Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV Crew Seize Lead at Half Ton Classics Cup

24th August 2018
Howth Yacht Club's Dave Cullen has clinched the overall lead of the Half Ton Classics Cup Howth Yacht Club's Dave Cullen has clinched the overall lead of the Half Ton Classics Cup

Howth Yacht Club's Dave Cullen has clinched the overall lead of the Half Ton Classics Cup 2018 in Nieuwpoort, Belgium going into the final day of the competition.

Day four's Long Inshore Race proved to be both an incredibly closely fought battle between the top boats and a game changer in the overall standings. With the race carrying a weighting of 1.5 points and being non-discardable, and with only two further races still to sail the pressure was on everyone to achieve good results.

The morning dawned overcast once again, but as the boats arrived in the race area the wind was already at 8-10 knots from the south west and building. Race Officer Paul Charlier set a course which would take the boats back and forth along the Belgian Coast going as far west as the Nieuwpoortbank Buoy and as far east as the Binnenstroombank Buoy off Oostend, giving a course of 32 miles, which took the leading boats over five and a half hours to complete.

Having started cleanly at the first attempt and with only a short distance from the line to the laid weather mark the fleet converged in a tightly bunched pack. Philippe Pilate's General Tapioca had a small lead as they approached, but underestimated the tide and understood so had to tack onto port to get round. Behind them David Cullen's Checkmate XV had judged the starboard layline perfectly and Tapioca had to tack back before she had really got pace up to avoid them. Tapioca just made it round the mark by bearing away hard to keep their transom clear, but then made the mistake of staying low when in fact the tide made the leg a starboard one tack beat. Checkmate held high, rapidly rolling Tapioca with Toni Stoschek & Janne Tukolas' Superhero, Albert Pierrard & An Callens' A+ and Jonny Swan's Harmony right on their tail, followed by a big gaggle of boats including Patrick Dubus' Ballarine (who hit the laid mark), Tom Florizoone's Red Cloud and John Hicks' Rampage.

Those who spotted Tapioca's mistake and held high on the short second leg made it across to Westroombank in one starboard tack, but those who went low were forced to tack in on port making for plenty of excitement in the final approach. Checkmate had a couple of boat lengths lead and was followed round by Superhero with Tapioca now down to third, Harmony fourth, Robbie Tregear's Per Elisa fifth and A+ sixth.

The next leg was a tight reach to Middlekirkbank with the building ebb tide making it tighter still, and judging the compromise between hight and pace was the key to success. While Checkmate hit the middle ground to defend her position Harmony, Tapioca and Per Elisa stayed low as others went high. As they came round Middlekirk Checkmate had successfully defended her narrow lead, but the decision to go low had paid off and Harmony was right behind her with Tapioca third and Superhero fourth. Red Cloud had sailed an excellent leg to pull up into fifth with Per Elisa sixth and A+ seventh.

Next up was a port one tack beat to D1 where they tacked round onto a predominantly starboard tack beat over to Neiuwpoortbank. Choosing where to put in the short tacks on the leg to Nieuwpoortbank was critical with a number of boats loosing out and others gaining significantly. As they turned downwind A+ had picked the tacks perfectly to lead, but with Tapioca, Checkmate XV and Harmony yapping at their heels.

On the leg to D1 Rampage was making good time until their guard wire snapped and all the hiking crew found themselves taking a surprise dip. Fortunately everyone managed to hold onto something so no one lost contact with the boat and they were rapidly able to self recover and continue racing, although General Tapioca and several others were in immedate radio contact and standing by to offer assistance if needed.
From Nieuwpoortbank the fleet bore away onto a fast reach for WK3 before bearing away again onto a long run back past Nieuwpoort to Binnenstroombank off Ostend. With the wind now gusting up to 20+ knots it was a spectacular surfing leg with a few thrills and spills along the way. One unexpected thrill and near spill happened to Jan-Jakob Muyls' Farther Bruin (Farr 1977) as they came to the leeward mark. A tourist boat had come out from Ostend and decided to watch the racing, but got a little too close to the mark blocking their way and avoiding action had to be taken. Quite what the tourists all thought of the mad Belgian's apparently piroueting in front of them we do not know, but for sure they were not happy with the ferry captain!

