Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Return Of The Green Dragon?

Irish Volvo 70 yacht the Green Dragon may sail again following this week's announcement that a west coast bid to secure a return visit of the Volvo Ocean Race has Government backing to the tune of 4 million.
The Government support for the 2011/12 race stopover came on Tuesday but is contingent on Ireland having a race entry. The funding is half what was secured from Government for the 2009 stop-over and is also subject to the balance being raised from the private sector.
New rules that allow additional keel weight may make the Irish boat more competitive for 2011 but for any weight added to the keel 50 per cent must be added to he hull too, so it is not a complete remedy for the Irish design.

The Minister for Sport, Martin Cullen, gave the Irish bid his backing but it came only after a Cabinet decision on the matter had been deferred for a week. It is understood that intensive lobbying included support from local Minister Eamon O Cuiv and that swung the deal for Galway.
In welcoming the announcement the Galway consortium, "Let's do it Global", led by John Killeen, acknowledged the funding shortfall but repeated the view that the success of the last stop-over in May 2009 left the Irish port well positioned.
Galway is vying with Lorient, France and Lisbon, Portugal in its bid to become the Atlantic stop-over in two years' time.
The Let's do it Global chairman, Enda O'Coineen, said that without the necessary central Government funding, the bid would collapse. A decision on the bid is expected to be known next month.
-- David O'Brien in The Irish Times, www.irishtimes.com

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