The Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup 2016 got off to a spectacular start at Falmouth with big waves, a steady breeze, hot sun and two terrific races. The day was sponsored by Euro Car Parks and RAM Gaskets, and as well as great racing the fleet also enjoyed some traditional post sailing Cornish hospitality as the participants came together for a Cornish Pastie supper and the daily prize giving set against a spectacular sun set at Flushing Sailing Club.
Race Officer Jack Penty and his team were able to complete both a practice race and the first two championship races of the series in an easterly wind of around 15 knots. The wind strength was rather less than might have been expected for the sea state of big rolling and occasionally breaking waves, so keeping the boats powered up through the swell but under control was the order of the day.
As always with the Half Ton Class, the racing was extremely close and first blood went to Paul Pullen's 1986 Andrieu designed Miss Whiplash with Greg Peck's newly acquired 1977 Farr designed Swuzzlebubble, winner of the 2014 Half Ton Classics Cup with previous owner Peter Morton, second and Philippe Pilate's General Tapioca, launched in 1978 to a Berrett design, third.
The tables were turned in race two as Swuzzlebubble took victory from Miss Whiplash with the French team of Jean-Philippe Lau and Claude Charbonnier sailing the 1980 Jubert designed Sibelius third.
In the overall standings the Falmouth based Swuzzlebubble and Miss Whiplash lead the fleet with both boats counting three points and Swuzzlebubble taking the overall lead only on count-back. General Tapioca added a fifth in race two to their second from the opener, giving them eight points and third overall.
With such a big sea running it was inevitable that someone would find themselves demonstrating why IOR boats had such a well deserved reputation for downwind instability. M & R Evans and their crew from Howth Yacht Club, Ireland aboard The Big Picture performed a spectacular pirouette and the crew found themselves making as one with the non-slip. Fortunately they were soon back on their feet and bowling along with big grins all over their faces.
Another Irish team, this time from Rush Sailing Club, encountered another somewhat unexpected and decidedly damp incident when their lifeline lashing broke just after the start of race one. Although several of the crew of M & R Evens' The Big Picture fell off the side of the boat they were all able to hang on and were rapidly dragged back aboard.
The Half Ton Classics Class has a hugely loyal and committed membership who lovingly maintain and race these historic little yachts. A fine example of commitment to the class is David Evans of the Stephen Jones designed Hustler SJ32 Hullabaloo XV. Not only does David maintain his boat in fantastic order, but he will go to great lengths to attend the Half Ton Classics Cup. This year he sailed the boat 380 miles single handed from Walton Backwaters in Essex, including taking on a force eight gale, to get to Falmouth. Now that's what we call dedication!
The second day of racing will feature a single Coastal Race starting at 10.30am, which will have a points weighting of 1.5. The forecast indicates more easterly winds of 10 to 15 knots and the course, which will take the boats up and down the Cornish coast within a 20 mile radius of the entrance to Falmouth Harbour, will be announced at the daily competitors' briefing at 08.30. The regatta continues until Friday 19 August.
For full results here