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America’s Cup sailors join Green Dragon for Volvo

'Green Dragon'    Volvo Ocean Race/ David Branigan

With just three days to go until the first Volvo Ocean Race In Port race on Saturday 4 October, last minute entry Green Dragon have announced their additional crew in the form of America’s Cup sailors David Carr and Julien Cressant.
'The addition for David and Julien to the team will be fantastic, they both have huge experience of in shore racing and I am sure they will bring yet another dimension to our team and hopefully give us an added boost out on the water,' Green Dragon Skipper Ian Walker.

Britain's David Carr joins as Grinder and brings a huge amount of experience from the America’s Cup, match racing and Olympic sailing. David has raced in America’s Cup campaigns with GBR Challenge, Victory and signed to the British America’s Cup challenge Team Origin in 2007.

He has also won gold in the World Youth Championships and World Student Championships in match racing. A powerhouse behind the grinder, Carr was born into sailing and has thrived off it ever since. Victory in the 2000 World Youth Match Racing Championships acted as a spring board for the rest of his career and thrust him straight into the limelight as an 18-year-old grinder with GBR Challenge.

Frenchman Julien Cressant developed his passion for the sport whilst sailing with his parents as a child. His first major success came on board the British owned Mari-Cha III when they broke the Atlantic record for a monohull, taking less than 10 days. Since then he has mixed Ocean Racing with the America’s Cup and reached the top of his game in both.

He finished second in 'The Race', alongside Loick Peyron, which was followed by the double-handed Transat Jacques-Varbe in 2003. Julien brings a huge level of expertise through his America’s Cup experience. He has three Cup campaigns to his name and recently signed with Team Origin.

The Green Dragon team have now been based in Alicante for nearly a month. The sailing team have been making the most of the offshore testing, before the boat was switched to in shore mode. The In Port race provides an opportunity for the teams to gain extra points in the race; it will be the first time the eight boat fleet line up against each other on the race course.

Racing kicks off on Saturday afternoon at 13:00, with two races scheduled for the day. The In Port will see the boats race around two marks on a 2-mile course close to the shore. It is a pure match race, tactics will be crucial, as well as efficiency on board.

Green Dragon Skipper Ian Walker . . .

'We have been working hard on the offshore training and we are happy with the progress we have made. The sailing has been about tweaking things, making sure we are getting the optimum speed from the sails and testing the systems onboard. The shore team have been flat out in order to prepare us for measurement, it is a relief that at this point we are through 90% of the job list.

This week is all about the inshore training. We are setting up practice races and working through a variety of manoeuvres. I am pleased we do not seem too far removed from our competitors in design terms, but the reality is we won’t know if we are fast enough until we line up against everyone else and I guess that’s half the attraction of it!

The In Port race will be difficult for us, at this point in time we have had only a couple of days practice so our sole focus for the next week is to get some quality time on the water. These boats aren’t naturally designed for in shore racing, so it will be a test for everyone out there'

by Lucy Harwood


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4:30 PM Wed 1 Oct 2008 GMT

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