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Irish Half Tonners Will Be Potent Force at Half Ton Classics Cup

23rd May 2014
Irish Half Tonners Will Be Potent Force at Half Ton Classics Cup

#halfton – As well as defending Royal St. George YC champion Checkmate XV (Nigel Biggs), Ireland will send at least three more potent Half Tonners to the Classics Cup in France in two months time. Currently confirmed entries are Dave Cullen's King One and the Evans' brothers 'Big Picture' having just completed a major optimisation both from Howth with Harmony and George Radley's new boat from Kinsale yet to confirm.

The growing interest in the class is breathing life back into old boats that can be bought for as little as €5,000 and their ability to be towed is also seen as a great benefit.

While the Half Ton Classic Cup is raced on IRC and this is the prize the top boats have in their sights, the "Half Ton True Spirit" prize is regarded by many as the top prize and last year was won by a boat that had no optimisation whatsoever".

The entry list is expanding rapidly for the Half Ton Classics Cup which will be held at Saint Quay Portreiux in Northern Brittany from 7 to 11 July 2014. More than 30 teams are expected to attend, and this 7th edition of the regatta is anticipating a bumper turnout including many of the best known boats and sailors in the class.

Launched in 2003, the Half Ton Classics Cup led the way for the revival of the IOR Classes and its philosophy has helped to ensure that most boats remain as close to their original designs as possible.

This year the HTCC regatta will be a true European championship for small IRC rated boats, with all the top French and UK halftonners on the starting line.

With two weeks to go until the initial entry closing date of 31st May 2014, the Entry List alread includes some 25 boats with additional entries being added regularly. Among the well known names competing this year are past Half Ton Classics Cup winners General Tapioca, Chimp and Checkmate XV. There will also be several new faces at the event including Peter Morton, better known to many as the man behind the Quarter Ton Cup revival, who will be racing his IRC optimised Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble.

The regatta will be hosted by the Sport Nautique de Saint Quay Portrieux in collaboration with the Bruxelles Royal Yacht Club and the Half Ton Class Europe. Registration will open on Sunday 6 July, there will be practise racing on Monday 7 July and Championship racing will take place from Tuesday 8 to Friday 11 July.

Published in Half Tonners
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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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