A Report from Denis English
This year an idea was formed to hear many of the old stories from Legends of the Round the World race, to re-live the memories and for us young sailors, to appreciate and understand the hardships of racing back then. This is known as the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta. It basically involved bringing Legends from years back, such as Irelands very own NCB Ireland, Which was the first Irish entry in the Whitbread round the world race in 1989 skippered by my Uncle, Joe English. I put a question to a panel of legends sailors at a press conference one day who competed in many round the world races. I asked, “If you had the opportunity to do the race again would you?” Of course they all said yes. They all agreed on racing one leg but anything more than that at their age would be madness.
It was great to see all the old boats, all different shapes and sizes from all different years and designs. For me it was great to see Green Dragon (Irelands last entry in the Volvo Ocean Race) at the event. The boat, only one season old was in pride position on the dockside in Alicante flying the Irish flag proudly. For me it was inspiring to see how involved Ireland is in this huge international race. Never underestimate an Irelands sailing tradition!
The Volvo Ocean race is one of the biggest international races followed all over the globe by sailors, enthusiasts or even just adrenalin junkies. It truly is the Formula 1 racing of sailing. The door is now wide open for Irish sailors to start racing yachts. More and more boats are looking for crew and the more experience us sailors have the better the chance we can get.
In these tough economic times it is cheaper to buy a boat rather than build another one. Just looking at the budgets for the race today around 22 Million Euros compared to the start of this race for 13,500 Pounds.
It was a shame to hear that most of the old Volvo 60s and 70s are no longer in the water or in use. In fact the only 8 Volvo 70 still in the water today was in Alicante. It is a shame to hear little can be done with these boats once they have completed a Volvo Ocean Race.