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Ireland will be represented by two sailing teams in the 49er class at Hyères, France next week. The South of France venue is all set to host the Semaine Olympique Française, the fourth regatta on the ISAF Sailing World Cup series.

Both teams of Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern and Ed Butler and Ben Lynch will compete in the high performance double handed class. The aim is qualification for the London Olympics next year.

There will be no other Irish Olympic squad presence in Hyeres.

The ISAF Sailing World Cup has seen some excellent racing in the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Events at Sail Melbourne in December, US SAILING'S Rolex Miami OCR in January and the Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia MAPFRE at the start of April.

The world's most experienced sailor's preparations for next year's Olympic Sailing Competition are well underway and competition in this year's ISAF Sailing World Cup has been tense. The 2011 Semaine Olympique Française should be no exception.

Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) will be making the trip to France to sail in his third ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta this season. With victories in the Men's RS:X in Miami and Palma the Dutchman leads the Standings with 40 points.

His nearest rival, Nick Dempsey (GBR) on 37 points, won't be making the trip to Hyères but with World #1 Nimrod Mashich (ISR) and World #2 Piotr Myszka (POL) set to compete, van Rijsselberge will have his work cut out to maintain his perfect record so far.

Just like van Rijsselberge, Spain's Marina Alabau has a perfect record in the Women's RS:X. She won the Rolex Miami OCR and Princess Sofia to lead Charline Picon (FRA) by four points.

Alabau's rivals in the Standings will have a chance to overtake her throughout the week as she won't be sailing in Hyères. Despite Alabau's absence, the field boasts ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Blanca Manchon (ESP), World #2 Bryony Shaw (GBR) and current holder of third place in the Women's RS:X Standings Laura Linares (ITA).

At the Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia MAPFRE Paul Goodison (GBR), Nick Thompson (GBR) and Tom Slingsby (AUS) all went into the Laser Medal Race with a chance of victory. Goodison came out on top of the three in Palma and all will be sailing against each other again in Hyères.

Thompson and Goodison lead the Laser Standings on 38 points with Slingsby third on 37 points.

World #1 and current 49er ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings leaders Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch are one of the 65 crews set to compete in Hyéres. The Austrians won Sail Melbourne and came third in Palma.

Princess Sofia winners Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis (FRA) will also sail in their home regatta alongside Erik Storck and Trevor Moore (USA) and Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith (GBR).

Forty crews will sail the Star in Hyéres. Amongst the fleet will be the experienced Brazilian duo of Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, last year's Star ISAF Sailing World Cup silver medallists Andy Horton and James Lyne (USA) and World #3 Johannes Polgar and Markus Koy (GER).

The Women's Match Racing Competition has served up some excellent head to head sailing thus far with four points separating the top four in the Standings.

Sally Barkow (USA) leads with 38 points, Claire Leroy (FRA) and Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) are joint second on 37 points and Silja Lehtinen (FIN) is fourth on 34 points.

Of the top four only Tunnicliffe won't be making the trip to Hyères, and with World #2 Nicky Souter (AUS) and World #3 Lucy Macgregor (GBR) also set to attend the competition is wide open.

Published in Olympics 2012
Tagged under
Page 3 of 3

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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