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Seaton & McGovern In Top Five At Half–Way Stage of 49er Regatta, Brewster & Tidey Drop to 12th in 49erfx

14th August 2016
Irish Olympic Sailing News
Ballyholme's Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern are fourth overall in the 49er Ballyholme's Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern are fourth overall in the 49er Photo: World Sailing

Ballyholme's Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern are fourth overall at the halfway stage of the Men's Skiff 49er competition and Dun Laoghaire's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey are 12th in the women's 49erfx after a demanding four race schedule yesterday.

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) were flying in the medium winds on the Aeroporto course in the Men's 49er. A race win at the start of the day combined with some other top five scores has brought the Germans to just three points off the lead, still held by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL). Heil and Ploessel have a 15–point lead over the chasing pack who are tightly bunched on points, with the best of the rest being third-placed Danish team of Jonas Warrer and Christian Peter Lübeck who won the third race of the day. Defending Olympic Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) started the day well with a second place but are still struggling to fire on all cylinders and sit in sixth overall at the half–way point of the qualifying series.

Burling commented, "We didn't feel like we sailed that well but to come away with four low scores was good. You only had one shot to get it right today and if you didn't, it was hard to fight back through." Tuke added, "It's already the halfway stage of the fleet racing and with four races today it was a big chunk of the fleet racing. The results aren't as pretty as yesterday but we're really happy with things."

Heil was happy to be in second place but did not consider the 15-point gap to third to be significant, not in Rio. "These are the most difficult conditions in the world. We saw in the Laser class they had 25 knots with three-metre waves, and then shifty races in light wind on the Sugarloaf course. It can't be more difficult than here in Rio, but we love the challenge."

In the women's 49erfx, it was an inauspicious start to the Danish campaign for a medal in the Women's Skiff in the first race on the previous day, when Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen were UFD disqualified for breaking the start line too soon. However, they have since made amends with four second places and a fourth, catapulting the Danes to the top of the 49erFX tree. Tied in second overall are two former World Champion teams, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL). Meech will be buoyed by having seen her brother move into third place overall before the Laser Men's Medal Race in two days' time. The 2016 and 2015 World Champions, representing Spain and Italy respectively, hold fourth and fifth overall at the halfway stage of the 49erFX qualifying series.

Grael commented, "It has been a very good day. The Danish also sailed very well, really consistent. We are happy to be in the fight. We know that we have a good speed and we can recover when we don't start well. Now we are looking forward to a rest day and we're looking forward to racing outside with the wind and the waves."

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.


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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