Recently crowned ICRA Class three champion, the all-black Quarter Tonner Cartoon, skippered by Sybil McCormack and Ken Lawless, is one of three Irish Quarter Tonners competing in tomorrow's Quarter Ton Cup at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes.
Only three days after the conclusion of the ICRA Nationals in Howth on Sunday, the immaculately prepared Cartoon from the Royal Irish Yacht Club is joined by another Irish Faroux design, Cobh Pirate skippered Ben Daly and also Royal Cork Yacht Club's Farr designed Anchor Challenge, skippered by Paul Gibbons, for the Solent competition.
Gibbons will be joined by Mark Mansfield, (pictured on the helm above) fresh from success as tactician on Joker II in class one of the ICRAs. Mansfield, a four time Olympian, previously sailed on Anchor Challenge in 2012 when the Cork Harbour crew finished fifth in the Cup. In a busy month for the former Star helmsman, Mansfield flies home to Ireland to join another crew for the Round Ireland Race on Saturday, where he competes on Euro Car Parks, aka the J/109, Storm.
2016 marks the tenth anniversary of the revival Quarter Ton Cup. Since it was first run in 2005 the event has gone from strength to strength and Coutts' support since 2007 has been vital in helping to achieve that success.
The Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2016 will be hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, from tomorrow til Friday 17 June. As always the event will combine some of the closest and most exciting inshore racing anywhere in the world with a fun social programme and great class camaraderie.
As Afloat.ie reported previously, another new development for this year's event i s the introduction of an additional class. Class Chairman Peter "Morty" Morton explains the reasoning behind this. "What has occurred over the past few years is that the prototypes and past class winners have been upgraded considerably and in an attempt to encourage the production and older boats back to the event the organisers intend to run a second class provided sufficient numbers enter, known as the cruiser racer class. This will be for boats of a rating of 0.89 and below and for boats such as a GK24, Bolero, Quarto, Farr 727's, Eygthene 24's, Trapper 300. We know there are literally hundreds of those around and hopefully enough of them want to enjoy the regatta. They will be racing for the Roger Swinney Quarter Ton Trophy and it is intended that a round the buoys course will be set for them."
The Royal Yacht Squadron welcomed representatives of the 26 teams that will race for the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2016 tonight. The assembled company enjoyed a skipper's briefing followed by a welcome reception on the club's famous Platform as the sun set into the Western Solent behind them.
After an initial welcome by Colonel Tony Singer on behalf of the Royal Yacht Squadron (above), Quarter Ton Class Secretary Louise Morton thanked the club for its warm welcome and event sponsors Coutts for their ongoing support of the event which is now in its tenth year. She also thanked all the competitors for attending and particularly welcomed some new additions to the fleet.
Helleby, the 1980 Laurie Davidson design, which came second to Bullit in the Auckland Quarter Ton Cup of that year, has been tracked down by Robbie Stewart and makes her first appearance with the revival Quarter Ton fleet this week. Protis, the 1981 Fauroux design, which was built for Bruno Trouble and won that year's Cup in Marseille, has been purchased by Diarmid de Burgh Milne and comes to the event fresh from a full refit at Casse Tete Marine. Fauroux's 1989 design Tiger is well known to fleet but is under new ownership for this year's event with Tom Daniel joining the family and looking forward to his first Coutts Quarter Ton Cup.
Louise also welcomed the many old friends returning to the the event and looked forward to some fantastic racing to come. With the welcomes complete Race Officer Rob Lamb ran through the formalities for the week, confirming that racing will be run in the Solent on a mixture of laid windward leeward and fixed mark courses. He noted that Thursday's forecast for possible very heavy and thundery rain storms may limit the opportunities for racing that day, and so he announced that he intends to run four races on the opening day. Up to nine races are scheduled over the three days.
As always close racing is expected with a host of teams in with a chance of taking this year's title. Louise Morton will be defending her title aboard Bullit, but those hoping to snatch the laurels from her include Rickard Melander's Alice II, Sam Laidlaw's Aquila, Tony Haywood's Blackfun, Willy McNiell's Illegal and Ian Southworth's Whiskers, to name but a few.
The Quarter Ton Fleet is renowned for its camaraderie and love of a good party and this year's Coutts Quarter Ton Cup will give them plenty of opportunity to exercise that love, with a very special BBQ at Cowes Yacht Haven on Wednesday evening and the famous Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Gala Dinner and Prize Giving on in the Royal Yacht Squadron Pavillion on Friday evening.
Revived Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Winners
2005 - Purple Haze (1977 David Thomas design) - Tony Dodd
2006 - Enigma - (1977 Ed Dubois design) - Ed Dubois
2007 - Espada - (1980 Bruce Farr design) - Peter Morton
2008 - Tom Bombadil (1982 Doug Peterson design) - Chris Frost & Kevin George
2009 - Anchor Challenge (1978 Bruce Farr design) - Peter Morton
2010 - Cote (1990 Gonzalez design) - Darren Marston & Olly Ophaus
2011 - Overall - Espada (1980 Bruce Farr design) - Louise Morton
Corinthian - Tiger (1989 Fauroux design) - George Kenefick
2012 - Overall - Bullit - (1978 Fauroux design) - Peter Morton
Corinthian - Tiger (1989 Fauroux design) - George Kenefick
2013 - Overall - Espada - (1980 Bruce Farr design) - Louise Morton
Corinthian - Pinguin Playboy (1979 Fauroux design) - Pierre Paris
2014 - Overall - Bullit (1978 Fauroux design) - Peter Morton
Corinthain - Illes Pitiuses (1983 Fauroux) - Dominic and Jason Losty
2015 - Overall - Bullit (1978 Fauroux design) - Louise Morton
Corinthian - Pinguin Playboy (1979 Fauroux design) Pierre Paris
Notes For Editors
About The Coutts Quarter Ton Cup
The revival Quarter Ton Cup was the brainchild of well-known sailors Peter Morton and Tony Dodd. In 2004 Peter was toying with the idea of buying back his old Bruce Farr designed Quarter Tonner Super Q and Tony, the owner of Purple Haze, we keen to increase the number of boats he could race against.
A few phone calls to friends later and the idea of a revival Quarter Ton Cup was rolling. The inaugural event took place in 2005 with 14 boats attending and Purple Haze claiming victory. Each year the number and quality of the entrants has increased with the tenth anniversary event in 2014 attracting a record entry of 33 boats.
The standard of racing in the fleet is truly extraordinary with many of the best-known sailors in the world joining the racing for the sheer fun of it. Certainly the Quarter Tonners are widely acknowledged as offering some of the most competitive racing in the Solent.
Although the revival started in the Solent, the enthusiasm for Quarter Tonners is universal and there are now active Quarter Ton fleets across Europe and Australasia with more boats being rediscovered and given a new lease of life each year.
The boats are quirky, fun, incredibly challenging to sail well, but very versatile in that they are competitive in general IRC fleets. It's also a class that appeals to youngsters and those on a limited budget who can purchase a boat and refurbish her themselves at very reasonable cost. The fleet is always very supportive of new owners offering endless advice and frequently donating parts, sails and even complete rigs to deserving newcomers.
In 2007 the event partnered for the first time with title sponsor Coutts to become the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup, a partnership that has endured ever since. Coutts most generous support has been vital in making the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup the vibrant and successful regatta it is today.