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Displaying items by tag: 1720

After missing out on Day 2 of the 1720 Irish championship entirely due to inclement weather, OOD Peter Crowley and his team were on the water at Kinsale before 09:00 this morning and managed to complete a full programme of races for the 1720 National Championships writes Peadar Murphy. The wind today was light and shifting, but four highly competitive races were still squeezed in and had everyone ashore just before the rain swept in again.

After the first four races on Friday, Anthony O’Leary on “Antix” led from the Byrne and Wilson outfit on “ZING” and Aoife English on “Atara”. However today, the next generation of O’Learys shot to the fore on “Dutch Gold” (newly arrived from Holland!) with Peter on the helm and Robert midship providing the fleet with a masterclass in 1720 sailing in light airs. Three bullets and a second place finish rightly crowning them as the 1720 National Champions for 2016 and bringing the title to Baltimore Sailing Club, capping off a memorable week for that part of the world!

Though never quite at the front of the fleet today, Padraig Byrne and Don Wilson on “ZING” had done enough on Friday to ensure that their lesser results today still merited a second place overall. The lighter airs today seemed to suit a number of boats that hadn’t been quite in the running in strong stuff on Friday; Fionn Lyden on Baltimore Sailing Club boat “Live Wire” had a strong showing today, and might have been pushed a bit by fellow Baltimore boat “Smile n’ Wave”, though their challenge ran out of steam later in the day. Also prominent today were Paul Gibbons’ “Wahoo” and Dun Laoghaire visitor Kenneth Rumball on “Team INSS”. However, despite an off day today - Anthony O”Leary’s “Antix” came home in third overall with five points to spare over “Wahoo”.

However, the undoubted winner of the Blacks of Kinsale 1720 National Championships was Peter O’Leary.

Published in 1720

After four races of the 1720 National Championships at Kinsale YC in County Cork this afternoon, Antix, skippered by Anthony O'Leary of Royal Cork, leads the 16–boat fleet by two points writes Bob Bateman

Races were sailed in a 15-knot south westerly with Antix, the current 1720 European champion, counting two wins and two seconds. O'Leary's RCYC club mates Padraig Byrne & Don Wilson are second on eight points. In third place is Howth Yacht Club and Royal Cork entry Altara skippered by Aoife English on 21 points.

Fomer Euro champion boat MICAM skippered by Mel Collins from Baltimore SC was sixth in race one but sustained gear failure and did not compete in the next three.

Friday dawned dull and with light breezes for the 16-boat fleet of the Blacks of Kinsale 1720 National Championships. OOD Peter Crowley on “Sparetime” head south to roughly one mile south of Centrepoint and laid a course to the southwest over to Black Head. The first of three scheduled races got underway with the sun starting to break through the cloud and the promise of a great day’s sailing.

Race 1 quickly established the running order for the day, with Anthony O’Leary on “Antix” and the Padraig Byrne & Don Wilson team on “ZING” coming in first and second. By the time the second race started, the sun was well established and the wind had built up. Aoife English on “Atara” scored the sole bullet of the day not taken by “Antix” or “ZING’, but had both hot on her heels. Baltimore boats "Live Wire” and “MICAM” suffered issues during the race and neither finished the race, with “MICAM”’s broken lower spreader proving terminal to her racing for the day.

For Race 3, “Live Wire” were back in business, but Denis Murphy’s “Aquatack” were not in a position to start, denting what was otherwise shaping up to be a good day’s scoring for the RCYC boat. Another perennial front-of-fleet boat - Clive O’Shea’s and Tom Durcan’s “T-Bone” was another victim of conditions in Race 3 with “ZING” scoring her sole bullet of the day. With the sun bright in the sky, strong and steady winds and a forbidding forecast for Saturday, OOD Peter Crowley elected to run a fourth race.

Fans of full-blasting were served up a treat with boats screaming down the run on the plane, with plenty of hairy gybes and more than a few broaches and wipeouts. “T-Bone” didn’t make it to the finish for their second race in a row, and “Wahoo” from RCYC also having an off race for them with a DNF dropping them from a potential third place overall at the halfway point of the championship. “Antix” and “Zing” continued to lead the way, with O’Leary claiming the final bullet of the day. Crews returned to the marina in Kinsale with broad grins, sore limbs and more than a few ripped sails and damaged lines. The marina looked reminiscent of a team garage at a Formula 1 race as efforts were made to ready the boats for what lies ahead...

