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No winner in Auckland today for the Prada America's Cup Christmas Race as the breeze dropped away after the start of race 1 and there was not enough to complete the 4 races scheduled for the day.

Race 1 between Emirates Team New Zealand and INEOS TEAM UK - respectively the winner and fourth-placed in the PRADA ACWS Auckland - started on time at 1512.

Emirates Team New Zealand sailed fast around the course until during the second downwind lap when the breeze dropped and the Kiwis remained unable to foil downwind.

The clock counted down, the wind remained around 6 knots and the Defenders missed taking victory by around 1min as the clock ran out and the race was terminated.

At 1745 the Race Committee called it a day and the last possibility to see the AC75’s racing was over for this year.

Crowds wait for the wind in AucklandCrowds wait for the wind in Auckland

Today would have been a critical day for all the teams, but especially for Emirates Team New Zealand as this was their last chance to measure themselves against the three Challengers. The next time they line up on the race course it will be for real in the America’s Cup in March.

By then they will be facing the strongest of the Challengers in the fight for the world’s oldest international sporting trophy. A Challenger who will have undoubtedly raised their game during the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series starting the 15th of January.

There is no time to rest. An intense period of de-briefings, data analysis, changes and improvements await the teams who are expected to be back training on the water very soon ahead of next year’s challenges.

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As if written into the script, the final race was the one that mattered when it came to who would take the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland trophy. With Emirates Team New Zealand and American Magic on even points, a win against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli would give the Kiwis the point that they needed to take the trophy.

And that’s what happened. Emirates Team New Zealand won the last race by 0:16 seconds over Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and opened the bottle of G.H. Mumm Champagne on the Race Village main stage in front of their fans.

America's Cup World Series Scoresheet after day threeAmerica's Cup World Series Scoresheet after day three

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Four match races have been held on the second day of the Amercia's Cup World Series in Auckland on racecourse C, the preferred playing field as it brings the racing right into the heart of the Waitematā Harbour, with a shifty and puffy Northwest breeze between 10 to 14 knots.

The new ranking list sees New York Yacht Club American Magic and Emirates Team New Zealand on a tie with three wins each. The Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (2 points) and INEOS TEAM UK (0 points) follow in third and fourth position respectively.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American Magic COR36 / Studio BorlenghiLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American Magic Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American MagicLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli and New York Yacht Club American Magic at a rounding mark Photo: Studio Borlenghi

RACE 5 – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American Magic

Start: 1512
Port: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team
Starboard: New York Yacht Club American Magic
Course: 6
Axis: 000
Length: 1.8nm
Current: 0.9 knots at 050
Wind speed 12-15kt
Winner Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli 0:12

After an unconventional pre-start in which Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA) were dealt a penalty for entering the start box early. They managed to clear this with a couple of tacks, but the real drama was to happen just a few minutes up the first leg.

Having kept their noses clean and pulled out the makings of a good lead, American Magic (USA) came close to a capsize during a tack when the windward foil seemed to be slow in being raised out of the water. The incident looked precariously close to a capsize but what wasn’t in doubt was how it had affected their standings in the race as the Challenger of Record took the lead.

At the first windward gate the Italians had maintained healthy lead but two gybes at the bottom of the downwind leg cost them distance and the Americans were now just 9 seconds behind.

From there, the race remained tight but Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailed a confident and clean race to take the win by 12 seconds.

RACE 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK

Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiEmirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

INEOS TEAM UK to windward of Emirates Team New Zealand beat  Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiINEOS TEAM UK to windward of Emirates Team New Zealand beat Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

Start: 1550
Port: Emirates Team New Zealand
Starboard: INEOS TEAM UK
Course: 6
Axis: 001
Length: 1.82nm
Current: 0.8 knots at 050
Wind speed 12-15kt
Winner Emirates Team New Zealand 1:32

There were early signs of some boat on boat action in the pre-start as INEOS TEAM UK (GBR) attempted to pin a penalty on Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) seconds before the start. The move didn’t work, despite a protest by the British team, but it provided a burst of action in the opening stages of this race.

The breeze had shifted to the left forcing both boats to start on port tack and resulting in a drag race up the first part of the beat.

