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#dbsc – Over 100 Fireballs have gathered at Bracciano, just NW of Rome to contest the 2012 Europeans. In addition to the traditionally strong British presence there are Italians, Czechs, French, Swiss, Slovenians, Canadians (3), a solitary Namibian and of course 9 Irish boats writes Cormac Bradley.

After a very early flight out of Dublin (6:15) which necessitated a 3am rise, we were greeted with glorious sunshine, good breeze and warm water when we arrived at the venue!

Today has been dedicated to registration and measuring but there has also been some casual sailing done.

Kenny and Alistair Rumball seem to have had a trouble free trip in getting our boats here and their 9-boat trailer has been the subject of much interest. The three boats trailers used by some of the UK travellers pale by comparison.

It is good to meet up with old friends whom we haven't seen for a year or more.

And yet for those of us who knew him well it is odd not to have seen Johan Devocht (RIP), the Belgian IJ who had almost become synonymous with international Fireball events. Sadly he passed away in early July.

Tomorrow will see more registration and an opening ceremony at 19:00.

From a sunny Bracciano...

Published in Fireball
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#fireball – The 2012 Fireball National Champions are Noel Butler and Stephen Oram from Dun Laoire Motor Yacht Club. The pair sailed an excellent series to claim the title ahead of Simon McGrotty & Darrach Dineen (Skerries SC) and Kenny Rumball/David Moran (Irish National SS) reports Gareth Craig. Photos below by Gareth Craig.

The Irish Fireball Nationals, sailed this past Friday, Saturday, Sunday were certainly not short-changed in terms of available wind. Friday saw heavy conditions for the three races of the day with the fleet being taken off the water between races 1 and 2. Saturday saw a tired fleet come ashore after four races in challenging conditions but by Sunday the breeze had eased to produce what were described as “champagne conditions” for the last day.

Friday' results were a key element to the overall situation and being able to finish all three races was a significant building block in getting to a podium finish. Simon McGrotty & Darragh Dineen produced the best performance of the day to take two race wins, either side of a race win by Noel Butler and Stephen Oram. This left the Skerries combination with a 1pt lead on the Friday evening over Butler/Oram. Third place overall saw Ed Butler (Jnr) teamed up with recently selected Irish 470 Olympian crew, Scott Flannagan, three points adrift of 2nd place.

Saturday saw four races sailed and Butler/Oram put together a solid performance relative to their close rivals to effectively tie up the regatta with a day to spare. Counting a 2, 1, 3, 1 suite of finishes they opened up a huge gap on their rivals, most of whom carried at least one bad result on the day. The next best result for the day was that of Kenneth Rumball and David Moran who put together a 4, 3, 1 5 followed by Neil Spain and Francis Rowan who scored a 3, 4, 4, 10. However, in terms of total points this left them 20 points adrift of the leaders.

With the first discard coming into play on Saturday evening, the actual situation was as follows;

Irish Fireball Nationals (Sat evening)

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

R7

Tot

1

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

3

1

2

2

1

3

1

10pts

2

Kenneth Rumball & David Moran

21

5

3

4

3

1

5

21pts

3

Neil Spain & Francis Rowan

4

4

4

3

4

4

10

23pts

 

Wind conditions eased for Sunday's proceedings and the final three races of the series were completed. Butler & Oram sailed the last day even though they effectively had the regatta sewn up.

McGrotty/Dineen came back from a dreadful Saturday (2 x 21pts) to post a 1, 4. Rumball/Moran scored a 4, 2 while Spain/Rowan's regatta came unstuck with a 21 in the last race, which undid all the good work of a 3rd in Race 8. Butler/Oram had a 9 and another first to close out the event with some authority. The nine was to become one of their discards, the other being a third.

