are all being trialled for a place onboard the boat during the 37,000 mile Volvo Ocean Race. The three Chinese crew members sailing onboard are Haung Jian, Guo Chuan and Jue Wang.

'We have been sailing as much as possible since our arrival in Cork. But this qualification passage is a crucial part of our testing programme,' said skipper Ian Walker. 'The forecast is good, we are looking at some challenging conditions around 30 knots, which will enable us to sail the boat in 'race mode' so to speak, putting the boat through its paces'.

2000-mile qualification passage - Day 1 (Location: 51 deg 21.8 N 09 deg 23.2 W).

Ian Walker: 'We are bracing ourselves for a sustained 30+ knots and the first real test of the boat in the open ocean. It is not without some trepidation that we head into this system as we can ill afford the time to our program that major damage could cost us, but as always, it is better to find these things out sooner than later. We also need the training in these conditions and it is too easy to put it off.'

Green Dragon Racing Team

Ian Walker (GBR)
Justin Slattery (IRL)
Tom Braidwood (AUS)
Freddie Shanks (GBR)
Andrew Maclean (NZ)
Phil Harmer (AUS)
Scott Millar (IRL)
Guo Chuan (CHN)
Ian Moore (IRL)
Damian Foxall (IRL)
Neal McDonald (GBR)
Huang Jian (CHN)
Jue Wang (CHN)

www.greendragonracing.com