The final beat west back to finish at the Westroombank against the tide gave the option of sailing up the middle of the beat over the bank or going left and hitting the shallows inshore. A+ chose the shore and more than 20 gruelling tacks later they had passed five boats.

At the line General Tapioca led the fleet home followed by Checkmate XV and Harmony, but on corrected time Checkmate XV had taken a comfortable victory by a minute and fifty two seconds. It wasn't until the boats were ashore that second place could be confirmed with Harmony beating General Tapioca by just two seconds. The stonger winds suited the Vintage IOR boats which still sail in close to original IOR configuration and despite their encouter with the tourist boat Farther Bruin sailed a superb final leg to take fourth place overall and first Vintage from Jacques Lemaire's Waverider in fifth. Red Cloud was sixth, Superhero came home seventh and overnight leader Per Elisa was eighth, her worst result of the regatta.

With the Long Inshore having a points weighting of 1.5 its results have shaken up the overall leader board. David Cullen's Checkmate XV now moves into the lead with 18.5 points. Tied on 23 points are yesterday's overnight leader Robbie Tregear's Per Elisa and Jonny Swan's Harmony with Per Elisa taking second place on count back. Jacques Lemaire's Waverider is just 1.5 points behind them in fourth with Tom Florizoone's Red Cloud in fifth on 27 points and Toni Stoschek & Janne Tukolas' Superhero now dropping from second to sixth on 28.5 points, still well within striking distance of the podium.

In the Vintage Divison for boats still sailing in largely IOR format (limited modifications to their rigs and foils are permitted) Waverider continues to lead the fleet and now has an almost unassailable lead of 9.5 points. Ian Van Burm's Fantasy is in second place, 3.5 points ahead of A+ and four ahead of Nicolas Lejeune's Skippy's Ton. The Vintage fleet is newly introduced for 2018 and is proving a popular new addition with some terrific racing amongst the fleet and a super camaraderie amongst these owners who enjoy the challenge of maintaining their boats as close to original as possible.

After racing the crews came together for the traditional Half Ton Classics Cup Gala Dinner at the Koninklijke Yacht Club Nieuwpoort. But before that they all took part in another Half Ton favourite - The PopPop Boat World Championships. PopPop boats are traditional little tin boats which are steam driven using a tealight to heat a tank of water to drive a propeller. They get their name from the distinctive noise that the tiny single cylinder engine makes and they race along a special twin track course. Despite nearly eight hours afloat today the teams threw themselves into the competition and the usual attempts at cheating ensued, but ultimately fair play was achieved and the Rampage crew narrowly beat the Checkmate XV crewed to be declared 2018 PopPop Boat World Champions.

The championship concludes tomorrow, Friday 24 August. Although technically three races remain to be sailed, the fact that racing can't start before 10.30 and that there is a final race start cut off time of 13.00 means that in reality only two races are really possible to decide this closely fought series and decide who will take home the Half Ton Classics Cup this year.

Provisional Top Seven After Seven Races

1. Checkmate XV - 2, 6, 6, (11), 2 , 1, 1.5 = 18.5
2. Per Elisa - 1, 1, 1, 4, 4, (20), 12 = 23
3. Harmony - 6, 8, (8), 1, 3, 2, 3 = 23
4. Waverider - 4, 3, 2, (10), 5, 3, 7.5 = 24.5
5. Red Cloud - 3, 4, 4, 3, (6), 4, 9 = 27
6. Superhero - 5, 5, 5, 2, 1, (6), 10.5 = 28.5

Full results: halftonclassicscup.com/results-2/

Published in Half Tonners
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Wave button for Afloat new dates

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating