Wednesday 22 November 2017

Volvo Ocean Race: Dream come true for Kerryman

Groupama Sailing Team celebrate onboard their Volvo Open 70, crossing the finish line to win the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Photo: Getty Images
Groupama Sailing Team and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand round the Fastnet Rock on leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo: Getty Images
Groupama Sailing Team arrive to a huge spectator crowd in Galway after winning the race. Photo: Getty Images
Race leaders Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas of France, at the start of leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Lorient, France to Galway. Photo: Getty Images

A KERRYMAN on board a French yacht which won the Volvo Ocean Race has said the triumph was the fulfilment of a childhood dream.

More than 20,000 people turned out as Damian Foxall and the crew of Groupama sailed into Galway in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Mr Foxall said that after 15 years of work and nine months spent travelling 40,000 miles with the team, the achievement was "a childhood dream, an adult's dream".

Bonfires had been lit on the Aran islands and strobe lights flickered over the harbour as a flotilla of yachts, ribs, currachs and other craft met the competitors.

Only minutes separated the first four vessels in the six-boat fleet, led by New Zealand/Spanish entry Camper.

Groupama arrived second, but retained their overall lead to settle the closest contest in the competition's 39-year history.

Mr Foxall, who was taking part in his fourth Volvo race, said: "I still haven't quite realised what's happening. We got a little inkling of this last time we came here.

"Galway is absolutely perfect for the Volvo Ocean Race and the Volvo Ocean Race is perfect for Galway. In the west of Ireland we know how to do things properly. I'm looking forward to spending another week here."

The six boats had set sail from Lorient in France on Sunday and passed Fastnet Rock on their way to Galway.

Press Association

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