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