Provisional results below.

Published in 1720
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20 boats are committed for the 1720 National Championships in Kinsale Yacht Club in a fortnight. Class Captain, Clive O'Shea, also expects some other entries that are still in the wings for the three day event that begins on Friday, September 2nd.

It's a busy period for the South Coast Club who will also host the Dragon National Championships ffrom 15th to 18th September.

Published in 1720
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The National Yacht Club's new initiative to encourage more ladies sailing showed the level of its success with its all female crew entry in the 1720 Europeans held recently on Dublin Bay. The team consisted of a group of mums who either wanted to get back into sailing again after a few years break or those who were completely new to racing but wanted to give it a try. They chartered the club 1720 and trained hard coming up to the event competing in the DBSC newly created Sportsboat class on Tuesday evenings. The event, won by Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary attracted sailing Olympians and the standard of competition is always extremely high in these fast exciting boats, so it was a steep learning curve for the NYC team. They have had lots of fun along the way with new friendships made and a big sense of achievement when those starts and gybes go just right!

The next plan is to travel further afield and enter the 1720 Nationals in Kinsale later this season. As word has spread the club now also has a ladies boat competing in the clubs RS Venture and aims to expand this further as demand among their members grows. By supporting this Women on the Water project the NYC now has a thriving group of new female sailors.


Published in National YC

Royal Cork YC's Anthony O'Leary continues his lead of the 17–boat 1720 European Championships on Dublin Bay. O'Leary now has a margin of three points after scoring three seconds in races four, five and six today. Defending champion Neil Hogan stays second on 12 points. Third overall is Baltimore Sailing Club's Ben Cooke on Smile 'n' Wave. Download results below. Racing continues tomorrow as part of the National Yacht Club's Bloomsday regatta line–up.

Published in 1720

Royal Cork Yacht Club's Anthony O'Leary leads but is on equal points with Baltimore Sailing Club's Neil Hogan after the first three races of the 1720 European Championships on Dublin Bay today. Hogan, the defending champion, scored a 3,5 and 1 today in gusty northerlies to give him nine points overall the same as O'Leary who scored 6, 1 and 2 in the 17–boat fleet. Third overall is another Baltimore SC boat, Elder Lemon skippered by Robert Dix on 12 points. Download full results below. Racing continues tomorrow.

Published in 1720

The 1720 European Championships will be staged in Dun Laoghaire from the 16th – 18th June and will be run between the Royal St. George, National and Royal Irish Yacht Clubs.

In a packed sailing month of June, the popular sportsboat championships follows the ICRA Nationals in Howth and ends on the same day the Round Ireland Race starts in Wicklow. 

The event PRO will be Con Murphy before he heads off to Rio on Olympic duty. The final day of racing is being run as part of the National Yacht Club’s Regatta with the 1720 Class having its own start. Après Sail & overall prizegiving will be at the National Yacht Club. The event is sponsored by North Sails, McWilliam Sailmakers and Viking Marine.

It looks like Dun Laoghaire waterfront is going all out to facilitate visiting boats with Ronan Adams, sailing manager of the Royal St. George YC, promising to accommodate early arrivals and delayed departures as required. There will also be a complimentary crane lift in/out facilities at the Royal St. George and the same at the Royal Irish Yacht Club. 

Ashore Adams says an Après Sail & Prize giving is planned each evening. On Thursday, an Après Sail & Prizegiving will be hosted by the Royal Irish Yacht Club with a complimentary Pimms reception. There will also be a full BBQ with a Pig on a spit available. Friday Après Sail & BBQ will be at the Royal St. George Yacht Club where the 'George’ BBQ will be available for hungry racers after sailing

Published in 1720
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After three days of champagne sailing at Howth Yacht Club it was consistency in the largest fleet of the regatta that crowned Clive O'Shea and Tom Durcan's "T-Bone" as the 2016 Sportsboat Cup Overall Champion! The Crosshaven team topped the twelve boat 1720 fleet with two race wins and never posting anything worse than a fourth. Download the overall results below.

The crew had built up a healthy overnight lead coming into the final day of racing, knowing that a good first race would have their class win wrapped up. Maybe it was nerves or more likely some rum still coarsing through their veins but they stuttered on the start line, got squeezed out at the pin and had to do turns for hitting the pin mark. Being last off the line was good news for their competitors but they got on with their race didn't panic chipped away at the fleet and ground themselves back to a fourth place which all but sealed it. While they were still catchable in the final race they were back to regular form, coming out on top in a three way match race at the start it was clear everyone else was fighting for the scraps.