Irish Fireball Nationals; Final Overall

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

R7

R8

R9

Tot

1

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

3

1

2

2

1

3

1

9

1

11pts

2

Simon McGrotty & Darragh Dineen

1

3

1

21

21

5

4

1

4

19pts

3

Kenneth Rumball & David Moran

21

5

3

4

3

1

5

4

2

22pts

4

Neil Spain & Francis Rowan

4

4

4

3

4

4

10

3

21

26pts

5

Ed Butler (Jnr) & Scott Flannagan

2

2

5

1

21

6

21

5

6

27pts

 

The Silver fleet was won by Dave Coleman and Glen Fisher in 17th, followed by Mary Chambers and Brenda McGuire. The ladies applied discretion rather than valour to Friday's racing but finished all the remaining races of the weekend. Dave and Glen had a difficult day on Saturday but had other results just off the top tem. The Classic Trophy was not awarded.

Noel Butler offered the following additional oversight of the regatta;

Quite a few combinations flirted with the front end of the fleet and led races at different times. Frank Miller and Grattan Donnelly sailed a very consistent Friday to lie in 5th overall and their "counted" results showed a consistency that saw them finish in 8th overall. Michael Ennis and Marie Barry also led a race, lost the lead and regained it. Niall McGrotty & Neil Creamer, scored a 2nd to Butler/Oram in Race 7 and Noel admitted they only just caught the former combination in time. In some of the heavier conditions Michael Murphy and Alex Voye got their chance at the front and they secured two 2nd places in their set of results. In Race 8 an OCS was signalled and Butler/Oram and Butler/Flannagan went back. It afforded the former combination an opportunity to see how an Olympic-qualified crew works the boat around the course. Butler/Flannagan eventually got back to 5th in this particular race. From a rare trip through the fleet, as a consequence of going back at the start, Noel also confirmed that there was competition all around the course with individual battles going on right through the fleet.

The testing conditions over the three days put a premium on keeping boats together and among the casualties of the regatta were Luke Malcolm who suffered an exploding rudder stock and Louis Smyth who broke a jib halyard. Butler/Oram suffered no such trauma and were lending equipment to other competitors to keep them on the water. Meticulous maintenance does have its place in Fireball racing!

Race management by Harry Gallagher and Scorie Walls was of a very high standard, as their reputation dictates! Races were started promptly after the last finisher of the previous race and while the fleet was brought ashore on Friday for a period, when the wind eased they were sent back out again to race. All starts were under Blue Peter conditions and the start lines were set up with a laser-spotter for accuracy of length and at the request of the Class, a variable weather mark was used. This is a set up that was encountered at the European Championships in the Czech Republic in 2010. A second weather mark is available to the RO if the wind changes so that a true beat can be set for each windward leg. The RO has the independence to reset the weather mark without having to wait for the last boat to go around the old weather mark before it can be lifted. The irony of this weekend is that the breeze was reasonably steady so the benefit of this mechanism was not as significant as might be the case.

While the turnout of only 20 boats is of concern, there were some mitigating circumstances. Barry Hurley, who has been crewing with Andy Boyle, was racing double-handed around Rockall as part of Galway's festivities for the Volvo Ocean race. Andy Boyle himself was racing in the Round Ireland Race which had started the previous weekend and Brian Flahive was also in double-handed mode, finishing 2nd in the Round Ireland.

Howth have been very anxious to host another Fireball event after the very successful hosting of our Leinsters in 2010. They have excellent facilities and easy access to a very clean racing area, free of any significant commercial traffic.

 

 

Published in Fireball
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#fireball – Recent father Francis Rowan returned to the folds of the Irish Fireball fleet this past weekend, teaming up with Neil Spain to win the 2012 Irish Fireball Ulster Championships, hosted by East Down Yacht Club writes Cormac Bradley. While their winning margin of five points was comfortable by Sunday afternoon, relative to the one-point margin by which they led on Saturday night, the reality was that this regatta was very much a case of snakes and ladders, for everyone, and a watching brief had to be kept on Messrs Butler & Oram and Butler & Kinsella who were one and two points adrift on Saturday night respectively.

