Green Dragon put up for sale

SAILING VOLVO OCEAN RACE: THE GREEN Dragon, Ireland’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), is up for sale at €2

SAILING VOLVO OCEAN RACE:THE GREEN Dragon, Ireland's entry in the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), is up for sale at €2.5 million – half the price of its construction – and will be available immediately after the race ends in mid-June.

The boat is placed fifth overall in a fleet of seven. It is currently in last place on the sixth leg to Boston, Massachusetts, scheduled to finish at the weekend.

Built in China to an American design and racing under a British skipper, the Green Dragon is a central part of next month’s State-backed, Galway VOR Stopover – a two-week festival of sailing costing €20 million that aims to bring in €43 million in tourism revenue.

According to the team’s chief executive, Jamie Boag, the decision to put Green Dragon up for sale before the race ends is “aimed at generating sales interest while the boat is still competing round the world”.

Potential buyers include syndicates preparing for the next VOR, who are looking for a turn-key package.

Yacht brokers Thoroughbred Yacht Sales, who are handling the sale in the US, said: “It comes with everything needed to race around the world or do corporate sponsorship packages for the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.”

The boat is also for sale through yacht brokers Peter Morton in Britain, who describe its location as “en route to Russia”.

The 70-foot yacht started out under the “Green Team” name and is privately owned by a consortium of Irish businessmen and part-sponsored by Tourism Ireland.

The group of Irish business people who funded the boat include John O’Sullivan, Richard Burrows, Jed Pierse, Gerard Barrett, Eamon Conneely, Michael Cotter, Tom Roche, Denis O’Brien, John Killeen, Gerard O’Hare, Brian Lynch, John Flaherty, Enda O’Coineen, John Coyle, Anne Heraty and Paul Carroll.

It secured last-minute sponsorship from Chinese interests and officially entered the race as “Green Dragon” last October.

Under the skipper, British Olympic medallist Ian Walker, it started out well, finishing third on its first leg last November, but since then fortunes have been mixed on the 33,000-mile trip, including breaking a boom and hitting an underwater object.

This week in his Irish Times diary of the race, crew member Justin Slattery wrote: “We’re an average four to five knots slower than the other new generation yachts”, a problem caused by a lighter keel, according to Boag.

David O'Brien

David O'Brien

David O'Brien, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a former world Fireball sailing champion and represented Ireland in the Star keelboat at the 2000 Olympics