The inaugural Dubois Cup was a remarkable success and an event to remember in more ways than one

At one of the most emotionally stirring climaxes to any regatta I have ever attended – and there have been a few – the announcement of who actually won the highly successful four-race Dubois Cup was but a detail at a prize giving event which will be remembered for many years for anyone privileged enough to be there.

In fact privilege was a word on the lips of many because the Dubois Cup was not only a great racing and social event which must surely be repeated, but an opportunity to bring awareness to CLIC Sargent, the Caring for Children with Cancer charity, which aims to raise £20 million a year to support families whose children are afflicted.

The message from the stage last night in Palma de Mallorca’s marvellous Museum of Modern Art came loud and clear from not only Ed and Honor Dubois, one of whose children suffers from cancer, but also from luminaries in the sport who have also been affected by the disease.

Neville Crichton, the owner of Alfa Romeo and a string of Ed Dubois designed yachts built by Alloy in New Zealand stood up and admitted that his throat cancer had not done wonders for his singing career and that when he was first diagnosed with the disease in America he felt very alone. Having someone there to help care for you, said Neville, is crucial to beating the disease. CLIC Sargent aims to help make that happen.

Barry McGuigan, one time world featherweight boxing champion and an ambassador and patron for the charity, described how his world fell apart when his wife Sandra phoned to tell him their daughter had been diagnosed with leukaemia. And Richard Matthews, who owns Oyster Marine and who could also speak from personal experience with the disease, made a wonderfully heavyweight plea (“Richard knows how to lean on people!” announced Ed) to the assembled competitors to put their hands in their pockets.

Then the place went wild because as far as most people were concerned (certainly those of a certain age) Dire Straits took to the stage and belted out anthems that brought memories flooding back and had the crinkliest of us out on the dance floor. Two original member of the iconic band, John Illsley (bass), well known to the yachting fraternity as the owner of the George Hotel in Yarmouth and the East End Arms near Lymington, and Guy Fletcher (keyboard) teamed up with Greg Pearle to form the Celtic rock band Cunla – and last night in Palma they gave it their all. A roller coaster of emotion brought a tear to many an eye, and lump to the throat. It really was a stunning event which I now find extremely difficult to put into words.

Midnight, followed by Timoneer and Kokomo, won the Dubois Cup after two days of sublime racing in the Bay of Palma. It was an event which proved without doubt that racing superyachts of this ilk can be extremely good fun, frighteningly close at time and altogether enjoyable. This inaugural event will be remembered for many things but I have to say that the spirit and poignancy of last night’s farewell bash had a lot of us thinking just how very lucky we were to be part of it.

Here’s a picture of last night’s stage with Helen Williams (left), the tireless event organiser from the Dubois office, getting the crowd going, Guy Fletcher on keyboard, Ed with his daughter Eliza, and John Illsley, performing here with Greg Pearle’s Celtic rock band Cunla.