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Return of The Half –Tonners As Kinsale Yacht Club ICRA Nationals Gets Underway

24th June 2015
checkmate
Famous Half–Tonner Check Mate will be in action off Kinsale this morning
Return of The Half –Tonners As Kinsale Yacht Club ICRA Nationals Gets Underway

#icra – The biggest Half Ton event of the year gets underway this morning as part of the Irish Cruiser Racing Championships at Kinsale Yacht Club. 

The annual (ICRA) Championship that combines the club's Sovereigns' Cup event runs until Saturday. Forecasted moderate to fresh south–westerly winds gusting up to 25 mph look set to provide perfect racing conditions.

There has been an exceptional response by sailing crews from almost every coastal county in Ireland and many from the UK, as 112 boats have entered the event. The four-day event will decide four national titles as well as the coveted Sovereign's Cup, ensuring close competition in each class.

Of the Half Ton boats listed to compete in Kinsale this morning, Checkmate won the international Half Ton Cup (HTCC) in France in 2013, and Harmony won it when the event was in Dun Laoghaire in 2009. Kinsale will prepare the crews for the big event of the season, the HTCC in Nieupoort, Belgium in late August.

An Irish boat has never won this event although Shay Moran had a third place in Nieupoort in 2003 and could have won in 2005 in Blue Berret Pi except for a technical hitch with a folding propellor.

Many believe it would be great to bring the HTCC back to Ireland, as the idea of holding a biennial Half Ton event was hatched by Shay Moran/Didier Dardot and Vincent Delany at Cork Week in 2001.

IRC 2 of the ICRA's is an ultra-competitive division. All eyes will be on the half Tonner 'Checkmate', that will be very well sailed. Others to watch will be 'Equinox,' 'Slack Alice,' 'Harmony' and 'The Big Picture.' Lighter/medium airs will favour the half tonners so it will be interesting to see how the weather affects this fleet.

The Half Tonners in action in Kinsale this morning are:

Checkmate XV- IRL2016- Dave Cullen- A Mills modified Humphreys MGHS30 of 1985.(formerly Blue Chip).

Big Picture - IRL5522- Michael and Richard Evans- A Mills modified Humphreys MGHS30 of 1987. (Formerly Red Eye).

Demelza - IRL100- Windsor Laudan- A Holland Shamrock of 1977.

Harmony - IRL1484- Johnny Swan- A modified Humphreys one-off in red cedar of 1980 vintage.

Maverick - GBR5369- Rene Koomen- A Humphreys MGHS30 of 1983.

King One- IRL8094- Pat Boardman- A modified Berret First Evolution of 1980. 

No Gnomes - IRL78- Leonard Donnery- A Holland Jubilee Shamrock. (formerly Silver Mite) 1978.

Meanwhile, in Division 0, the highest rated boat is the Ker 40 'Keronimo,' that is expected to plane at speeds in the high teens if the wind speed rises, so she will take some beating- particularly on the round the cans courses. 'Roxy' will worth watching also as she was on the 2010 commodores cup winning team and is expected to be well crewed. Conor and Denise Phelan's 'Jump juice' is also consistent and one to watch.

IRC 1 is a very competitive mix; the highest rated boat 'Bam' - a Sunfast 3600 - is somewhat of an unknown entity but her chined hull will suit the reaching around the cans courses. It will be very interesting to see how she stacks up against proven IRC performers such as the J109s and A35s.

Notable J109s include 'Jelly Baby' who is currently on fire having won the UK J109 nationals last week and the Vice Admirals Cup late last month. The A35 'Fools Gold' was overall winner of the Scottish series at the end of May and is expected to feature as is the D2D entrant JPK 9.60 'Alchimiste' and former ICRA Boat of the Year Pat Kelly's 'Storm.'

IRC 3 is no less competitive: all the Corby 25's will feature. However given good breeze is expected, word has it that 'Bad Company' and 'Dis a Ray' will be in the running for places.

IRC 4 features some strong quarter tonners that are expected to feature this year.

'Quest' and 'Black Fun' enjoy medium/heavy air, not forgetting a challenge from 'Anchor', a super all rounder.

If conditions favour planning, Flor O'Driscoll's J-24 is expected to do well, having come second at the J24 southerns held last weekend in RCYC.

It is hoped that the new divisions will make the event more competitive and enjoyable for all although the weather, as always, will be a major factor. As the current forecast suggests medium plus conditions, boats moded for such breeze or the larger boats in each division are expected to come to the fore.

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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