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Half Tonners
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…
Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII
The Half Tonners in IRC 2 rival the J/109s in IRC1 in their cut-throat competition at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, and for the final contest it was Jonny Swan (HYC) with Harmony who found his mojo to sail a dream…
Nigel Biggs's Checkmate XVIII is now ten points clear at the top of the 21-boat fleet
If sailing is a waterborne game of chess, then Nigel Biggs’ Half Tonner Checkmate XVIII is fulfilling the promise of her name with the bullet today in Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta to have her on 6 points after discarding a…
The O’Leary family’s “cruiserfied” 1720 Antix Beag from Crosshaven
In the hotly contested Division 2 (A) of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, Michael and Darren Wright continue their strong form on the Dublin Bay Race track by leading the 20-boat fleet in their Andrieu Half Tonner, Mata. The Class Two ICRA…
Thursday's 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has attracted a fleet of 500 boats. Scroll down for a review of the IRC fleet divisions
There is no doubt about it that 500 entries – so far – for Thursday's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is a great indication of the state of yacht racing in Ireland, especially when so many other regattas struggle for numbers.…
Michael Wright's Mata took the win in the IRC Half Ton Cup Division of the Sovereign's Cup
In an intense battle of the Half Tonners, Michael Wright's Mata briefly overtook Class Two overall leader Nigel Biggs's Checkmate XVIII in the closing races of the O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup in Kinsale today. As Afloat predicated here, Half Tonners dominated the 19-boat IRC Two…
Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII (Royal Irish YC / Howth YC) leads the Class Two IRC (and the Half Tonner class) after day one of the Sovereign's Cup
It's turning into an early battle of the Half Tonners in Class Two of the O'Leary Life sponsored Sovereign's Cup off Kinsale writes Bob Bateman. Class Two is the Cup's biggest class with 19 boats competing and Half Tonners occupy five of the…
Mata, the new Howth Yacht Club Half Tonner campaign has won class two of the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay
The Wright Brothers from Howth completed a consistent series of seven races with six top three results to become Division Two National Champions in their first ICRA outing with their new Half Tonner in Dun Laoghaire. Half Tonners took the top five…
Royal Irish Yacht Club's Nigel Biggs has a four point lead of Division Two of the ICRA National Championships in Checkmate XVIII
There is a  new half-ton leader in division two of the ICRA national championships at the Royal St. George Yacht Club as overnight leader Johnny Swan's Harmony from Howth Yacht Club drops to fourth overall but optimised Irish Half Tonners continue to…
Howth Yacht Club Half Tonner 'Harmony' (Jonny Swan) returns to her home port for Lambay Race action on Saturday having already been a class winner at this week's Scottish Series on the Clyde
It’s party time afloat and ashore this weekend at Howth Yacht Club, with the two-day Lambay Regatta – sponsored by Provident – featuring the historic Lambay Race itself on Saturday, while Sunday continues with a Family Day and Fun Race.…
The Checkmate crew racing Gunboat Rangiri in Italy
With the difficulty in towing in Italy for wide loads and the fact that there is no Half Ton Cup this year in Europe, Dave Cullen chartered the legendary Farr 1977 Half Tonner “Gunboat Rangiri” for the Italian Half Ton…
A Class One start at the 2017 Dun Laoghaire Regatta on Dublin Bay
With three months to go to the first gun off Dun Laoghaire’s famous harbour, 410 boats are already entered — and more than half the entries are visiting craft to Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019. It is an early-season marine…
There looks like there's going to be another season of great racing in the eight boat Irish Half Tonner fleet this season
Dave Cullen on where the growing vintage Irish Half Tonner fleet is racing this year Last year it was decided in Nieuwpoort to revert to a biennial format for the Half Ton Classic Cup so there is no event this…
Dave Cullen (right) on his way to victory in the Royal Irish Yacht Club Regatta on Dublin Bay in the 2018 ICRA Boat of the Year, the 1985 Humphrey's Checkmate XV
Howth Yacht Club's all-conquering vintage Half Tonner Checkmate XV was the winner of the ICRA Boat of the Year Award at the association's agm held at Lough Derg Yacht Club yesterday. The cruiser-racer award completes a stellar season for the North Dublin…
Dave Cullen and the Checkmate XV crew
North Sails Ireland congratulate clients Dave Cullen, Jonny Swan and both teams crews for taking first and second overall at the Half Ton Cup last week in Belgium writes sailmaker Nigel Young. The Half Ton Cup has been well supported by Irish…

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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