Wednesday, 16 August 2006

KINGSPAN CHIEFTAIN VICTORIOUS in Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race

KINGSPAN CHIEFTAIN VICTORIOUS in Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race
An elated but exhausted crew on Kingspan Chieftain went through the finish line at Cowes just after 8 pm on Tuesday night, whilst the race is still on for many of the fleet, Kingspan Chieftain’s corrected time can not be beaten for the gruelling 1780 mile SevenStar Round Britain and Ireland title.

Kingspan Chieftain team celebrating the finish of the RBI
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.
“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 for two days but I must admit that the stony silence on deck a we topped out at 26 knots in the pitch black of night with water everywhere had an element of fear factor in it.” explained British crewman Tom Whitburn.
“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.”
Kingspan Chieftain is now safely moored up in Hamble but it will not be long before she is back in action again, she is entered for the RORC Cascais race, on the first of September, 750 miles from The Solent to Cascais in Portugal, taking on all mother nature can throw at them.

Tuesday, 15 August 2006


Kingspan – Chieftain: Wet & wild ride down the East coast
After over 5 days of beating into strong and viciously gusting headwinds, Kingspan Chieftain had a memorable sleigh ride down the East coast of the United Kingdom, Kingspan Chieftain revels in these conditions, her canting keel increases righting moment and her light carbon fibre hull means she is like a rocket ship down waves, with boats speeds in excess of 20 knots for much of the time, Kingspan Chieftain was eating up the miles to the finish and with about 90 miles to go looks like Ger O’Rourke’s team will be winning the overall prize for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. But the downhill slalom ride has taken its toll and the crew are soaked through and close to exhaustion. The Cookson 50 has just entered the Dover Straits and needs to cross the finish line at Cowes, Isle of Wight by 23:09 tonight, the race is certainly still on but the mood on board is very good and victory is close by, as Jochem Visser navigating on board explains: “We had a rough, tough last 30 hours, with wind speed ranging up to 35 knots, we pushed the boat to the limit with speeds in the 18 to 26 knots range. At those speeds Kingspan Chieftain is like a wild bucking bronco and extremely wet, because of her swing keel and high sailing angles the bow wave drenches the whole boat, it is like a very powerful fire hose! Our downwind ride has been exciting but we have paid the price with two spinnakers in kite heaven, a boat totally soaked in water and a crew staring around with blood shot eyes due to the immense amount of salt water they have to deal with. We can smell victory around the corner, we are nearly there and it feels very good indeed.”

Chieftain, overall IRC winner, at the start of the Round Britain & Ireland with Artemis the eventual linehonours winner to leeward

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Bish Bash Bosh!

 Louay Habib 10.08.06

The SevenStars Round Britain and Ireland continues today with the leaders experience some pretty sever weather conditions on the west coast of Ireland. Currently winning the race on corrected time, Kingspan Chieftain
are beating into head winds gusting up to 33 knots and are just south of Black Rock off the coast of Galway.
Kingspan Chieftain’s navigator Jochem Visser spoke by satellite phone about the conditions on board;
“It is really uncomfortable down below and really wet on deck, it is pretty wet down here as well as I lost the battle to stay on the toilet this morning, I won’t go into any details but it was quite messy! We also had some problems with the code 3 gib which blew the tack shackle off and damaged the luff tape. After a few hours stitching it is all back together now. ”
Mike Broughton of has sent this analysis of the weather picture;
“The lead boats are experiencing strong north westerly winds of between 23-33 knots coming from Iceland and the seas state is adding to the discomfort of beating into this head wind with waves of about 3 meters.Ocean weather buoys in the vicinity are showing 2 knots north westerly. These conditions are likely to remain the same for a while possibly until Saturday morning.
Further back in the fleet in the vicinity of the Fastnet Rock, the fleet are experiencing north westerly winds of 18-25 knots generated by a low pressure system in the North Sea and affected by a high pressure system 300 miles off the south west of Ireland.”