The Kiwis were first out to the righthand boundary and came back at INEOS TEAM UK as they tacked onto starboard. Sir Ben Ainslie matched the tack, well to leeward and with a decent lateral separation between the two there was little in the way of engagement and more in the way of covering tacks. But just as Emirates Team New Zealand were settling into the makings of a healthy lead, drama as the home team came perilously close to hitting the glass fibre 900kg windward mark in a mis-communication between helmsman Peter Burling and tactician Glenn Ashby who was positioned to leeward and talking him into the rounding.

Meanwhile, INEOS TEAM UK took the left-hand mark and rounded cleanly to trail by 20 sec. By the bottom mark the Kiwis lead had increased to 30 sec.

On the next lap, the drama came when Emirates Team New Zealand fluffed a gybe in their approach to the bottom gate as the rudder appeared to stall. The boat performed a high-speed wheelie. Smart thinking by the crew saw the jib eased quickly and the windward foil raised as Burling headed downwind to avoid a capsize. They managed to recover and rounded the mark cleanly, but it had cost them 5 sec shaving their lead from 45 to 40 seconds.

The third and final lap delivered no more in the way of dramas and saw the Kiwis extend their lead to 1:32 by the finish.

New York Yacht Club American Magic beats Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiNew York Yacht Club American Magic beats Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

New York Yacht Club American Magic ahead of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiNew York Yacht Club American Magic ahead of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

RACE 7 – New York Yacht Club American Magic beat Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

Start: 1637
Port: New York Yacht Club American Magic
Starboard: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Course: 8
Axis: 001
Length: 1.62nm
Current: 0.6 knots at 051
Winner New York Yacht Club American Magic 0:30

The return match between American Magic (USA) and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA) was the third race of the day. The breeze had shifted further to the left and the course had been adjusted to match with four laps.

On the entry into the start box, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli came in early and were dealt a penalty. Two starts, two penalties so far, but there was more to come.

Then some classic match racing action as the boats duelled to the righthand side of the start area which saw Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli put a penalty on American Magic. But in the heat of the moment the Italians were unable to accelerate away from the issue and the Americans put a penalty back on Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. To be stopped in the water with your American opponent screeching away means that it doesn’t take long to give the 50m distance that is required to clear a penalty.

As the race settled down, American Magic was leading and headed out towards the left-hand side of the course.

By the time they reached the windward gate, it was clear that they had chosen the better side of the course and rounded 21 seconds ahead of the Italians.

Little had changed in the distance between the two by the first leeward gate with both boats taking the left-hand mark, 20 seconds apart. On the water, the distance was around 140m.

This time American Magic seemed keener to cover their opponent, matching them tack for tack to protect their lead, with good reason.

At the second windward gate, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had cut the deficit in two to round 10seconds behind.

By the bottom of the downwind leg, the distance had increased a little to 14 seconds as the Italians performed a perfectly executed starboard mark rounding that rolled into a tack as if they were on rails.

Once again, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had gained upwind to close the gap to just 5 seconds. By the end of the third lap the distance had grown once again to 15seconds, a pattern was starting to appear with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli faster upwind, American Magic quicker downwind.

A pattern in the tactics was appearing too with another very similar pattern of play on the final upwind leg as American Magic matched Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli tack for tack to protect their lead. And this time, protect it they did as the Americans rounded the windward mark for the final time, 16 seconds ahead.

With the finish line in sight and confidence high American Magic cruised to victory, stretching their lead to 30seconds.

RACE 8 – Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK

Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UKEmirates Team New Zealand and INEOS TEAM UK in a close duel

Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UKEmirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK

Start: 1715
Port: INEOS TEAM UK
Starboard: Emirates Team New Zealand
Course: 6
Axis: 001
Length: 1.85nm
Current: 0.3 knots at 055
Breeze 10-14 kts
Winner Emirates Team New Zealand 1:42

The final race of the day saw the second helping of the day’s sparring between INEOS Team UK (GBR) and Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL). While there was little engagement between the two in the pre-start, Sir Ben Ainslie made a better job of setting up to cross the start line on time and at speed.

