Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race - 16 August 2006 - Morning Press Release
16 August, 2006 10:32:00 AM BST | Racetime 08:16:32:00
At a little past 2000 hrs last night, Ger O'Rourke brought his beautiful Cookson 50, Kingspan - Chieftain, ghosting across the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line in Cowes to cap an utterly dominant performance in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race and claim the overall prize for IRC Division A. In winning this coastal classic, one of the flagship RORC races of the season, O'Rourke adds to his impressive list of victories around the world that started with a class win in the 2005 Rolex Sydney - Hobart Race, a corrected time victory in the 2006 BMW Round Ireland Race and an outright win in this year's Fortis IRC Nationals.
However dockside it was British crew-member of Kingspan - Chieftain, Tom Whitburn that was full of praise for the boat and his fellow crew members, saying: "The boat is just fantastic to sail. I have never experienced anything like it, on the run down the east coast, we had an amazing amount of sail area up for the conditions but the Cookson 50 was so stable and every time we buried the bow into a wave she popped right back up. It was just the most awesome sailing but I must admit that the stony silence on deck had an element of fear factor in it. Kingspan - Chieftain is a superb boat for offshore racing but a lot of credit must go to the hard work of the crew, they are all good lads, cracking guys, myself I am the oldest man on the boat but besides Jochem Visser, the navigator, all theses lads are in there twenties and I am really happy for them as much as myself that they have done so well, I would have to give special thanks to Mark Tighe, the boat captain, he has done a great job in preparation as well a sailing her."
Whilst the champagne corks were popping on the dockside in Cowes for Kingspan - Chieftain, Piet Vroon's Lutra 56, Formidable 3, joined in the celebrations as they finished just behind to claim second place overall on corrected time, relegating J-P Chomette's Nacira 60, Solune, to third on the podium. One thing for sure is that the 2006 Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race was certainly a big boat beneficiary as the larger yachts made the best of a perfect windward/leeward course and capitalised on some very fast downwind sailing along the east coast of the British Isles.
For the rest of the fleet it's almost agony to read the latest wind reports from Mike Broughton of winningwind.com who is predicting light southerlies for the next two days meaning the slower boats will have to endure a final beat to the finish. "There's a low pressure system in the western approaches that has 25-30 knots of breeze on its western tip but virtually nothing on its eastern side and this is the system that will dominate the next couple of days producing very light southerly breezes for the North Sea from Aberdeen to the Thames Estuary. Unfortunately that means a light beat for the remaining yachts in contrast to the fast sleigh ride that the faster boats enjoyed. Apologies!"
On a lighter note, all the crew of the Bavaria Match 42, Sidney, of Nigel Tuttle wished their crew member John Priddle a very "Happy Birthday" as they passed the waypoint of Muckle Flugga at bang on the stroke of midnight last night in foggy conditions with the wind doing circles - John won't be forgetting that birthday in a hurry. All the best from everyone at the RORC!
As the race comes to its conclusion the RORC will continue to bring daily updates and position reports from the boats highlighting the highs and lows of this premier coastal yacht race. All yachts competing in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race have been fitted with a tracking device developed by the RORC in conjunction with OC Technology. Yacht positions will be updated hourly and can be followed on the Royal Ocean Racing Club's dedicated micro site accessed via www.rorc.org