T-Bone winning helmsman Alex 'Bundy' Barry was full of praise for the weekend: "HYC delivered a great event as always, the racing and social scene were excellent and the sunshine topped it off. It was encouraging to see so many young people on the water and in the bar." The team happily took away the Romaine Cagney Bowl, a crystal decanter and a technical Gill jacket on top of their class winners prizes.

The SB20 class was hotly contested with just one point separating the top four boats!!! After nine races and the full shedule completed Shane Murphy's "Two Men and Their Monkey" pipped Chris Arrowsmith's "MSS" with their four race wins trumping MSS' single race win.

The weekend brought out a bigger fleet of SB20s for their Easterns with seventeen boats competing. Dave Barry was absolutely delighted to take the title on board "Lia". Dave had started sailing SB3's back in 2008 in Howth and made reference to an unfortunate incident involving Burrow Beach in his acceptance speech. Needless to say he's much happier with his performances now.

It was Conor Murphy's UCD sailing team "The Implication" who won the J80 class. With all the boats identically set up this fleet was always going to be decided by tactics and boat handling. This crew had clearly got their roles well defined as some of their cornering wouldn't look out of place in an instructional video. After a strong first day their lead was well challenged by Daragh McDonagh's "The Podger" who took four race wins. Ewan McMahon's crew was also in the mix taking two race wins over the weekend.

The small Half Tonner fleet had incredibly close racing. With all three boats routinely running into the last mark of the course all abreast. Most races were only decided by a matter of seconds. Mike and Richie Evans' "The Big Picture" and David Kelly's "King One" shared all the race wins and it was "The Big Picture" who eked out a two point victory.

Many thanks to event chairman Ross McDonald and his team including race management and the event partners Kevin Flanigan Estates and Dalcassian Wines and Spirits and their Goslings Rum and Ginger. We're looking forward to doing it all again in 2018!

Published in Howth YC
Tagged under

Team INSS, a 1720 sportsboat skipperd by Kenny Rumball, emerged as winner of the 46-boat Rathfarnham Ford sponsored DBSC series that concluded in light airs and low cloud this afternoon on Dublin Bay. The Sailing School entry was followed home by another 1720, Deja Vu and the Beneteau 34.7 Adelie in third place.

Full overall results now downloadable below.

Published in DBSC

Located on the fringes of Europe and set in challenging seas, Ireland does not offer an ideal setup for large-output series-production of recreational boats. We lack the economies of scale which are conferred on giant production companies in the crowded heartlands of Europe. There, the ready potential of a vibrant and easily-accessed market is allied with the availability of skilled workforces which are prepared to undertake the tasks in regimented and regulated settings. While these modern production plants may provide bright and well-ventilated conditions, nevertheless they’re markedly industrial in tone and style, and maybe not really in tune with much of life in our own highly individualistic island. W M Nixon takes a look at some of the stories of boat-building in Ireland, and reckons from current experience that specialized work is what we do best.

Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, over the years enthusiasts have given the Irish production fiberglass boat-building challenge their best shots. The continuing and much-enjoyed presence of boats of the Shipman 28 class at many of our sailing centres is a reminder that once upon a time, from the 1970s onwards in Limerick, there was a company called Fibreman Marine, later Fastnet Marine, which built the Swedish-designed Shipman 28 and then expanded the range to include the Fastnet 24, designed by Finot of France.

At much the same time, the Brown brothers were building the Ruffian range – of which the most popular was the Ruffian 23 – in their home town of Portaferry on Strangford Lough, while across the Lough at Killyleagh, Chris Boyd – who’d actually built the first Puppeteer 22s in Larne – set up shop a couple of years later in a new mini-factory and Puppeteers of several sizes rolled off the line.

Meanwhile on the shores of Cork Harbour, a popular range of variations on the Ron Holland Shamrock Half Ton design kept a harbour-side production plant busy for some years. And out west in Tralee, O’Sullivans Marine found themselves some decades ago in the forefront of design development with a new GRP National 18 built around the enthusiasm of the Cork Harbour fleet, and then they went on to build large numbers of the Tony Castro-designed 1720 Sportsboat. But having started as builders of smaller craft with a useful range of elegant lakeboats, they find that the lakeboat is what keeps them going today – it’s a case of going with the knitting while keeping well clear of more high-powered production temptations.

