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Dramatic Finish To Coastal Race At Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup 2016

17th August 2016
Half Tonners in yesterday's Coastal Race of Falmouth Half Tonners in yesterday's Coastal Race of Falmouth Photo: Fiona Brown

#HalfTonCup - Day 2 of the Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup, sponsored by day sponsor Mylor Yacht Harbour, saw the fleet taking part in a 40-mile Coastal Race, which carried a points weighting of 1.5.

For the second day running the wind was from the east creating big swells and some exciting seat of the pants sailing.

Greg Peck's Swuzzlebubble loves nothing better than a good windy beat and the race committee gave them just that with a 10-mile headbanger first leg that tested everyone's metal.

Swuzzlebubble rounded the weather mark with a handsome lead, but on the run the wind dropped somewhat, compressing the fleet. Paul Pullen's Miss Whiplash took full advantage of the situation gaining considerable ground.

As the boats rounded the last mark Swuzzlebubble still had a big lead on the water, but on corrected time she and Miss Whiplash were now neck and neck.

The final leg in through the heads was a close reach in an awkward swell and as Swuzzlebubble crossed the finish just off Falmouth all heads turned to see how Miss Whiplash was doing.

The stopwatches were out and as Whiplash crossed the line it was confirmed that, after more than five hours racing, she had won by a mere six seconds. Third place went to Jonny Swan's Harmony with Philippe Pilate's General Tapioca fourth.

In the overall standings, Miss Whiplash has pulled into a narrow 1.5 point lead over Swuzzlebubble, while Harmony moves up into third, leapfrogging over General Tapioca with a half point advantage.

Whilst the majority enjoyed a good romp in lovely conditions, one boat that most definitely did not enjoy today was Robbie Tregear's beautiful Per Elisa.

On the spinnaker hoist their genoa sheet got caught in the spinnaker sheet, preventing them from releasing the sheet so that the boat broached out and laid flat. They picked themselves up and got going again but had to gybe to make Gull Rock.

Robbie Tregear takes up the story: "During the gybe it's all a matter of timing, and we were slightly out. We got our speed down the wave, but we hadn't completed the gybe by the time we hit the bottom when the boat stopped but the kite carried on along with the rig, which crumpled into about five pieces."

Fortunately the crew were able to clear away the damaged rig and make their way home without outside assistance, but it brought their championship to an untimely end.

Back ashore, the fleet were treated to beers on the dock by A2 Rigging followed by the daily prize giving in the Regatta Marquee which is located immediately opposite the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

Today (Wednesday 17 August) the fleet returns to inshore racing with races four and five of the series planned. The forecast was for the wind to remain easterly and in the mid to high teens so there was every expectation of another great day's sailing.

The regatta continues until Friday 19 August.

Published in Half Tonners
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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