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Lisson sails into history

9th July 2006
Eric Lisson sailed into offshore sailing history in his vintage yacht Cavatina early on Saturday morning adding a second Round Ireland win to his silver placing in last year's Fastnet race.

A strengthening breeze played in to the hands of the determined Royal Cork helmsman and his six man crew on Friday night who said at the Wicklow finish that this seven day circumnavigation had been one of "huge highs and lows".

He only took the overall lead after six days at sea at Mew island, off Belfast, even though on the water he was nearly 15 hours behind his main rival, Eamonn Crosbie's Teng tools.

Westerly 15 knot winds – the strongest for days – and the bonus of a favourable tide meant the 27-year old yacht from Crosshaven passed the Kish light on Dublin bay leaving just 20 miles to the Wicklow finish.

Crosbie, as club house leader and defending champion knew his chance of a double was in the balance when Lisson hit back with a fast Rockabill check–in time at 7pm Friday evening.

12 hours earlier Crosbie's Teng tools, from the National YC had run out of wind crossing the same stretch of waterway and this wind hole alone added at least an hour to the the defending champions time.

It emerges Lisson sailed the 100 miles from Mew in 20 hours, approximately same time as Teng tools, a much faster boat, thanks to the freshening winds.

Royal Cork club mates, including his wife Rosaleen and children, gathered at the Wicklow pier along from early evening in anticipation of a second Round Ireland win for the 38-foot yacht that was also third in the 2004 Round Ireland.

Lisson crossed the line at 1.15am on Saturday morning assuring the 2002 winner of the title again with a handicap cushion of an hour and a half. He was congratulated by Crosbie who had stayed in Wicklow to see the result.

This second victory, though not consecutive as it had been for Lisson's club mate, the late Denis Doyle in 1982 and 1984 on Moonduster is the third double win in the 28 year history of the event. It has also been achieved by Colm Barrington in 1992 (with Robert Dix) on Whirlpool and in 1998 on Jeep Cherokee.

Lisson's crew line up was: Dave Hennessy, Leonard Donnery, Eamonn O'Neill, Sean Hanley, John Murphy and Ian Hickey who are all from a  Royal Cork panel that have sailed together for 20 years or more. Lisson, who modestly regards himself as one of the most inexperienced on board, claims they are experts at getting the most out of Cavatina in both light and strong winds."We're 100 mile per hour sailors in a 50 mile per hour boat". The boat is below our capabilities so we always get a 100 per cent out of it" he said.

Only hours after finishing the seven day Round Ireland, the new champion has declared for next month's Fastnet. "I regard it as unfinished business. He told the Irish Times. "I personally believe Cavatina has a better chance of winning the Fastnet than we ever had of of winning the Round Ireland" he said.


BMW Round Ireland Race 2006: (Provisional) Overall: 1. Cavatina, (Eric Lisson); 142:08:43 corrected time: 2. Teng Tools (E. Crosbie); 143:41:38: 3.Pepperbox (C & M Farrelly); 143:59:53: 4. Ireland's West (A. Fitzgerald) 144:34:02: 5.Imp (G. Radley); 145:02:33: 6 Inis Mor (B & L Gouy) 145:04:54 7 Aquelina (J. Tyrrell) 146:31:05 8. Jeronimo (N. Dowling) 146:32:24 9. Blondie (J. Winter) 147:05:45 10 Whitetiger (T.O. Sheehy) 148:50:36 Team

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