First time for Ger O'Rourke, second time for his boat, with less than 48 hours to the start, how does the Irish skipper feel?

I can’t believe it is only two days before the start of the first leg to Cape Town (RSA). The last few weeks have been quite intensive and interesting. While the Chieftain Racing Team completed the 2.000-mile qualifier towards Alicante, Delta Lloyd announced its sponsorship in the Netherlands on September 11th. Twelve days later, we came together as a team?Team Delta Lloyd. Our shared challenge was clear; we wanted to start in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 and surprise the world. In addition, we raise the attention for Village Banking, an international microfinance institution.

Our boat, the former ABN AMRO One, is proven and tested. She is the winner of the last edition and we revised her completely, for which we consulted the designer Juan Kouyoumdjian. We updated her according to the current rules and requirements of the new route. As a second generation VO 70, she was much quicker than her first competitors, and she is still competitive. The whole team showed full commitment and worked around the clock to finish the job. And here we are. The measurement is completed, we have hoisted all our new sails and the Delta Lloyd is ready for her second Volvo Ocean Race. We showed huge progress in all aspects of the wet and dry program. The shore crew is preparing for the next stopover and the sailors are looking forward for their first rest since weeks. Tomorrow, they have a day off.

We sailed the first In-Port Race very conservatively. Our objective was to go around the cans without damage or other problems, as we did not have much practice on the water. We finished last, but improved strongly in the second In-Port Race. The boys were communicating and trimming al lot better. They were already in a racing mode. We beat the Russians and in sixth position overall, which is a good start. Of course, we still need a lot of training, but the learning curve has been steep so far. I have great confidence in this Team Delta Lloyd. It is a growing campaign. See you in Cape Town!