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Half Tonners
Mixed action in the weekend's final race of the Howth Yacht Club Beshoff Motors Autumn League, with Kevin Darmody's X Class Viking crossing safely ahead of Stephen O'Flaherty's Spirit 54 Soufriere
When the Autumn League started as a regular part of the programme at Howth Yacht Club thirty-nine years ago after the Marina opened in July 1982 (making for two significant anniversaries coming up next year), it was thought fairly normal…
First in Class 2 - Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII on her way to overall victory of the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay
In the end, it became a Half Tonner domination of Class Two of the ICRA Championships on Dublin Bay this weekend, where light to medium conditions played right into the hands of the optimised vintage yachts. All three podium places…
Half Tonners rule - Checkmate XVIII (Nigel Biggs) and Jonny Swan sailing King One (both pictured above with King One to leeward) are lying first and second overall respectively after five races sailed in the IRC Two Division of the ICRA 2021 National Championships on Dublin Bay
At the helm of David Kelly's King One, Jonny Swan has ruined the perfect scoresheet of Nigel Biggs and his Checkmate XVIII team after an intense second day of competition at the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay. Checkmate continues…
Nigel Biggs and his Checkmate XVIII crew won both races in IRC 2 of the ICRA Nationals on Dublin Bay
It is a perfect scoreline of two firsts for Nigel Biggs and his Checkmate XVIII crew in IRC2 after the first day of the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay.  The three competing Half Tonners made hay in the light and…
After a win at 60-boat Calves Week in West Cork in August, Frank Whelan's new J122 Kaya from Greystones makes her ICRA debut on Friday on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championships returns to Dublin Bay this weekend (September 3-5th) and brings one of the biggest Division Zero fleets the cruiser-racer body has ever seen. An expected fleet of 13 Zeros is bigger than the…
Riaghan Boardman (junior) (left) collecting the Half Ton Offshore Trophy from HYC's Dave Cullen
Despite only four boats in each class making it to the start line, the small fleets enjoyed very close racing in 12-20 knots on Saturday and only 3 – 8 knots on Sunday. Nigel Biggs’ Half Tonner Checkmate sealed the…
The Irish Half Ton Cup will set sail at Howth on August 21
At least six Half Tonners and six X302s are expected for a newly devised Championships at Howth Yacht Club later this month. The Irish Half Ton Cup and X302 Challenge will be sailed over three windward-leeward courses and a coastal race from August…
Mixed Howth fleet at the back of the island – classic Lambay Race boat variety on Lambay's north coast, with Stephen Harris's First 40.7 Tiger nearest camera
With official club racing only permissible since last Monday, June 7th, and many fit-out schedules delayed through May's atrocious weather, the realists had been hoping for a turnout of maybe around 40 boats for Howth YC's opening major event of…
The Half Tonner Big Picture' is for sale from at €48,000
The Howth Yacht Club Half Tonner 'The Big Picture' that is currently on the market has had a price drop from €55,000 to €48,000 as the 2021 sailing season kicks off. Skipper Michael Evans says he is selling due to the purchase of a…
Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has received 94 entries so far for the Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) on Dublin Bay
Entries for Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) are beyond expectations for July's event giving organisers the opportunity to close the entry system at the end of April to review the 320 boats received so far. Ireland's biggest regatta on Dublin…
The Half Ton Classic Cup 2022
The date for the Half Ton Classic Cup 2022 announced this week for Cowes following the cancellation of the 2021 event due to COVID-19 has changed its dates.Inbox The Cup will now be run from the 15-19th August 2022 to…
The Half-Ton Classic Cup has been forced to cancel for a second time. The Cup is now scheduled for Cowes on 18-22nd July 2022
The Half Ton Classic Cup in Cowes has been cancelled in July. It is the second time the event has cancelled due to COVID. Unfortunately, with most of the fleet hailing from Belgium, France and Ireland, it isn’t expected to…
Howth Yacht Club Half Tonner 'The Big Picture' is for sale
The Howth Yacht Club Half Tonner 'The Big Picture' is for sale at €55,000.  The MG HS30 MOD yacht has been stored indoors, well maintained, and as regular Afloat readers know has been raced locally in Howth and at regattas…
Seasoned campaigners. Robert Dix and brother-in-law Richard Burrows combined 50 years ago to see the former win the Helmsmans Championship of Ireland in one of the highlight events of the Royal Cork YC Quarter Millennium celebrations in 1970. They’re still at it, as seen yesterday (Saturday) when they raced Dixie’s J/80 Jeannie to second in class in the Aqua Restaurant Two-Hander at Howth
When in doubt, send ’em round Lambay. That seems to be the feeling among Howth Yacht Club’s race officers as this uncertain semi-season gradually cranks into action. And with Saturday’s early-start Aqua Double-Hander Challenge seeing a greyish morning giving a…
Irish Half Tonners are expected to focus on September's WAVE Regatta
July's Half Ton Classics Cup due to be held a week before Cowes Week – at the same venue – has been cancelled. The news will be disappointing but not unexpected in this COVID-19 hit season among the burgeoning Dublin fleet…
Darren Wright (left) with the crew of Mata and the Irish Half Ton Trophy in Kinsale with co-owners Michael Wright (right) and Rick De Neve (second right)
Darren Wright of Howth rounded out an exceptional year of achievement in 2019 with a courageous bareboat charter campaign in the especially challenging 75th Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race. Nearer home, his year had already seen success with the Classic Half Tonner…

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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