independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Dragon's poor display can't dampen fantastic week

The crew of Green Dragon on board the yacht. Photo: AFP, Getty Images

Wow, what a great week everybody involved in the Volvo Ocean Race has had in Galway.

From the moment we sailed into Galway Bay over a week ago, the atmosphere has been fantastic and I was absolutely amazed at how many people turned out to watch last Saturday's in-port race.

The race itself, I have to say, was very disappointing for all on Green Dragon, all the more so because we'd put in a couple of really good training days. There was quite a lot of breeze out there and we felt really comfortable with our preparations.

Unfortunately, on the day, there was a lot less breeze and we were just let down by lack of speed.

The green Dragon really struggled to stay with the other boats and that was a shame because the result didn't do justice to the crew's work.

The team, as always, sailed well. The boat went round the corners well, the tacks and gybes went well, and we executed some good sail changes -- as good as any other boat out there.

However, our efforts simply didn't generate the result we would have liked. We are all disappointed but, whatever happens, we'll keep battling on.

We may have come last in both the in-port races but we still got a magnificent reception. I can only imagine what it would have been like if we had actually won!

The amount of support boats out on the water was fantastic and the disappointing results did nothing to quash the enthusiasm of the Green Dragon fans.

I have to say I wouldn't change my place on this boat for a place on any of the other teams. We have a fantastic crew and I'm proud to be a member of it. One of the main reasons I joined the campaign was to sail into an Irish port on an Irish boat and I'm looking forward to seeing it through to the finish.

The next leg is going to make for a very different style racing and I think it's going to suit the Telefonica boats.

Rather than spending long periods of time offshore, we're going to be racing along inshore. The coastal waters will make for lots of manoeuvres and sail changes.

We're already working on getting the boat back into offshore mode. We plan to have a couple of days sailing and then we'll be back on the dockside for a few days to fine-tune things.

The legs are much shorter from now on. The next leg to Marstrand, which starts on Saturday, will take just five days. When we arrive there we'll have a four-day pit stop before heading to Stockholm, the penultimate leg, before we sail to St Petersburg.

This time next week, I'll be reporting from the English Channel, somewhere between Dartmouth and Isle of Wight, missing the great Irish food and a pint of Guinness.

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