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25 October, 2016 |
18:21 GMT

Friday, 22 May 2009
Leg 7 is setting up to be a classic race, with the potential for a grandstand finish into Galway Bay this weekend...




Leg 7 is setting up to be a classic race, with the potential for a grandstand finish into Galway Bay this weekend.  It was a long night at sea for the fleet as they battled storm force conditions, gusts of over 40 knots, big seas, knock downs and breakages.  PUMA was one of the biggest casualties of the night after they broke one of their rudders, quick work by the crew meant that they were back on the race course after losing only 24 miles to the fleet. Elsewhere Green Dragon and Ericsson 3 made a gybe north and headed in line behind current leg leader Ericsson 4, some 100 miles north of the remaining pack.  It was a good night to begin with for Green Dragon as they started to gain miles on the fleet, but it was not to last after the conditions built. The boat suffered several knock downs and an electrical failure which forced them to pull back the throttle for some time.  The electrical issues now fixed onboard, boat speed is back up as they scream along at plus 25 knots to Galway. The fleet are expected in from tomorrow evening in what could be a very close finish.  Green Dragon remains one of the most northerly boats and has moved to fifth. Reports from onboard all the boats suggest this is the best sailing the teams have experienced so far in this race. The next big decision for the crews will be when to gybe for Galway, there is another big depression on its way, as Ian Walker described last night “We could gybe earlier and avoid the worst of the strong winds, but not have such a good shift.  Or we could just send it straight in there and hope you come out the other side and you’ll have a good shift if you do”.

Listen Ian’s audio in full here

Update from onboard
It is 3 am pitch black and you are on the edge of control when the wind gusts to 42 knots and all the electronic instruments go out.What do you do next? The answer is you pray the helmsman somehow manages to keep steering that fine line between success and failure. The reality is that he will only succeed for a short while before a wave or gust catches him out and sure enough that’s what happened. With ‘all hands’ being called to shorten sail, down below was a mass of sleepy bodies trying to get dressed as the boat lay on its side sails flogging. On deck they fought to regain control and furl up one of the sails and Ian Moore went about fixing the electrical problem. Why do these things always happen at night and in the biggest gust of the day? Minutes later we were back up and running again with no damage thankfully to boats or sails. This was to happen two more times later in the night and contributed to a loss of some miles after good gains before nightfall. The boat is awash above and below decks. As I type this in the nav station I am ankle deep in water. Our bunk is soaked and so are many others. Fortunately it doesn’t matter. We have 750 miles to Galway and it doesn’t matter if we live in our kit soaking wet for 36 hours.

Nobody goes on deck without being harnessed to the boat and you need little reminder of why as time and time again people are washed down the decks. Neal got washed clean off the steering wheel twice last night alone. On deck is no fun at night but has turned into fantastic sailing by day. This leg is setting up for an amazingly close finish into Galway but wherever we finish the memory of this leg will live with me. What we do in these boats is quite extraordinary.
Skipper Ian Walker

The latest poll from onboard Green Dragon to the online Game community is: 
 We took your advice and pushed hard last night. The first position report went well and we made good gains. As the night went on it became increasingly squally which lead to a few big wipeouts and a bit of caution had to creep in. The boat is in good shape but the crew are getting beaten up. The big decision today is when to gybe for Galway. Find out more here

To find out more about helping steer Green Dragon to Galway click here

View the latest images from onboard here

Leg Seven Day 7: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)
1. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) DTF 702
2. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) + 13 nm 

3. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) + 19 nm 

4. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) + 25 nm 

5. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) + 38 nm
6. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) + 42 nm

7. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) + 48 

Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS

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