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Record-breaking runs for VOR and windsurfing champ

31st October 2008
Record-breaking runs for VOR and windsurfing champ

It's an ill wind that doesn't blow some good. In the south Atlantic and also
in county Waterford, winter gales have produced record results for sailors
this week while a record-breaking run, set in a summer gale, will be toasted
in Wicklow tomorrow (Saturday) night.

Ericsson 4 smashed through the 600–mile barrier in the first leg of the VOR
on Wednesday while on inshore waters an Irish speed sailing record was set
by windsurfer John Kenny in Dungarvan last weekend.

On board reports coming from the south Atlantic make thrilling reading
including how yesterday (Thursday) a 25-knot collision with an underwater
object brought Green Dragon to a virtual standstill. The net result appears
to be some rather worrying ongoing hull vibrations for the Galway crew and
all this 1,500 miles from land.

“This is insane - 35 knots of wind, pitch black and we are desperately
trying to squeeze more speed from a boat that feels and sounds like it is
going to self destruct any second” skipper Ian Walker wrote.

It’s certainly been a case of batten down the hatches in the eight boat
fleet as they ride the 'monster storm'. Skipper Torben Grael’s own modest
account, however about how Ericsson 4 broke the 24-hour record, not once but several times, stands in contrast to many other reports, because the
Brazilian Olympic gold medallist makes it all sound so routine.

At lunchtime on Wednesday, Ericsson 4 'obliterated' the 24-hour record run
for a monohull when the team recorded a run of 602.66 nautical miles
(1,116km), an average speed of 25 knots (46km). The previous record
(562.96nm) was set by ABN AMRO TWO during leg two of the previous Volvo
Ocean Race in 2006. The new mark is subject to ratification by the World
Sailing Speed Record Council.

From the race website you can listen in as watch captain Brad Jackson talks
about the record run; you’ll hear Jackson say “it’s just like sailing in
Lanzarote, actually,” Lanzarote is where he Ericsson team trained for
several months.

This tells us that Grael was ready for these conditions, and if you study
the race tracker, you’ll watch them pull away from Puma and Green Dragon.
It’s obvious they have the confidence to shift gears, gears that neither
Puma or the Galway entry appear to have.

On Irish waters, John Kenny lifted the National Speed Sailing Championship
last weekend when he reached a speed of 38.379 knots, in windy Dungarvan.
It’s the first such championship in ten years and a reminder how fast, in
relative terms, the sport has become. Earlier this year Kenny, a 35-year-old
steelworker from Ringsend, Co. Dublin broke the 40 knot barrier recording
40.44 knots at Southend-on-Sea in England.

Ashore, tomorrow night the focus on speed continues when ICAP Leopard’s
record breaking July run is remembered at the BMW Round Ireland prizegiving at the Grand Hotel, Wicklow - a significant gathering off offshore
interests.

More than a few will remember that this weeks new world speed record holder
was among the starting line-up at Wicklow pier last July. Grael was at the
helm of Alegre, only to pull out when the race was postponed for 20 hours.

When Leopard's owner Mike Slade lifts the Denis Doyle Trophy, it'll serve as
a reminder that the Round Ireland milestone time of 65 hours, 48 minutes and 47 seconds is a significant offshore challenge and Irish offshore fans would like to think, an obvious future test for Torben Grael.

Side panel 1

After 18 days sea, Ericsson 4 was within 1000 miles of the Cape town finish
line Last night having built a 75 mile lead over Ken Read's Puma. Galway's
Green Dragon entry was 290 miles adrift in fourth place and Limerick skipper
Ger O'Rourke 470 miles behind the leader in eighth. After near storm
conditions, lighter winds are expected to become the final hurdle before the
first boat finishes sometime this weekend.


BMW Round Ireland prize winners

Line Honours, Denis Doyle Trophy – ICAP Leopard 3, Mike Slade. IRC Overall, Norman Barry Trophy – 1st Ireland West, Aodhan Fitzgerald; 2nd Dinamite-Tee, Blyn Sheffield; 3rd McCarthyMotors.ie, George Radley. Two-Handed, The Noonan Trophy – 1st Mumbo.ie, Patrick Cronin/John Chambers; 2nd Slingshot, Michael Boud/Niall Dowling; 3rd Jalfrezi, Gareth Thomas/Brian Millea. Class Super 0 CK – 1st Lee Overlay, Adrian Lee. Class Super 0 – 1st Formidable 3, P.W. Vroon. Class 0, Mew Island Trophy – 1st Team Kingspan, Matt Davis; 2nd Nadie, Cian McCarthy; 3rd White Tiger, Anthony J. O’Brien. Class 1, Tuskar Cup – 1st Ireland West, A. Fitzgerald; 2nd Dinamite-Tee, Glyn Sheffield; 3rd Galileo, Kelleher, Lemass and Tennyson. Class 2, Fastnet Cup – 1st McCarthyMotors.ie, George Radley; 2nd Ocean Spirit of Carlingford, Peter Finegan; 3rd Aquelina, James Tyrrell. Class 3, Skellings Cup – 1st Cavatina, Ian Hickey/Eric Lisson; 2nd Mumbo.ie,
Patrick Cronin/John Chambers; 3rd Blackjack, Darren Nicholson/Clifford
Nicholson. Class 4, Tory Island Trophy – 1st McCarthyMotors.ie, George
Radley; 2nd Cavatina, Ian Hickey/Eric Lisson; 3rd Blackjack, Darren
Nicholson/Clifford Nicholson. Class 5, Classic Class, Michael Jones Trophy –
McCarthyMotors.ie, George Radley. Sigma 38, Larry Ryan Trophy – Persistence, Jerry Collins. Team, Kinsale Yacht Club Trophy – McCarthy Motors, Cork Harbour Team: Cavatina, Ian Hickey/Eric Lisson; Nadie, Cian McCarthy; McCarthyMotors.ie, George Radley. ISORA Trophy – Galileo,
Kelliher/Lemass/Tennyson.

Published in Editors Blog
Afloat.ie Team

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