Other pioneers in Irish series boat-building have stayed in the marine business, but have moved their focus. How many know now that our very own marine conglomerate, BJ Marine with its wide boat-oriented interests at home and abroad, started life as a boat-building company with a range of van de Stadt GRP hulls, and then continued as the builder of the Ruffian 23?

1720s racing at Cork Week 2000God be with the days…..seventy Tralee-built 1720s racing at Cork Week 2000, with Mark Mansfield the winner and Anthony O’Leary second. Photo: Robert Bateman

Shipman 28s racing in Dublin BayShipman 28s racing in Dublin Bay. They were built in Limerick in one of several factories in Europe which between them produced 1300 of these boats. Photo: Courtesy VDLR

Ruffian 23s in Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Ruffian 23s in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Originally built in Portaferry to be a Belfast Lough class, at their height they were raced at about ten centres including Hong Kong, but now their most resilient strongholds are Dun Laoghaire and Carrickfergus.

Indeed the story of BJ Marine is in many ways the story of the Irish marine industry, for as the late Dickie Brown of Ruffian fame said of the glory days of their little firm of Weatherly Yachts: “We were the right people in the right place at the right time in the rapidly developing international marine industry. But later, there was no way a little local firm could hope to compete with the giants of the industry in the production of what was, in effect, the sailing equivalent of the small family car.”

It wasn’t just on the coast that semi-production boatbuilders were thriving - or at least surviving - at this particular stage of the Irish marine industry’s development. On the inland waterways, particularly around Carrick-on-Shannon there were firms of all sorts, mainly building motor-cruisers, but as well the great pioneer, O’Brien Kennedy, having come home to build Shannon cruisers, then returned to his first love of sailing boats and created the Kerry 6-tonner, characterfully built in GRP of simulated clinker construction, and still much-loved even if Kennedy International Boats is a long-gone memory.

But since the heady days of the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, several economic storms and revolutions in production methods and materials have blown away much of the Irish marine manufacturing and boat-building industry. The crazy years of the Celtic Tiger only emphasized its demise, as the great waves of new boats joining the Irish fleet were almost entirely imported, while the concurrent property boom meant that even the humblest waterfront boatyard provided other-use high-end development potential which so quickly pushed prices through the roof that anyone who wanted to work at or build boats had to think in terms of finding premises just about as far as they could be from desirable waterside facilities, for that was all that could be afforded.

And yet, some companies have come through. Red Bay Boats in County Antrim started in 1977 as builders of standard little angling craft, but they soon saw the potential of RIBs, and now they’re world leaders. Having introduced a completely new kind of fast powerboat day cruising with their impressive range of multi-function RIBs, they soon realized that today’s people in a hurry want a complete package. So in Cushendall, Red Bay Boats will provide shore storage for your boat when you’re not using it, yet when you carve out one of those short-break holidays which are the way we live today, they’ll have your boat ready and waiting for instant launching, and off you go for a high speed cruise among the Scottish Hebrides – they’ll even organise cruises-in-company.

Across Northern Ireland on Lough Erne, the Leonard family of Carrybridge have taken over Westwood Marine from its production facility in England, and since 2013 have been re-establishing the production line in ideal premises – a former aircraft hangar at the lakeside St Angelo Airport on the Enniskillen-Kesh road. Westwood’s designer is the versatile Andrew Wolstenholme, whose astonishing variety of craft includes the hefty steel 57ft cruising barge-style yacht Ida for Tom & Dee Bailey of Lough Derg. It was a designer-client relationship which was remarkably fruitful, as the only real stumbling block was Dee’s insistence that the boat include a really good full size hot press - it took some time for the very English designer to grasp that she meant an airing cupboard.

One example of Wolstenholme design – the 57ft barge yacht Ida (Tom & Dee Bailey) on Loug Derg. Photo: Noel Griffin

A very different example of Wolstenholme design – the Westwood A405 is now being built in Enniskillen.

For Westwood in their new Enniskillen base, Wolstenholme has been showing his skills in contemporary design with a complete revamp of materials used in the interior, but by any standards the Westwood A405 is a handsome modern craft, and anyone buying a new one from Enniskillen has the bonus of a year’s free berthing on Lough Erne.