Sunday's two races were trying affairs with a wide range of interpretations on how to sail the beats. The problem we faced was that the forecast for the Irish Sea didn't manifest itself on the coastal waters of Strangford Lough. While Met Eireann was suggesting easterlies of F2 – 4 for Sunday morning, the micro-climate within the SW corner of Strangford was providing light and variable winds flicking from WNW to NNW, meaning we were sailing towards a windward shore. On both races the fleet was split, almost evenly between those going right and those going left. Some even tried the middle and saw lots of boats ahead of them at the weather mark as a consequence. Sailing the Olympic configuration, the beats were very challenging, the reaches became tighter that they were ever meant to be and Fireballs sailed down the second reach on opposing gybes to take "perceived advantage" of win and tide.

fireballgoldfleet

Francis Rowan (left) and Neil Spain were winners of the Fireball Ulster Championships at the weekend

Spain/Rowan took Race 5 on Sunday morning with Butler/Oram doing yet another "Houdini act" to finish second. One of the features of their performance this weekend has been their consistent ability to get out of poor positions on the first beat to finish inside the top 3. Rumball/Moran were third, allowing them to leapfrog Ed Butler & Connor Kinsella into third overall, the latter combination finishing fourth.

Thus Spain/Rowan had a two-point cushion in first place. A long period of time elapsed before race Officer Roy Edwards was able to get the final start underway. The wind had gone light again and flicked left and right by 10 - 15º. Yet again the fleet was undecided as to which way to go, left, right or middle! It seemed left paid, but the first reach was very tight and the leading boats struggled to get to the gybe mark with spinnakers. The leading bunch was populated by Niall McGrotty & Neil Creamer, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, Simon McGrotty & Ruairi Grimes, Spain/Rowan, Michael Ennis & Marie Barry, Connor & James Clancy and a little off the pace, Messrs Butler and Oram. The downwind leg of the sausage started off as a tight reach and became the run it was supposed to be further down the leg. The subsequent beat was a "one-tack" strategy and the first beat of the second triangle was a very tight two sail fetch. By which time Messrs McGrotty & Creamer had gained an enormous lead (given the conditions). In second place were Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, Spain/Rowan had the comfort of third place with Butler/Oram down in 6th. Rumball/Moran who had tried to work the middle on the first beat, and paid heavily for the effort, worked their way up to 11th, ultimately their discard, but enough to give them third overall.

Saturday's racing had consisted of four races – two trapezoids and two Olympics. Due to the wind direction the course was set in the area between East Down Yacht Club and Killyleagh, with the weather mark (No.1) in open water, but the outside loop of the trapezoid parallel to the shore.

The first race was a Team Skerries, father and son benefit as Niall McGrotty and Simon McGrotty, with their respective crews of Neil Creamer & Ruairi Grimes taking first and second. Rumball & Moran finished third. Race 2 saw a new combination, Ed Butler (Jnr) and Connor Kinsella take the race win from Neil Colin and Margaret Casey, with Butler/Oram in third.

Races 3 & 4 went the way of Spain/Rowan with Butler/Oram scoring a 2, 3, Rumball & Moran a 3, 5 and Butler/Kinsella a DNF, 4. This left the pecking order as Spain/Rowan, Butler/Oram, Butler/Kinsella, Rumball/Moran, McGrotty/Creamer and McGrotty/Grimes. A point separated 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, with 2 points separating 4 to 5th and 6th with the McGrottys tied on 12 points.

A requirement to pass through the start/finish line on the upwind legs of the Olympic courses caught out quite a few people this weekend and there was a liberal sprinkling of DNFs on the final results sheet. Due to the vagaries of the wind, some people also had unusually large numbers on their score cards – Spain/Rowan discarded an 11th, Rumball & Moran the same, Colin/Casey got rid of a DNF, but counted a 15, Michael Murphy & Alex Voye shed a 17, Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keefe a 18, Louis Smyth & Cormac Bradley a 17, while Owen Laverty & Ed Butler shed one DNF but carried another.

Aside from the overall and race winners, there were some other combinations who gave a good account of themselves, Connor and James Clancy finished 7th overall with all their results inside the top ten. Gavin Doyle and Richard Franck had four top ten finishes on their way to 9th overall. And newcomers (of a sort), Ed Butler and Connor Kinsella finished 6th with a race win, three 4ths and a 13th.

The Silver Fleet was a home affair with John Orr and Karen Caughey from EDYC winning from Brian O'Neil & Don Howes, with Mary Chambers and Brenda McGuire of Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club in third. Orr and Caughey also won the Classics prize.

