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Finland's Broken Mast No Problem for Half Tonners in Kinsale, Classic Cup Starts Today

14th August 2017
Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII, the UK entry came to the assistance of a Finnish rival in Kinsale as the call went out for a spare mast Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII, the UK entry came to the assistance of a Finnish rival in Kinsale as the call went out for a spare mast Photo: Bob Batema

As the 21-strong fleet (just two down from expectations in March) for the Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup at Kinsale Yacht Club prepares for race one this morning, a race against time has been ongoing since Friday to ensure one boat would make the start.

Finland’s Toni Stoschek and Janne Tulokas were en route to Ireland with Superhero earlier in the week when an articulated lorry accidentally reversed into their mast while queuing for the ferry crossing.

The badly bent spar was beyond salvage or repair and for a time it seemed the journey to Ireland would be wasted.

However, the class rallied and the hunt began for a replacement. In a major logistical operation, a spare mast was loaned by King One and transported by Nigel Biggs of Checkmate XVIII by road across the UK and travelled by ferry to Rosslare where it was collected by Paul Cullen of Miss Whiplash, arriving in Kinsale on Saturday morning.

By Sunday’s practice race, Superhero was just able to make the starting-line after some rig tuning. “We hope that we can mix it up with the best despite our… slow start,” said Stoschek.

Conditions at Kinsale are expected to deliver a full range of wind for the coming five days, from light airs to near gale at times. Three windward-leeward races per day are planned while the coastal race intended for Tuesday may be amended to ensure a full race programme is completed.

Phil Plumtree’s Swuzzlebubble is the pre-regatta following on two previous title wins though three new boats and an increasingly competitive fleet could yet upset the running-order.

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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