In a thrilling finale to the fastest ever Bord Failte Round Ireland Race, Eric Lisson's 38 footer Cavatina crossed the line in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Their win ousted George Radley and the crew of Imp to second overall on the winner's podium. Top racing yachts and pre-event favourites also fell in the outcome of the result.
In spite of finishing fourth last on the water, "I always knew we could beat Imp, even at the end", was the comment of one jubilant Cavatina crew-member.
On Thursday evening, Radley and his Kinsale team had been hailed as provisional winners of the 704-mile event although other potential challengers remained at sea.
British yacht Hipocampus, a She 36 skippered by Michael Greville, won third overall in what is certain to be considered a rout of the stripped out racing yachts by the cruiser racing divisions that dominated the top half of the overall standings.
In an otherwise classic Round Ireland course, where headwinds mark the stages to the Fastnet Rock, switching to a sleigh-ride northwards on the Atlantic stage, followed by light airs and strong tides across Ulster and southwards to the finish, fresh winds on Wednesday and Thursday swept the slower backmarkers down the Irish Sea, decimating hard-won handicap advantages gained earlier in the race.
A host of pre-event favourites such as Farr 52 Team Tonic, Dubois 40 Azure and veteran Cracklin' Rosie all missed out on top six placings. Instead, production cruiser racer and ageing handicappers stole the glory in what had earlier been billed as a 'David v. Goliath' battle between Imp and newer boats such as Team Tonic and Azure.
The entire fleet had successfully reached Wicklow by lunchtime yesterday afternoon with five exceptions: Pichenette (UNCL, France) had not been permitted to start; Fusion had retired following a grounding/dismasting on the opening night; Jabberwocky retired due to torn mainsail; Fandango retired with rigging trouble; and State O'Chassis retired off Sligo with rudder/steering problems.
Position - Yacht - Entrant - Class - TCF - Wicklow Finish - Elapsed - Corrected
1 - Cavatina - Eric Lisson - 3 - 0.926 - 27/06/2002 05:24:11 - 4:15:24:11 - 4:07:09:33
2 - Imp - George Radley - 2 - 1.026 - 26/06/2002 20:59:46 - 4:06:59:46 - 4:09:40:26
3 - Hippocampus - Michael Greville - 3 - 0.933 - 27/06/2002 07:53:31 - 4:17:53:31 - 4:10:15:40
4 - Changeling - Kieran Jameson - 2 - 0.991 - 27/06/2002 03:23:54 - 4:13:23:54 - 4:12:24:49
5 - Tiger - Oliver Sheehy - 2 - 1.078 - 26/06/2002 19:35:35 - 4:05:35:35 - 4:13:31:02
6 - Sapphire - Frank Clarke - 2 - 1.069 - 26/06/2002 20:31:55 - 4:06:31:55 - 4:13:36:24
7 - Joker - John Maybury - 3 - 0.997 - 27/06/2002 04:12:49 - 4:14:12:49 - 4:13:52:59
8 - Team Tonic - Nick Hewson - 0 - 1.315 - 26/06/2002 01:34:50 - 3:11:34:50 - 4:13:54:30
9 - Cracklin Rosie - Roy Dickson - 1 - 1.109 - 26/06/2002 17:25:26 - 4:03:25:26 - 4:14:15:40
10 - Errislannan - Paul Kirwan - 3 - 0.997 - 27/06/2002 05:52:09 - 4:15:52:09 - 4:15:32:01