The venue was shared with the Wayfarers who were sailing their National Championships, a repeat of the arrangement on our first visit to EDYC in 2010. East Down was hospitality personified! The welcome was warm and genuine. They provided a self-serve buffet of packed sandwiches, fruit, chocolate bars and a variety of cold drinks to allow competitors to put their own lunch together. On the Saturday night there was a BBQ and live band, with the evening a social event for members and competitors alike. On the Sunday, soup and rolls were available in advance of the prize-giving.

Gordon Jess, of Wayfarer fame and persuasion, was responsible for the organising of the event from a club perspective (as well as being a competitor) and he and his team are to be congratulated on a great weekend. Race Officer Roy Edwards had his work cut out for him with the elements, but he manfully stuck to his task to get six races in.

Irish Fireball Ulster Championships; East Down Yacht Club

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

Nett

1

Neil Spain & Francis Rowan

National Yacht Club

IRL 14996

5

11

1

1

1

3

11

2

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club

IRL 15061

7

3

2

3

2

6

16

3

Kenneth Rumball & Dave Moran

Irish National Sailing Club

IRL 15058

3

4

3

5

3

11

18

Silver Fleet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17

John Orr & Karen Caughey

East Down Yacht Club

IRL 14546

13

18

14

13

15

14

69

18

Brian O’Neill & Don Howes

East Down Yacht Club

IRL 14595

16

17

16

18

DNF

10

77

19

Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire

Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club

IRL 14865

15

16

18

20

DNF

DNF

90

 

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#regattas – After a week of rain and gales there was a full programme of yachting round the coast at the weekend with one of the biggest fleets racing for RAYC Bloomsday regatta honours at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. From the same club the clinker Waterwags celebrated 125 years of racing on Dublin Bay with a 20–boat fleet and a Victorian high tea yesterday afternoon. There were celebrations too further up the east coast for K. Halliwell's 'She of the North' who won the fiftieth round Ailsa Craig race from the Royal Ulster Yacht Club.

Antrim sailor Chris Penney won the Laser Leinsters at Howth and in a possible sign of good things to come ISAF Youth Rep Finn Lynch of the National YC won the radial division. The Ruffian 23s raced for national honours on Dublin Bay and 20 Fireballs turned up to race for Ulster honours at East Down Yacht Club.

In Cowes, Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary, who finished second last weekend in the 1720 Nationals on home waters, was second overall again yesterday in IRC one class at a windy British National Cruiser Championships. Great onboard action video from Cowes here.

And finally, if you are on the south coast this week and see a small half decked Mermaid dinghy take the time to say hello. She is currently in Crookhaven, West Cork heading east so expect to see her in Cork harbour this week or next! The clinker built Thumbalina is cruising round the coast from Foynes on the Shannon Estuary to Skerries in North Dublin as part of the eightieth celebrations of the traditional Dublin Bay class.

Published in Racing

#fireball – Despite forecasts of much heavier winds in y'days Sea Area forecast of 6pm the Fireball Ulsters had to wait until the 4th race of the day to use trapezes in anger writes Cormac Bradley. 2 trapezoids (R1 and 2) and 2 Olympic races were sailed. We had 3 different race winners in Niall Mc Grotty and Neil Creaner, Ed Butler (Jnr) and Conor Kinsella, and Neil Spain and Francis Rowan (R3 and 4).

This gives Spain/Rowan the overall lead after Day 1 but only by a 1pt margin over Noel Butler and Stephen Oram. They together with Kenny Rumball and Dave Moran proved to be the most consistent over the four races scoring 7, 3, 2, 3 and 3, 4, 3, 5, respectively. Thus the top 4 boats are separated by a pont between each place with 5th and 6th tied on 12 points and 2 off 4th place overall. Niall and Simon McGrotty dominated R1 with Niall 1st and Simon 2nd. In thid place are Butler/Kinsella who scored a 4, 1, 4 but also had a DNF.

Almost everyone is carrying one bad result. Colin/Casey scored a 15, Smyth/Bradley a 17, Mike Murphy/Alex Voye a 17 and Laverty/Butler a DNF.

Conditions were light with grey skies but breeze came in as the afternoon wore on. There are 20 Fireballs here at EDYC and no doubt there will be many a post mortem over the BBQ this evening.

1 N Spain and Francis Rowan 7pts

2 N. Butler and Stephen Butler 8pts

3 Ed Butler and Conor Kinsella 9pts

4 Kenny Butler and Dave Moran 10pts

5 Niall McGrotty and Neil Creamer 12pts

6 Simon McGrotty and Ruairi Grimes 12pts

Leading Silver Fleet boat is Michael Ennis and Marie Barry in 13th overall from a 20-boat entry.

Published in Fireball
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#FIREBALL– Nineteen Fireballs made the trip to Killaloe for the season opening Munster Championships of the 2012 Irish Fireball regatta season. As one of the few locations outside the greater Dublin area to have a resident Fireball fleet, the venue has been a permanent fixture on the Fireball circuit for quite some time. In addition to their easy access to the racing area, the host Fireballers always make their visitors very welcome and the attraction of the area with its scenery and the immediacy of Killaloe and its eating and drinking locations normally means there is a good turn-out.

This year, in an effort to promote the older Fireballs, the Munsters were chosen to host a Classic Fireball Regatta. In the rules for the event, a Classic was deemed to be a boat with a sail number lower than 14600. Four of these appeared with Neil Colin & Margaret Casey foregoing their Winder to add to the numbers.

On Saturday, four races were sailed in dull misty conditions with winds around the 8 – 10kts range. It had started slightly breezier but dropped off as the day wore on. This introduced some significant shifts.

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram dominated Day 1 winning the first three races while behind them the other podium places were being shared out between Barry McCartin & Finbar Bradley, Neil Spain & Hugh Butler, Louis Smyth & Joe O'Reilly and Niall McGrotty & Neil Kramer. McCartin/Bradley took the fourth win of the day, followed home by Spain/Butler with Andy Boyle & Barry Hurley pushing Butler/Oram into an uncharacteristic 4th.

Thus after a four race programme, the overnight situation was as follows;

1st Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 3pts

2nd Barry McCartin & Finbarr Bradley 6pts

3rd Neil Spain & Hugh Butler 8pts

In the Classic Challenge, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey were comfortably ahead of Jim Ryan & David Tanner, while Cariosa Power and Marie Barry were in control of the Silver fleet.

On Day 2, the wind had eased off again with marginal trapezing being the order of the day. McCartin/Bradley continued where they had left off the evening before by taking Race 5, followed by Colin/Casey and Spain/Butler. Regatta leaders Butler/Oram slumped to a seventh, most unusual territory for them in an Irish context! However, in Race 6, order was restored when Butler/Oram won comfortably from McCartin/Bradley, Spain/Butler, McGrotty/Kramer & Laverty/Butler. This left a finishing order of;

1st Noel Butler Stephen Oram 15061 Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club 8pts

2nd Barry McCartin Finbar Bradley 14820 University College Dublin SC 9pts

3rd Neil Spain Hugh Butler 150** Howth Yacht Club 14pts

4th Niall McGrotty Neil Kramer 14938 Skerries Sailing Club 23pts

5th Louis Smyth Joe O'Reilly 15007 Coal Harbour 26pts

Classic Neil Colin Margaret Casey 14330 Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club 40pts

Silver Cariosa Power Marie Barry 14854 Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club 51pts

Class Chairman Neil Colin, in his report to this correspondent advised that the event was a great success and was run very well. In particular, he noted that Race Officer, Geoff O'Donoghue, from neighbouring club, Lough Derg Yacht Club, ran an exceptional regatta with races started promptly and all under the regime of the "Blue Peter".

Three boats from Killaloe contested the regatta while the event also saw Michael Murphy from Waterford contest the event with his UL-based crew Alex Voye make their seasonal debut.

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#FIREBALL – On the opening day of the Irish Fireball season, Noel Butler & Stephen Oram set the pace, bagging three race wins from four races and effectively continuing where they finished off in the Frostbite season writes Cormac Bradley.

19 Fireballs have made the trip to Killaloe for the Munster Championships and the Classic Fireball Championship. Sailing in dull misty conditions the day started in winds of about 15 knots which gradually dropped to 8-10 knots with big shifts.

