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Home Fleet On Form For Kinsale Yacht Club's Half Ton Classic Showdown

30th July 2017
Dave Cullen’s recent victories on Checkmate XV at Dun Laoghaire Regatta and the Sovereigns Cup places him best of the home fleet Dave Cullen’s recent victories on Checkmate XV at Dun Laoghaire Regatta and the Sovereigns Cup places him best of the home fleet Photo: Afloat.ie

With a 21-strong record entry, three new boats, a formidable defending title-holder and a two-times runner-up all in the mix, next month’s Euro Car Parks sponsored Half Ton Classics Cup has all the ingredients for a memorable championship from Sunday 13th to Friday 18th August 2017 at Kinsale Yacht Club.

New owner Phil Plumtree will carry on Swuzzlebubble's pedigree and will be aiming to make 2017 her third title win since successfully launching in 2014 under Peter Morton. Greg Peck followed this with victory again in 2016 so on paper appears to present a huge challenge and a good reason to be the bookies favourite.

DSC 1393Kinsale’s own new Half Tonner Cortegada (George Radley) Photo: Bob Bateman

But three new boats represent unknown challenges and include Checkmate XVIII owned by Nigel Biggs, Paul Wayte’s brand new un-raced Headhunter and Kinsale’s own George Radley whose new Half Tonner Cortegada should have the edge for local knowledge.

DSC 1393Checkmate XVIII skippered by Nigel Biggs Photo: Bob Bateman

However, a handful of other contenders could yet upset the form guide.

DSC 1393Mike Evans skippers 'The Big Picture' from Howth Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

Trastada from Scotland also has a strong track-record as does General Tapioca from Belgium that has several titles under her belt. The Kinsale championship represents unfinished business for Paul Pullen’s gorgeous Falmouth entry Miss Whiplash who has been runner-up for the last two years and he will be on a mission to take the Cup in 2017. There are also six Irish boats participating, all of whom have had success but Dave Cullen’s recent victories on Checkmate XV at Dun Laoghaire Regatta and the Sovereigns Cup places him best of the home fleet.

Half Tonner Trasdata 0651Trastada from Scotland competed in Dublin Bay waters at Dun Laoghaire Regatta. Photo: Afloat.ie

Amongst the six nations taking part, Finland will be represented by Superhero that is campaigned by long-standing Finnish Sailors Toni Stoscheck and Janne Tukolas.

Meanwhile, the ethos of the class will also be to the fore as the “True Spirit Award” remains the ultimate accolade for the boat that encompasses the spirit of the Half Ton Class and is open to any boat to win. “Gladiatorial on the water but best friends ashore” the class has a unique spirit where everyone shares and helps each other while protests are seriously frowned upon.

Pre-event front-runners for the award include Ian Van Burm’s beautiful evergreen wooden Half Tonner Fantasy and previously demonstrated the class spirit by sailing to the 2007 event in Dublin all the way from Belgium. Patrick Dijoud’s Pivoine will arrive by sea this year from France as the class’s newest addition.

One thing all of the teams are guaranteed is competitive racing under the stewardship of PRO Anthony O’Leary, plus a huge welcome from Kinsale Yacht Club and a week-long party that few will forget.

As well as being one of the most picturesque locations in Europe, Kinsale YC as the host venue is situated in the heart of Ireland’s culinary capital and is an area steeped in maritime history.

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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