Down at the other end of the country, adverse conditions is what keeps Safehaven Marine going strong. Everyone will be familiar with the dramatic videos of their pilot and patrol boats leaping abut like happy porpoises in the breaking water at the entrance to Cork Harbour when there’s a storm force southerly against the spring ebb. But by contrast, a visit to their production facility in Youghal is a soothing experience (once the enormous guard dog has accepted you’re a temporary part of the team), as it’s a sort of mini-cathedral of boat-building where craft capable of taking anything the sea can throw at them are built with meticulous attention in which the only noise comes when the vast extractor fans are activated. Building boats in modern plastics is inevitably a dusty business, and anyone who has worked at it will be fully appreciative of what Frank Kowalski has installed in Safehaven to keep the busy place dust-free.

Safehaven Marine in YoughalPrecision work in a dust-free environment – the main building hall at Safehaven Marine in Youghal. Photo: W M Nixon

However, having a setup like this implies the building of high ticket boats in which expense is virtually no object if it can be guaranteed that they’ll fulfill their very special purposes. But for the vast majority of specialist boatbuilders – both professional, semi-professional, and amateur – it’s a case of making do as best you can, and often you’ll find rather special boat being built in unlikely places, often to the extent that the locals don’t known what’s going on, for in some cases they’ll barely know what a boat is in the first place.

From time to time we’ve given away snippets of information abut Jarlath Cunnane’s new 37ft alloy Atkins ketch which he has been building himself in a very hidden little shed beside a drainage canal on Clew Bay. Jarlath of course built the ice-voyaging Northabout - also in alloy - with Paddy Barry and circled the Arctic Circle with the project completed in 2005. But now that the likes of top Chinese skipper Guo Chuan are breezing their way through the Northeast passage in a giant trimaran in a fast sail of a couple of weeks, Jarlath has moved on. Northabout has been sold to be a expedition vessel in Antarctica (her last Irish port was Kilrush in May) – and the new schooner Island Princess is handling a treat, and moving at leisure among the islands of Connacht, while the hidden shed is given over to other business.

irel8Nearing completion – Jarath Cunnane’s own-built 37ft alloy schooner Island Princess at his well-hidden facility in County Mayo

irel9Jarlath Cunnane’s new Island Princess is just about as different as possible from his previous expedition boat Northabout except that she too is built in alloy.

irel10The leaving of Ireland. Northabout at Kilrush in early May shortly before departing for what will be a new Southern Hemisphere chapter in her career as an expedition yacht. Photo: W M Nixon

But deep in the heart of north county Cork, just about midway between Cork Harbour and Limerick, there’s a fine shed ready and waiting for the next bit of business. And the more unusual your requirements, the more interested Bill Trafford will be in doing it at Alchemy Marine, where he successfully completes boat projects which are so far off the wall that they’re over the hills and well into the next county.

Those of us who are into interesting boats will know that the most dangerous road in Ireland is the one from Carrigaline to Crosshaven, for the further along it you get, the more boats you will see moored in and around Drake’s Pool. They’re a briefly-glimpsed eclectic collection of boats of all ages, shapes and sizes, which means you’re constantly trying to see them while supposedly driving the car at the same time, which is not a good idea at all.

But back in August, the road along the north side of Crookhaven in far west Cork also became a Highway of Hazard. I always have a soft spot for any boats with the good sense to moor on the north side of Crookhaven, for although you’re not even half a mile from the much more fashionable and crowded anchorage off the village, you’re out of the tide. When the flood is making against a stonking westerly, the village anchorage is irritatingly uncomfortable, but a quick move, dropping the visitor’s mooring off the village, and then deploying our oversize windlass and ground tackle at the press of a button over to the north, and Bob’s you uncle, dinner can continue in total serenity.

So anyway one evening last August we were trundling eastward along the road looking favourably on the little group moored in towards Rock Island, and there among them was this heart-stoppingly beautiful little dark blue sloop which looked so much of a piece that I assumed she must be one of those incredibly pricey little semi-customised dayboats which top-end American builders up in Maine might occasionally produce at enormous expense, and even then only for very favoured customers.

Couldn’t have got it more wrong. Turns out she’s a completely re-booted Elizabethan 23 which Bill Trafford of Alchemy Marine up near Doneraile had been hoping to have re-crafted for a discerning owner from Crookhaven Harbour Sailing Club in time to make her debut at the Glandore Classics in July. But you can’t rush the final stages of a job like this for something so vulgar as a deadline, so Kioni quietly made her debut in West Cork in August, and she is simply amazing.

