June 26, 2008
Chinese firms will sponsor the Green Team Irish boat.
The Green Team has been re-named the Green Dragon Team, after securing title sponsorship from a syndicate of Chinese companies, it has been officially announced.
The names of the companies in the Chinese syndicate will be announced at a later date. The Green Dragon will be skippered by double Olympic medallist Ian Walker in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 starting in Alicante, Spain, on 4 October.
For the first time in the 35 year history of the race, China will not only host a three-week stopover in the Olympic sailing venue, Qingdao, but now has the first Chinese sponsorship of a Volvo Ocean Race entry.
The team already holds strong Chinese links with construction of the boat in China. The boat was built by a team of 90 Chinese boat builders at McConaghy Boats in Zhuhai, Southern China, and the first Volvo Open 70 boat to be built in the country
“We are delighted to be able to finally announce our title sponsorship,” said Jamie Boag, CEO. “The Green Dragon Team. Having built the boat in China we have developed a close relationship with a number of companies who were interested in being involved in the Volvo Ocean Race. The exposure that this sponsorship will bring the team, our current and potential sponsors within the Chinese and Asian markets is enormous.”
The build of the Green Dragon Volvo Open 70 was financed through a syndicate of private Irish investors, who remain in place with the project moving forward.
“For the syndicate who has financed the construction of the boat, it is the culmination of two years of support and commitment. The boat itself sailed for the first time last week and we are thrilled with the results of our first sea trials,” Eamon Conneely, Sailing Director and Syndicate member.
With the sponsorship agreement comes the search for a Chinese crew member to join the first class crew already named. The current Green Dragon Team crew includes four previous competitors of the Volvo Ocean Race including one past winner.
The Green Dragon Team will be co-ordinating the search for the best Chinese sailor to join them. Skipper Ian Walker has outlined what he is looking for in the Chinese crew member.
“We would like to see Chinese sailors who are competing at this summer’s Olympic Games applying, along with members of Team China America’s Cup syndicate. However, this does not preclude any sailor who is not already established from contacting us if they feel they have what it takes. We will bring up to five potential Chinese crew members to Ireland in August to train with the team; from there we will select the final crew member.”
The team will now head to Ireland in early July for two months training before leaving at the end of August for Alicante and the race start.
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