May 5, 2008
On Saturday the VOR Green Team celebrated the completion of their new Volvo Open 70 with a ‘Thank you, China’ event at McConaghy Boats in Zhuhai, China. Construction started in October 2007 and has been completed on schedule, with the boat due to leave on a ship bound for the UK on 8 May.
The boat was constructed in a facility located about 60 miles northwest of Hong Kong, The mainly Australian-led team at McConaghy’s has been working alongside US designers Reichel-Pugh and structural engineers Applied Structural Analysis Ltd (ASTA) from the UK, as well as a 90-strong Chinese build team. A total of 40,000 man hours have gone into the completion of the boat.
Green Team. l to r: Jamie Boag (CEO), Eamon Conneely, Enda O’Coineen, Ian Walker (skipper), Richard Duggan (CFO). Celebrating the completion of the new Green Team VO70 at McConaghy Boats, Zhuhai, China.
After welcoming speeches from Green Team principals, guests were treated to a spectacular kung fu martial arts demonstration followed by a traditional Lion Dance performed by four lions, before Green Team skipper Ian Walker asked everyone to raise a glass of champagne by way of a more Western ‘blessing’.
Then it was time for everyone to have a good ‘up close and personal’ look at the boat, both inside and out. Fantastically high quality and attention to detail is evident throughout, as well as what amounts to an almost obsessive programme of weight-saving. McConaghy’s MD Mark Evans said that on several occasions during the build they had dismantled out-sourced components, redrawn them, and returned them to the manufacturers with instructions to re-make with a weight saving. He reminded guests that ‘every ounce saved up here goes into the bulb down at the end of the keel. And that makes the boat more upright, and faster.’
This is the first Volvo Ocean Race boat to be built in China, a region that has seen increased interest in the marine industry in recent years, most noticeably with its involvement in the 2007 America’s Cup. McConaghy’s has a strong international reputation, and they are one of the first professional build teams to have a facility in China. ‘China is a growth market for our industry at the moment’ said Mark Evans, Director McConaghy Boats China, ‘The standard of quality on this build has been second to none.’
Green Team CEO Jamie Boag was delighted to see the boat finished. ‘The work ethic we experienced when building the TP52 ‘Patches’ here in 2007 with McConaghy was superb. As we were late starting this build, it was crucial that the project stay on schedule, something that we were confident that McConaghy Boats could deliver. China is an amazing place. If you want something manufactured or sourced, it can be done really quickly to a very high standard.’
With the build now complete the team will prepare the boat to be shipped to Europe, with an anticipated arrival time of early June. Once in the UK the boat will be assembled and tested fore two weeks before heading to team’s home port of Galway in Ireland, which will be the team’s base before leaving for Alicante in September. Galway is one of the stopover ports during the 37,000 nm Volvo Ocean Race which starts in Alicante in October. Galway’s position in the west of Ireland allows for excellent training facilities for the team, with the testing conditions of the North Atlantic on the doorstep.
Ian Walker is the skipper of the Green Team, and was just as enthusiastic at seeing the boat ready to be shipped. ‘This boat has been seven months in the making, and we have a fantastic team working on the project. I would like to thank everybody involved in the project, but especially those involved in the hard graft here in China. I am confident that we have a great boat, and that we will have a competitive entry in the race. I can’t wait to get her back to Europe and out on the water to start preparing for the adventure ahead of us all.’
I think it needs a better paint job…and I think it needs more pictures, more information about crew, more PR, more excitement, more for the Irish fans!!!!
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