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Half Ton Classic Cup at Cowes Cancelled for 2020, Irish Boats to Focus on WAVE Regatta at Howth

22nd April 2020
Irish Half Tonners are expected to focus on September's WAVE Regatta Irish Half Tonners are expected to focus on September's WAVE Regatta

July's Half Ton Classics Cup due to be held a week before Cowes Week – at the same venue – has been cancelled.

The news will be disappointing but not unexpected in this COVID-19 hit season among the burgeoning Dublin fleet based largely at Howth.

Up to five Half Tonners have created a lively scene at Howth Yacht Club over the past few seasons with Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV, the Wright's Mata, Johnny Swan's Harmony, Dave Kelly's King One and Nigel Biggs Checkmate XVIII all very competitive campaigns. The Irish fleet is boosted by Cork Harbour's Miss Whiplash (Ronan Downing).

With no UK tour, the plan now is for the Irish Half Tonner fleet to focus instead on local regatta circuits as soon as all restrictive measures are lifted. Dave Cullen is planning to unite the local fleet for Howth's Wave Regatta this September that includes the ICRA National Championships.

In Belgium, the locaiton of another strong fleet, the Half Tonner calendar will concentrate around some local regattas in Nieuwpoort and the mid-September event in Ostend.

The next Half Ton Classics Cup will be in 2021 again at Cowes from 19-23 July.

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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