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Half Ton Classic Cup Comes to Sparkling Conclusion in Saint-Quay-Portreiux

11th July 2014
Half Ton Classic Cup Comes to Sparkling Conclusion in Saint-Quay-Portreiux

#halfton – The 2014 Half Ton Classics Cup came to a sparkling conclusion today with one final thrilling race off the beautiful North Brittany coast and a delightful prize giving on the waterfront of Saint-Quay-Portreiux writes Fiona Brown.

With the breeze a little lighter at around 10-14 knots we saw some different faces at the front of the pack today and the finish was incredibly close, both on the water and on corrected time. Robert Tregear's Per Elisa (1989 Ceccarelli), the last one off half tonner ever built, came into her own and gave Swuzzlebubble a run for her money, although they couldn't quite save their time and Swuzzlebubble won by 23 seconds. Third place went to Frederic Waniart's diminutive Maeva (1974 Mauric) who beat General Tapioca for third by a mere 0.16 seconds! Also much happier in today's lighter airs was Checkmate XV who took fifth, beating The Big Picture by 0.53 seconds!

Our winner, Peter Morton's Swuzzlebubble (1978 Farr), had already been confirmed yesterday, but still came out to race purely for the joy of it. And our remaining podium positions were confirmed as Bernard Fournier Le Ray's Brittany Drizzle (1978 Berret) evaded one final challenge from her sister ship General Tapioca, owned by Philippe Pilate, to claim second place with General Tapioca taking the third step on the podium.

At the prize giving each of the skippers was invited to the podium to receive an invitation to the 2015 Half Ton Classics Cup, which will be held in in Nieuwpoort, Belgium, from 17-23 August, and to say a few words about the regatta. They were universal in their praise of the Sport Nautique Saint-Quay-Portrieux for their organisation of the regatta, of the Half Ton Classics Class for their work behind the scenes, and of their crews and fellow competitors for the incredible competition, fun and camaraderie they have experienced this week.

Winner Peter Morton not only paid tribute to the organisers and his crew, but to his fellow owners and the incredible work they do in keeping these historic boats in such outstanding condition. He especially highlighted his closest challenger Bernard Fournier Le Ray, who he has known since Bernard built Indulgence, the boat in which Peter won the Three Quarter Ton Cup in 1986. Peter highlighted that Bernard built Brittany Drizzle himself in his garden in 1978 and has raced and maintained her personally ever since, giving Peter much good competition over the years. That she is in outstanding condition some 36 years later and still raced with great success at the highest level is a true testament to Bernard's skill as a builder and sailor and to the longevity of the Half Tonners. Peter concluded by saying he looked forward to racing with the fleet again at next year's event in Nieuwpoort.

Alongside the overall prizes there were a number of special presentations. David Evans' Hullabaloo XV, a 1978 Stephen Jones designed Hustler 32, won both the Production Boat Trophy and the Corinthian Trophy. A special presentation was made to Alexandre Neuilly and his crew of Turbidite (1983 Fauroux) who may have come last in the rankings this week, but who truly embody the spirit of fun, enthusiasm, determination, tenacity and humour that typifies the Half Ton Class.

And finally we came to the most important presentation of all, The Half Ton Spirit Trophy, which is awarded to the team, which, in the opinion of the Class and the Regatta Committee, truly embodies the extraordinary spirit of the class and the event. For their commitment and incredible personal hard work in keeping their beautiful boat in 100% as original condition, for sailing with great success with an entirely Corinthian crew and for racing her, runners, checkstays, titanium fittings and all, to an incredible ninth place overall, the 2014 Half Ton Spirit Trophy was awarded to deafening applause to Concorde (1989 Andrieu) owned by Francis Marshall and crewed by Robert Libby, Matt and Ivan Jacock, Peter Greenwood, Dick Jackman and Jack Spree - a bunch of Enterprise sailors and fishermen from Loo in Cornwall. A very moved Francis and his entire team came to the podium to accept the trophy and the recognition of their fellow sailors.

With the formalities complete a delighted but exhausted Philippe Pilate, President of the Half Ton Classics Class, summed up his feelings about the regatta; "The landscape, the weather and the technical aspects of the regatta were outstanding, but for me the quality of our welcome in Saint-Quay-Portrieux has been the highlight of the week. The members of Sport Nautique Saint-Quay-Portrieux and the people of the town have not only welcomed us as friends, but have made us feel like family. It has been quite extraordinary and we are sad to leave."

And so we say farewell to Saint-Quay-Portriuex and look forward to seeing the Half Ton Classics family once again in Nieuwpoort from 17-23 August 2015.

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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