In overall terms the 1-2-3 is as follows;

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 3pts

Barry McCartin & Finbarr Bradley 6pts

Neil Spain & Hugh Butler 8pts

In the Classic challenge, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey are fighting it out with Ciaran Harken. Colin/Casey have forgone their usual steed, 14775, in favour of 14330 in order to show his commitment to the cause of the promoting the older boats.

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#DBSC – Light air dinghy skills were a pre-requisite to success on Dublin Bay tonight where the biggest waves were those from the wake of a passing lifeboat. Neil Colin was top in the Fireball class (read Cormac Bradley's observations below). Pierre Long's Dart was at the top of the IDRA 14 fleet. Full Dublin Bay Sailing Club results for 8 May are below:

FIREBALL - 1. Elevation (N.Colin/M.Casey), 2. Blind Squirrel (Frank Miller), 3. Winder (E.Butler/O.Laverty)

IDRA 14 FOOT - 1. Dart (Pierre Long), 2. Dunmoanin (Frank Hamilton), 3. Squalls (Stephen Harrison)

PY CLASS - 1. Gary O'Hare (Laser), 2. C Arrowsmith (Laser), 3. Hugh Sheehy (OK Dinghy)

And the first shall be last ........and the last......shall be first!

Tuesday night DBSC racing is always a time challenge – to get away from the office in time to get down to the Club, get changed and rigged and then to sail out to the start area. Invariably the challenge is worth it, if only to get the chance to get out on the water writes Cormac Bradley.

Tonight, the challenge was magnified when the wind that XC Weather had forecast for this evening didn't materialize. A suggestion of 7kts gusting to 10kts going from NE to N simply didn't happen – the wind was very light and was more easterly that anything else. Competitors and race management alike (Flying Fifteens) had challenges galore.

With an ebbing tide would it pay to go out to sea – DEFINITELY NOT! Would the slight breeze stay long enough to get a race in – ONLY JUST – thanks to a shortened course and even then some of us were too far behind to stay within the time limit for finishers.

Six Fireballs started within a reasonable time period of the start signal and one Fireball was very late. Of those who were in the start area at the start signal, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey were easily the last to arrive. Everyone else was already there, Frank & Grattan, pin-end on port, Glen & Dave, Mary & Brenda, Owen & Conor, and Louis & Cormac, the last combination having arrived in the start area in good time relative to their scheduled start.

A slow departure from the start line prompted the idea of going out to sea for this last combination. After all, the tide was going out and there was nothing to specifically suggest that there was less wind there than anywhere else on the course. A fatal mistake that saw the remainder of the fleet sail off over the horizon, never to be seen again!

Neil and Margaret sailed quietly into 2nd place behind Frank & Grattan, followed, I think by Owen/Conor, Brenda/Mary and Dave/Glen. The 2nd beat of the windward/leeward course saw the fleet head to shore to various degrees and Neil & Margaret sailed serenely into a huge lead. The masters of light airs had struck again.

Thereafter, the pecking order was – I think – Frank & Grattan, Brenda & Mary and Owen & Conor. Louis & Cormac? So far behind they were timed out!

And the first shall be last and the last shall be first!

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#SAILING NEWS Stormy weather continues to frustrate early season sailing schedules. Wind and waves that produced spectacular trawler photos off Howth last week abated sufficiently to get Saturday morning's first ISORA race away and on Dublin Bay the second race of the Saturday afternoon series took place in excellent surfing conditions.

The strong winds have returned this morning though leaving anyone planning a trip across the Irish sea, be they coastal rowers, tall ships or dinghy experts, with a reminder about how rough things can get. From San Francisco, a survivor of the yachting tragedy there has spoken out about the need for tethering.

Yesterday afternoon the first race of the revised SB3 season on Dublin Bay was scrubbed and in other small craft news the Fireball class held its annual training clinic. Royal Cork Optimists are heading for Waterford in a strong position. A Portrush man is heading to Spain to defend his kayaking title and in rowing news Monika Dukarska came out on top after a battle with Afloat's Rower of the Year Holly Nixon.

And is adventure sailing a new tack for declining dinghy numbers?

All this and lots more on Afloat's home page this morning!

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Page 29 of 37

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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