Solune finishes but Kingspan-Chieftain takes IRC Div A win in Round Britain and Ireland Race 16/8/06

After battling adverse tide and a softening breeze all day yesterday, J-P Chomette brought his Nacira 60, Solune, across the finish line at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes at 1605 yesterday afternoon to claim second place on the water in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

The lighter conditions in the English Channel were in stark contrast to the previous week’s hair-raising conditions that saw Solune hitting speeds in the 23-26 knot bracket as she rocketed down the east coast of Britain eventually trailing in behind Jonny Malbon’s Artemis Ocean Racing by over 17 hours.

But the stars of the show are Ger O’Rourke’s Kingspan – Chieftain team who battled on in the light airs in the closing stages of the race to claim victory on corrected time in IRC Division A. The Cookson 50 now adds the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race win to its already impressive string of results this season which includes winning the IRC national championship and the recent BMW Round Ireland Race.

British crewman Tom Whitburn on stepping ashore said: “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.

“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 1st September, 750 miles from The Solent to Cascais in Portugal, taking on all mother nature can throw at them.