Meanwhile, the Kiwis who were already rather deep into the starting box, appeared to stall out in a pre-start gybe. The result was that Emirates Team New Zealand were not going to be able to make the start on time, leaving the door open for INEOS TEAM UK to sail away unhindered up the first beat.

The Brits rounded the left hand mark of the first windward gate in the lead, but Emirates Team New Zealand had already hauled back a big chunk of the lost distance to round just 12 seconds behind. The Kiwis chose the right hand mark resulting in a split from their opponents. When they came back together to cross, Emirates Team New Zealand had taken the lead, at least for the time being. The shifty and puffy breeze had favoured the British route down the right hand side of the course and placed them back in the lead at the next cross.

Then, as the third cross approached as the pair came into the bottom gate the lead had now swung back to Emirates Team New Zealand as they rounded the left hand mark, 4 seconds ahead of INEOS TEAM UK who chose the opposite mark.

By the top gate on the second lap the Kiwis leading margin had increased to 31 seconds, despite INEOS TEAM UK appearing to match Emirates Team New Zealand’s straight line speed. By the bottom the Peter Burling’s team lead was 47 seconds.

With just one lap left, the breeze had dropped a few knots making it more of a struggle for the teams to keep their boats on the foils. Mark roundings became more tricky as their approaches into manoeuvres were adapted with the occasional momentary splash downs through tacks.

By the final leg the die had been cast and the Kiwis took a win over the British team by 1min 42 secs. Another win for the home team, but two completed races for Sir Ben Ainslie after some difficult days.

America's Cup World Series Scoresheet after day twoAmerica's Cup World Series Scoresheet after day two

Full replay of the races is available below

Today will be the last day of the PRADA ACWS Auckland, first race will start at 3:00 PM NZT. Prize giving will be held on the main stage on the Te Wero Island one hour after racing.

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The first racing day of the PRADA America's Cup World Series in Auckland has concluded and New York Yacht Club American Magic is leading the provisional ranking after winning both their matches.

In second position comes Emirates Team New Zealand (1 point), third Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (1 point) and fourth Ineos Team UK (0 points).

Races, where held with a south-westerly breeze, ranged between 15 and 19 knots. Top speed of the day was 49.1 knots reached by Emirates Team New Zealand.

View the races below.

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All eyes are on Ineos Team UK as it struggles to compete in at least one trial race before the World Cup Series starts on Thursday in New Zealand. So far it has been anything but plain sailing for Ben Ainslie and his crew after his new America’s Cup boat was slammed in a brutal blog post.

Even though Ineos Team UK has hit back by telling The Herald that its main concerns centres around a ‘small hydraulics problem’, the British team pulled out again today, this time from a scheduled trial race this morning.

The mysterious problems plaguing Ineos and its unresolved issues are fast becoming the most intriguing story in the build-up to the America’s Cup World Series, says The Herald.

The paper reports that Ineos Team UK commenced the pre-start manoeuvres against Emirates Team New Zealand, but pulled the pin in less than two minutes.

A less sinister interpretation of events was put forward. The “Brits fell off the foil and couldn’t get back up again,” says Live Sail Die.

“Under 8 knots it seems really sticky and there are a few teams struggling to get their boats out of the water.

“Ineos were really struggling. I don’t think I saw them do a successful tack or gybe today, certainly not in the racing which will be very disappointing for them. Whether they had some issues, who knows?”

The British boat, which is backed by the largest single sponsorship in sailing history, headed back to its Viaduct harbour base under tow. 

It means the British team have only one more chance to complete a trial race (Tuesday) before Thursday’s World Series start.

Much more on Marine Industry News here.

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If there's one hard fact in a sea of uncertainty, this is identifying the team that needs to be beaten to win the America's Cup, the current Defender representatives, Emirates Team New Zealand.

Their new second boat took many by surprise as it was rolled out into the open for the first time. This is a bold, aggressively styled AC75 that is a long way from their first boat.

Team NZ unveiled their second AC75 Te Rehutai last week, impressing onlookers with its concave design which was a distinct departure in shape from the first boat.

