Kingspan Chieftain, the current Round Britain & Ireland Race leader, enjoys wild ride down east coast 15/8/06

After over five days of beating into strong and viciously gusting headwinds during the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the team aboard Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Kingspan Chieftain has been enjoying a memorable sleigh ride down the east coast of the United Kingdom.

The lightweight carbonfibre flyer has been reveling in the wild ride surfing like a like a rocket ship down the waves notching up speeds in excess of 20 knots for much of the time. She has just entered the Dover Straits and needs to cross the finish line at Cowes, Isle of Wight by 2309 tonight to retain her overall IRC leading position. 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.”