British husband and wife team, Barry and Sue PARKIN emerged as the new "Subaru Flying Fifteen World Champions", after an unbelievably close finish to the 5 race series at Dun Laoghaire.
The Parkin's finished seventh in the single race held yesterday and afterwards the overjoyed couple spoke about the two and half hour duel to secure their first ever World title. "It was the hardest race of my life,"
said Barry, a purchasing director with Masterfoods. "It was light and lumpy and the wind was very variable".
Towards the end of the race a group of 15 boats broke free from the pack.
"Ten of the group could have won the overall championship,"
said the delighted Barry "Myself, Mike HART and Steve GOACHER were having a right old ding dong. I was fortunate to finish just ahead of them."
Parkin crossed the finish line in seventh place with Mike HART in ninth - the pair finishing the overall series on identical points - 42. The Championship was determined by who had the highest race finishes. Both Hart and Parkin had won a race each but Parkin had a fourth place against Hart's seventh as their next best score.
The crucial move which decided the title was Richard ESTAUGH moving into eighth place on the last race - enabling Parkin to draw level on points with Hart who finished ninth.
The Parkin's had finished in fourth place in the world championship in 1992 and had a lot of home support to compete in this event as Sue explained: "We have 3 young children who are being very well minded at home while we are here".
The winner of the Subaru Cup for the best Irish pair went to Justin BURKE and Alan GREENE who finished 33 on the final day to end the championship as the fifth best Fling Fifteen sailors in the world. "We are delighted to be fifth overall - but it was a very difficult race for us today. We had a reasonable start but it was hard to see the first mark with the fog. We ended up on the lay line which was not where we wanted to be. There were some traffic bothers but that was the day that was in it. Our original ambition was to win a race and finish in the top ten in the series so I am thrilled we have achieved that."
The overall event was a fierce challenge for the organisers due to lack of wind and fog but the new champion was full of praise for their efforts: "The National Yacht Club did a brilliant job. The courses were the best they could have been and the logistics on shore were very well handled - the whole atmosphere has been very friendly and professional"
said Barry Parkin.
The Parkin's will reign as the world champions until the next World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand in 2005.
Top Ten Overall
||Barry PARKIN, Sue PARKIN
||Mike HART, Richard RIGG
||Rod BEURTEAUX, Chris O'KEEFE
||Steve GOACHER, Phil EVANS
||Justin BURKE, Alan GREEN
||Rupert MANDER, Chris HEWKIN
||A TATTERSALL, T SMART
||Roger PALMER, Barbara PALMER
||Grant ALDERSON, Dean MCAULEY
||Richard ESTAUGH, Tim HARPER