In order to get extra power in light conditions, Team New Zealand are using a double mainsail for the wing effect in their latest AC75.  Sheeting is visible in this photo that shows the crew controlling each skin separatelyWing effect - In order to get extra power in light conditions, Team New Zealand are using a double mainsail in their latest AC75. Sheeting is visible in this photo that shows the crew controlling each skin separately

Such a big departure has raised plenty of questions so, in a Defender analysis, journalist Matt Sheahan explains in the video below what this means for both the Kiwis and the competition.

As Afloat reported earlier, four teams are signed up for the America's Cup World Series in Auckland and a Christmas Race format has been announced.

Team New Zealand has released a video showing the intense behind the scenes efforts from the design team to build their second America's Cup boat. Check out the New Zealand Herald article and video here

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In less than three weeks four international teams from New Zealand, Italy, United States, and Great Britain will line up for the first time on their second generation of flying AC75’s for the Prada America’s Cup World Series Auckland and the Christmas Race (December 17-20).

The event will see current America’s Cup Defender Emirates Team New Zealand, the Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, INEOS TEAM UK and New York Yacht Club American Magic facing each other during four days of match racing on the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf widely regarded as ‘The jewel in Auckland’s crown’.

Emirates Team New ZealandEmirates Team New Zealand 

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli TeamLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team Photo: Giulia Caponnetto

The first race will start few minutes after 3 pm on December 17 and will see Emirates Team New Zealand against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team. The second pairing will be American Magic versus INEOS TEAM UK.

With each of the teams interpreting the AC75 design rule differently there are marked differences between all four boats launched so far and therefore great anticipation to see them race for the first time.

New York Yacht Club American MagicNew York Yacht Club American Magic Photo: Will Ricketson

The racing format for the four days of racing has now been finalised. For the first three days of the PRADA ACWS Auckland (17th-19th of December) there will be four races per day of Round Robin competition when all of the four teams will race each other twice.

The fourth day (20th of December) the PRADA Christmas Race will kick off and will be comprised of two knock out stages, the first stage consists of two head to head match ups, the winners of each will progress to the final, the losers to a 3rd & 4th match which will help decide the final rankings. The pairing of the Christmas Race Semifinals will be decided by the results of the PRADA ACWS Auckland double Round Robin.

America's Cup World Series Auckland and Christmas Race race formatsAmerica's Cup World Series Auckland and Christmas Race race formats

The races will be held on a windward-leeward racecourse with an upwind start and last around 25-30 minutes each.

Racing is scheduled for 1500 – 1800 each day weather permitting. The race course will be communicated on racing days by the Race Management depending on wind direction, intensity and tides. The permitted wind range is between 6.5 and 21 knots.

The America’s Cup Race village is FREE to enter and a great place to enjoy the action from, or soak up the village atmosphere. Depending on the course of the day, there are many vantage points around Auckland, from which the racing can be enjoyed while on land.

For the Challenger teams, the results from the ACWS and the Christmas Race regatta will determine the pairings for the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series to be held in January/February 2021 that will decide which of them will take on Emirates Team New Zealand in the Match for the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA starting on March 6th 2021.

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A first sail is not usually a year in the planning, but when New Zeland America's Cupper 'Te Rehutai' hit the water for her first outing today, that was exactly the case with many areas of her new design having been locked in over nine months or more ago, meaning today was a chance to finally validate what the simulations had been predicting. The result? An adequate first outing.

On a beautiful Auckland day with a calm Waitamata sea state and building breeze, Te Rehutai left the dock and immediately started tow testing on the way out to the Hauraki Gulf.

Last night’s launch was a fantastic opportunity to presented Te Rehutai to the world, and thank everyone involved in getting her to this point, but for many in the team, seeing her out sailing on her first day was the real moment of celebration.

Reflecting on the first day Blair Tuke said "After the official launch last night, it was pretty awesome to be able to get out there and throw the boat around in a beautiful southerly breeze on the Hauraki Gulf. It's great for the whole team to see it out there flying, doing its thing, after a heck of a lot of work from so many people to get to this point"

A successful first day marks a major turning point for the team, where building and development make way for testing and race preparation, but developments in all areas will continue right until the very last race.

