Hewson roars away

A report from the start of the Round Ireland Race

Saturday June 22nd 2002, Author: Grainne Larkin, Location: United Kingdom
British entry Team Tonic skippered by Nick Hewson made a clean getaway this afternoon (Saturday 22nd June) when the biennial Bord Failte Round Ireland
Race got underway from Wicklow. The Farr 52 showed impressive acceleration and was starting to open up distance or her nearest competitors.

The 29 strong fleet was swept southwards thanks to a strong ebb-tide that shortly afterwards produced large overfalls off Wicklow Head when a 30 knot squall hit the fleet, providing a taster of what is expected later in the race.

Racing Swan 60 Fenix was next past the head and closest to Hewson but after 90 minutes, Team Tonic had a lead of more than half a mile on the water. Local hopes rest on Bob and Bairbre Stewart's Dubois 40 Azure with race veteran Roy Dickson on Cracklin' Rosie, a Corby 40 presenting a credible chance at the overall IRC handicap trophy.

First radio check-point is at the Tuskar Rock and in the conditions, most of the fleet should have passed this point by early Sunday morning. Weather forecasts suggest a further mixture of sunshine and showers with South-Westerlies continuing to remain moderate to fresh until at least Monday.

Sponsorship funding is being provided through Bord Failte's International Sports Tourism Initiative which sponsors major sporting events with the capacity to enhance Ireland's reputation as a premier sport tourism destination.

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