Ride the Blue
‘What started out as a cheeky email to the Ed for press passes so I could get dockside in Galway resulted in yours truly possessing the sailing world’s equivalent to the Golden ticket to Wonka’s Chocolate factory. I had blagged my way on board Telefonica Blue for the practice day before the in-port race!
Galway is a secondary city in Ireland with an estimated population of roughly 150,000; this can give you an indicator of the impact the circus that is the Ocean race has had on the town. The place was buzzing when I arrived down on the Thursday; the proof is in the pudding, check out the photos on the VOR website to see the crowds for the Saturday.
The knock on result of all these extra people in Galway was that the pubs and clubs were buzzing, to get people in the mood to go out there was a stage set up in the race village with performances on it every night which ended up around 11pm, just in time to destroy the dance floor of one of the local night-clubs.
The race village itself is a credit to VOR organisational skills, the docks in Galway, which usually has a few trawlers or working boats scattered around it was transformed into a very professional pit stop for the Open 70’s, through design or default the dock where the boats lay was very close to the public which meant that everyone could get a good look at the boats when berthed and all the comings and goings by shore crew and the team. A nice feature in the race village was Puma’s old training boat which is up on stands and is open for the public to look around inside to give them an idea of what life on board an Open 70 is like.