Peter Burling felt the day was a success. "It was great to get commissioning underway. The boat felt really nice. We're happy with day one, but have got a lot of hard work ahead."

As part of the early testing programme for Te Rehutai, the team ticked off everything as planned and completed a few manoeuvres on Course C on the way home.

With just 26 days to go until the warning signal of the first race of the PRADA ACWS Auckland, the plan is to get as many days on the water as possible, so locals should expect to see Te Rehutai become a familiar presence on the harbour.

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Defiant, the first AC75 racing yacht built for New York Yacht Club American Magic, Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup, has arrived in New Zealand. The AC75 was shipped through the Gulf of Mexico, transited the Panama Canal and then crossed the Pacific after departing from the team’s winter base in Pensacola, Florida on May 28.

“Seeing our boat unloaded in Auckland was an awesome moment for our team, and a significant milestone for the America’s Cup as well,” said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and Executive Director of American Magic. “Soon we will all see American Magic out on the same patch of water as the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand. That’ll definitely be an exciting sight for sailing fans worldwide, and for us it will be a daily reminder of the huge task we have in front of us. Every possible training day from now until the Prada Cup is priceless, and we are focused on going sailing again as quickly as possible.”

The Bristol, Rhode Island-built foiling monohull is the first Challenger yacht to arrive at the venue of three upcoming regattas: ACWS Auckland (December 17-20, 2020), The Prada Cup (The Challenger finals, January 15 - February 22, 2021) and the 36th America’s Cup (March 6-21, 2021). The U.S. team also expects to take delivery of their second AC75 in Auckland sometime during the fall of 2020.

American Magic’s focus over the coming weeks will be in three primary areas. First, the team will work to complete the New Zealand entry and quarantine process for team personnel and their families, which was made possible after the team received border exemptions from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) on June 12th. Second, the AC75, chase boat fleet and the team base will be assembled and activated in Auckland. Third, American Magic’s production team in Bristol will put the finishing touches on the second AC75, and prepare it for air transport from Rhode Island to New Zealand.

“I could not be prouder of how our 145-person team has handled this shipping process, and everything else the pandemic has thrown at us,” said Hutchinson. “Our shore and operations team pivoted incredibly well as events happened, and as the focus changed basically overnight from getting us to Europe to getting us to Auckland. Our production guys have been able to safely keep the ‘Boat 2’ build process going, and it looks incredible. And our design group has maintained a singular focus of developing an AC75 capable of winning the 36th America’s Cup. Now we just need to pass our remaining team members through quarantine, keep everyone healthy and safe, and get back to business on the water.”

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Back in the real (although unreal) world amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic it is an altogether different and fluid path ahead for all of the teams in their home countries in how they now approach the 36th America's Cup both philosophically and logistically with all of the changing variables day to day.

They have no more information on their relative performance other than what they already know via differing levels of early reconnaissance. Do they trust their initial instincts? Their current design knowledge and interpretations of the class rule? Or do they change their approach based on certain nuggets of information that contribute to an overall incomplete puzzle?

"If there is one thing that is guaranteed in the America's Cup- that is to expect the unexpected"

American Magic's Skipper Terry Hutchinson acknowledged recently, "We missed the opportunity to see where we are vulnerable," by not being able to race in Cagliari or Portsmouth "It's going to require us to lean that much harder on the design side of the program."

Terry HutchinsonAmerican Magic's Skipper Terry Hutchinson

The biggest question mark though is the progress on each of the teams highly anticipated second AC75's currently in production in their home countries. Build timelines that were well established long before COVID19 had made itself known to the world are near impossible to change without flow-on effects to the wider campaign. Some production continues, some has been halted. Do the teams complete the build at home, or get their new boats to Auckland to finish? Do they ship them or fly them direct to Auckland. And most importantly- how will they compare relative to each other when they eventually see the light of day.

If there is one thing that is guaranteed in the America's Cup- that is to expect the unexpected, and COVID-19 has certainly thrown the biggest cat amongst the pigeons the event has seen in a long long time.

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Page 2 of 9

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. 

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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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