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Displaying items by tag: Eleuthera

Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40 Signal 8 from Hong Kong may have found all the pieces were falling into place on this last outing at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta today as she took her first win of the series in IRC Zero but Frank Whelan’s Grand Soleil 44 from Greystones with Shane Hughes on the strength was never far off the pace, and took a useful second to have her first overall on 7 points to the 12 of Jay Colvillle’s First 40 Forty Licks (East Down YC), while Signal took third OA on 14.

Published in Volvo Regatta

IRC 0 Eleuthera is bringing it home for Greystones In celebration of the successful progress through this Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and others of Frank Whelan’s very fine Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera, maybe they should re-name his home port Brightstones for the style that’s in it, as it tells us much that his third place in Race 4 is now his discard, and Eleuthera is sitting on just 5 points to the 9 of Jay Colville’s First 40 Forty Licks from Strangford Lough and the 11 of Scots visitor Jonathan Anderson with his J/122 El Gran Senor.

Class Zero VDLR 3528Jump, Eletheura and Forty Licks negotiate The Muglins Rock

It seems that a certain familiarity with the East Coast of Ireland stood well for the leaders – distinguished visitors from Cork and northwest England weren’t on the pace today.

GP14 McGuinness 3492Jay Colwell's First 40, Forty Licks

Gran Senor 3546Jonathan Anderson's J/122 El Gran Senor

Signal 8 Dalkey 4527Jamie McWilliam's Signal 8, a Ker 40

Jump 4735Conor Phelan's Ker 37, Jump Juice

Published in Volvo Regatta

Frank Whelan’s Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera from Greystones is making hay among the biggies in the second day of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, helped no doubt by the presence on board of sailmaker Shane Hughes, and they had 2,1,2 today with a Twelfth of July celebrating northerner, Jay Colvillle with the First 40 Forty Licks (East Down YC), enjoying the stronger breeze to log 3,2, 1 while Jamie McWilliam stayed in third overall in Signal 8 from Hong Kong, but with a descending scoreline of 1,4,6 – the latter now becoming his first discard.

Forty Licks First 40 2497Jay Colville's First 40, Forty Licks is second overall

Signal 8 1500Jamie McWilliam stays in third overall in Signal 8 from Hong Kong

El Gran Senor 2531El Gran Senor deals with gusty north westerlies on Dublin Bay

Published in Volvo Regatta

Early 2018 season success in ISORA racing revealed the potency of the new Greystones Harbour Cruiser, Eleuthera. In its former life, this Grand Soleil 44 had a strong pedigree and skipper Frank Whelan and his young 11–man crew set about capitalising on this with straight wins on the Dublin Regatta circuit. But the County Wicklow crew knew that July's Cork Week and the biggest Cruiser One gathering of the season would be a tougher nut to crack. Here, Whelan describes how his high–handicap entry conquered Crosshaven last week.

Day three of Cork Week was our low point. Monday and Tuesday we had sailed well, but each had a mid-race reset due to loss of breeze, and then a building breeze at the end resulted in not being able to dig out the time gap we needed as a high–handicap boat. Wednesday, we again sailed well in a steady breeze and had the race in the bag coming onto the last leg, a long beat to the finish, which usually is a strong point for us. We did not execute that beat well and ended up down the rankings. We were lying sixth overall from nine. 

"The team is a mad mix of ages (17 to over 60) and experience (3 years to over 40)"

We have a briefing on board Eleuthera before and after each race. And we were all thinking that our efforts to date had well repaid us for the work put in. Even those four weekends of training in the freezing howling winds of November had shown through in our racing to date, and one lousy leg doesn’t change that mindset. So the briefing coming out for the Thursday morning was focused on the fact that we hadn’t even reached the mid-point of the regatta, there were 3 races down, and 5 or 6 races to go. It was comfortable, we just had to win all of them. That might sound like a tall order, but at least it was in our hands, and we had some experience of doing it before, the last 3 regatta’s in Dun Laoghaire were 2 race affairs and we had a bullet in all 6, albeit that there was greater competition in Cork Week. The team is a mad mix of ages (17 to over 60) and experience (3 years to over 40), with almost all locals from Greystones, and despite the differences, we really gel together both on the water and in the festivities after.

eleuthera Grand soleilEleuthera's core crew are Frank Whelan (skipper), Barnwell, Gary Hick, Conor Clery, Kevin O'Rourke, Killian Fitzgerald, Andrew Smith, Matt Sherlock, Gavin Laverty and Shane Hughes (North Sails Ireland) Photo: Bob Bateman

So, Thursday morning briefing was all about short race tactics, there were to be 3 that day, so clean starts is the primary goal, try to get out fast and in the right direction, then cover the fleet if you get into position to do so. There ended up only two races that day but we achieved the goal, two bullets. Friday morning strangely was exciting, but no apprehension, we were all just delighted to be back in contention, we were lying third overall. The same drill for the day and the reality of it was that we didn’t make any serious mistakes, three bullets.

"...but in truth, it is the craic we have as 12 disparate individuals who work together as a team..."

It kind of took a while for the win to even register, but it really is the result of a lot of things. Shane Hughes of North Sails Ireland has been training us since last November, and he is an uncompromising taskmaster, but we wouldn’t have achieved half of what we did without him! Paddy Barnwell’s attention to detail and management of boat prep and crew has been an eye-opener for me. Every member of the team gets out there and works on the hull sanding and polishing and general maintenance requirements, but in truth, it is the craic we have as 12 disparate individuals who work together as a team, slag and support each other in almost equal measure, and just enjoy it.

Frank Whelan Cork week prizegivingFrank Whelan (left) receives his Cork Week Class One Trophy from David Thomas of Volvo Photo: David Keane

If we hadn’t won it wouldn’t be quite as enjoyable, but it wouldn’t have been far off, we like sailing together.

Eleuthera's Cork Week Winning Crew

Skipper\Helm Frank Whelan

Nav\Main Paddy Barnwell

Tactics Daragh O’Sullivan

Main Andy Verso

Trim 1 Shane Hughes

Trim 2 Kevin O’Rourke

Pit 1 Gary Hick

Pit 2  Killian Fitzgerald

Mast 1  Conor Cleary

Mast 2 Matt Sherlock

Bow 1 Gavin Laverty

Bow 2 Andy Smith \ Brian Hare

Published in Cork Week
Tagged under

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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