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Famous Half–Tonner Checkmate Gets New Berth At Howth Yacht Club

19th March 2015
checkmate
The classic Half Tonner Checkmate XV (Nigel Biggs) was the most consistently successful competitor in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta in July 2013 and moves to new ownership for the 2015 event. Photo: Aidan Tarbett
Famous Half–Tonner Checkmate Gets New Berth At Howth Yacht Club

#checkmateforhowth – The story is that there has been a bit of re-juggling in the Half Tonner lineup at Howth, where Dave Cullen has moved on from the historic King One which once upon a time took the Half–Ton World Cup for the legendary Paul Elvstrom of Denmark, whose Olympic gold medal scoreline is bested only by Ben Ainslie.

The good news is that King One is going to continue to sail the waters of fair Fingal. She now has a Rush-based owner, who plans to continue to keep her at Howth where they've a handy little group of classic Half Tonners sharpening up for 2015.

And a further welcome word is that Dave Cullen himself will be returning to the fray, having taken over Nigel Biggs' all-conquering Half Tonner Checkmate. This little honey has had so much TLC and classy mods made in recent years that 'tis said a statement had to be issued saying the boat is NOT called Cheque Mate...........

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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