The Trafford speciality is seeing unexpected potential in glassfibre hulls of a certain age, for what he’s looking for is boats that look like yachts, with proper curved garboards and an encapsulated lead ballast keels. We now know that good glassfibre can last for ever, but in many cases the finish didn’t do justice to the superb materials in the original hull. But with more than a bit of tweaking, a beautiful butterfly can emerge from a very ordinary chrysalis.

Not that the Elizabethan 23 wasn’t something quite special in her day, which was 1969. Boatbuilder Peter Webster of Lymington was originally a baker in Yorshire, but he only wanted to builld boats, and he knew Lymington in Hampshire was the place to do it, and having a marina there – Lymington Yacht Haven – would provide the cash flow to support the boat-building. He started with the ground-breaking GRP Elizabethan 29 designed by Kim Holman, which set herself on the high road to success with major wins in Cowes Week and the Round the Island Race. But then Webster got some notions for a centreboard 23-footer, for which he sketched out rough drawings and then persuaded up-and-coming Welsh yacht designer David Thomas to put manners on them, with the result being the pretty-enough Elizabethan 23.

original design for the Elizabethan 23 The original design for the Elizabethan 23 had this reasonably conservative coachroof…

irel12….but a later builder decided that increased headroom was essential, and went highrise

Elizabethan 23 deck off

First big job is to remove deck and coachroof, revealing a rather nice hull underneath

The duo’s most successful combined effort was the Elizabethan 30, which did well in Half Ton racing and was a superb little cruiser-racer generally, so much so that Webster’s pet boat was the bright red Elizabethan 30 Liz of Lymington which he sailed to the end of his days, and then left in his will to David Thomas, who then did the same, and he died well advanced in years last winter.

But meanwhile the mouldings for the Elizabethan 23 had been taken over by another builder who reckoned the enlargement of the coachroof was the only way to go, and it was in one of these boats with its Acropolis on top that Bill Trafford saw the potential to provide a sweet little 26ft day-boat, though with a couple of bunks, a proper sea toilet, and an inboard diesel, for the clear-headed Crookhaven Harbour sailor.

They defined lines of negotiation between what Bill wanted to do, and what the owner required, and work proceeded apace. The photos says it all. Kioni speaks for herself. And there is no doubt but that Bill Trafford’s eye for what a proper yacht should look like is world-class-plus.

boat building ireland

Perhaps the most crucial job of all – getting the counter extension just right. Bill Trafford hit the target perfectly.

boat building

Bill Trafford’s eye for a boat is well matched by his skill in working with wood – we can see only one glaring design fault in this photo in the workshop as Kioni take shape in her new form.

The skill in getting the counter extension just precisely right sets the tone of the entire project. And as for the quality of the workmanship in wood – that’s truly a wonder to behold. But what’s this about a design fault in that nearest photo above? Not to worry – it’s not in the boat. It’s to do with the door to the workshop lavatory.

That great boat designer and builder Uffa Fox says in one of his books that whether it’s the privy in the garden, or the lavatory in the boatbuilding shed or wherever, then the door to the lavatory should always open inwards. Thus if you’re taking your proper leisure therein, and seated comfortably and wish to contemplate some good work whether it be in the garden or on the boat under construction in the workshop, then if you’re on your own you can leave the door open the better to appreciate your work. But if someone arrives unexpectedly, you can kick it shut without a bother…….

Although Kioni makes a feature of beautifully finished timberwork, it’s not excessive. The really skilled boat creator knows that less is more, and a discreet yet effective little toe rail is much more pleasing to the eye than some hulking great heavy bit of bulwark or beading.

irel16Less is more – the tasteful little toe rail does what’s needed, yet is so much more in keeping with the new syle of the boat.

irel17Just to get it all in perspective, this…

Elizabethan 23

……came from this

So now you know the style of Bill Trafford’s work, and if you’re interested, his workshop is 70ft X 45ft with a door 15ft wide and 14ft high. He reckons he could do two Kionis a year. But be warned. He always has some other ideas at the back of his mind. His real ambition is to buy a battered old GRP Nicholson 43, lengthen her stern out into something like a Fife counter, give her straight stem the tiniest hint of a clipper bow, stick on an 8ft bowsprit, and turn her into a re-born gaff schooner…………

Nich 43A standard Nich 43. Bill Trafford’s dream would be to turn her into a 47ft gaff schooner with a classic long Fife counter and a hint of a clipper bow

Published in W M Nixon
Page 4 of 8

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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