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Radley's Imp bucks bad luck trend

1st May 2008

The debate of what things are intolerably unlucky aboard a seagoing vessel has resurfaced again online, and one of Ireland's top offshore racers is being held up as the ultimate debunker of superstition.

Green paint jobs are mortally unlucky, it is claimed. But, erm, what about George Radley's 'Imp'?

George Radley's Imp. Pic: Bob Bateman

Imp, pictured right, is resplendant in several shades of green, and has been at the top of Irish and international fleets for the last 28 years. That's quite a streak of luck despite her doomsday topcoat.

Readers of popular global sailing newsletter Scuttlebutt were quick to hold Imp up as evidence that the various sailing hoodoos were a load of hogwash.

Designed by Ron Holland in 1980 for an American owner, Imp continues to show pace and good fortune long after other designs of her vintage have gone into decay.

A win in the Round Ireland race in 2000 was followed by a very close second in 2002. A fifth in 2006, aged 26, turned several others green with envy. She'll be back for another cut at the title this summer. And that's just her Round Ireland exploits, we haven't even gone into her short-course racing record.

In case we've jinxed Imp with all this talk of her good luck, we're actively stocking up on rabbit's feet, touching wood, and shooing black cats under ladders to raise the hex.  

For more sailing superstitions, click here,

Our favourites here at Afloat HQ:

  • A ship will sail faster when fleeing an enemy (if only this were true on downwind legs).
  • Whistling, cutting nails and trimming beards at sea will cause storms.
  • It's good luck to throw an old pair of shoes overboard just after launch (but not car keys, shackle pins or winch handles).
and, most discriminatory of all:
  • If you meet someone with red hair, a clergyman, or someone with cross-eyes on the way to the harbor, you are encouraged not to set sail
That last one should have wiped out sailing in Ireland decades ago. Team

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