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Mark Mansfield, tactician on The Big Picture, fourth overall at August's Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classic Cup 2017, reviews progress in the Class and the Kinsale Yacht Club event.

Having done the last two versions of this event I feel I have a decent level of knowledge to comment on the racing and the classes progression. Firstly well done to the organisers for staging a great event at Kinsale Yacht Club and well done to the Principal Race Officer Anthony O'Leary for running it so well. Finally, well done to Phil Plumtree and the Swuzzlebubble team for winning the regatta with a race to spare. This is the third win for Swuzzlebubble in three events, each with a different owner. More about this later.

The Big picture MansfieldMike and Richie Evans's The Big Picture, from Howth Yacht Club was fourth overall. Tactician and article author Mark Mansfield is wearing the white cap Photo: Bob Bateman

Day One—Nigel Biggs' new Checkmate XV111 just led from Paul Pullen's Miss Whiplash on countback. Swuzzlebubble lay one point back and Mike and Richie Evans,The Big Picture, lay a further point behind. David Cullen's Checkmate XV was a few points further back and it seemed likely that these five boats would be the feature boats in the event. All had professional sailors aboard and one of these boats had three professional sailors. Swuzzlebubble had an eighth place on this day which she would eventually discard but it was clear that she would be the one to watch as she was the top rating boat by some margin and was using that extra speed to get out in front allowing her to sail her own race.

Halfton classic cup 17 5267Phil Plumtree's Swuzzlebubble had an eighth place on day one but it was clear that she would be the one to watch as she was the top rating boat by some margin Photo: Bob Bateman

Day Two—Strong Southerly winds were forecasted for the following few days and so the organisers took the decision to delay the coastal race until later in the week and use day two to get in as many short WL races as possible. In the end four good races were sailed in moderate to fresh testing conditions. Swuzzlebubble counted two wins and two second places to shoot into a large lead over David Cullen's Checkmate who also scored two firsts. One point back was Checkmate XVIII and The Big Picture lay in fourth, a few points back. Big loser of the Day was Paul Pullen's Miss Whiplash who had four very average results and fell out of the running. It was now clear that the first four boats (Swuzzlebubble, Checkmate XV, Checkmate XVIII and the Big Picture) were pulling well clear of the pack and the winner would be from this group. Occasionally, other boats such as Paul Wayte's beautiful newly optimised Headhunter, Johnny Swan's Harmony and Philippe Pilatte's General Tapioca would come to the fore, but it was the first four that generally filled the top three results in each race and were pulling well clear.

Halfton classic cup 17 5359Paul Pullen's Miss Whiplash had four very average results on day two and fell out of the running Photo: Bob Bateman

Day Three—Wednesday was postponed due to excess wind and many enjoyed a long lunch in Kinsale's Fishy Fishy restaurant accompanied by some very nice wines.

Day Four—Strong Southerly winds greeted the competitors and three races were planned including the none–discard coastal race. Swuzzlebubble took a first and a second in the earlier Windward Leeward races to extend her lead and the two closest followers, the two Checkmates each counted a poorish race to allow Swuzzlebubble be on the cusp of winning the regatta outright if she had a decent last coastal race. The Big Picture had consistent top results to lie in fourth. The final race of the day, the coastal race, ended in Swuzzlebubble taking a fifth, though a relatively poor result for her, it was enough to ensure Swuzzlebubble could not now be caught and did not need to sail the final race on the Friday.  1.5 points now separated the Two Checkmates with Dave Cullen in the marginal lead. Big Picture finished the Coastal race in second place and lay in fourth overall and could neither fall to fifth in the last race on Friday, nor get up to third. There was then a large points gap to General Tapioca and Headhunter.

Halfton classic cup 17 5274Only 1.5 points separated the two Checkmates with Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV (below) in the marginal lead. Photos Bob BatemanHalfton classic cup 17 5274

A successful Class dinner was held in Actons Hotel on Thursday night which went on late into the night, for some.

Day Five—Swuzzlebubble decided not to sail on the Friday. First and fourth places were already finalised (Swuzzlebubble and The Big Picture). Nigel Biggs needed to finish ahead of Dave Cullen and have a boat between them to finish in second overall. 17 to 20 knots greeted the fleet and PRO O'Leary signalled an around the buoys race consisting of two rounds and a finish off Charles Fort in Kinsale. Nigel Biggs got the best of the start and was ahead most of the race. However, Dave Cullen was in a bunch close behind that included the Big Picture. By the last mark Nigel Biggs rounded in the lead, followed by three other boats flowed by Big Picture with Checkmate XV behind her. Big Picture pulled through to second and Checkmate XV to third across the line. Big Picture with her lower handicap had a chance to snatch the win and deny Checkmate XVIII second overall but fell short by nine seconds and so the race finished with Checkmate XVIII winning followed by The Big Picture, followed by Checkmate XV, thus giving second overall to Nigel Biggs and Third overall to David Cullen. Fourth overall went to the Big Picture, fifth to General Tapioca and sixth to Miss Whiplash.

Halfton classic cup 17 5211Half Ton racing is excellent, very close. The camaraderie within the class is also very strong

Progression of the class – Three newly optimised boats were among the 21 entries this year. The larger fleets of Half–Tonners are based in France, the UK and Belgium and if the event were in one of these locations it is likely entries would be closer to 30. During the regatta an agm was held to discuss some important points that appear to be affecting the class. These were;

1 Should the class limit the number of professionals on each boat
2 Should the class, like they do in the Quarter ton Class, put an upper handicap limit on yachts taking part.
3 Should the class allow asymmetrical spinnakers.

1—Limiting professionals. A poll of Half Ton members will likely be done to either limit the professionals on each boat to either one or Two. It was felt generally that professionals help to coach the crew and generally are good for the class, but too many and the professionals can effectively sail the boat themselves, thus little improvement happens when the pros depart.

2—Limiting the upper Handicap limit. Swuzzlebubble has been a problem child in this class since Peter Morton did a no–expenses spared restoration of this very long half tonner. This included a taller, ultra high Modulus Carbon Rig with more sail, a deeper keel and other top mods. This led to her being approx. 25–points higher rating than most. Consequently she can go for a conservative start, sail for a few minutes and then her speed allows her to cross the fleet and sail the remainder of the race without other interference. The remainder of the fleet are close on rating and end up very close to each other at all marks, taking wind on downwinds, etc. This is costing the bulk of the fleet a minute or more per race, and often that is about the margin that Swuzzlebubble wins by. She is being well sailed, but she has a great advantage. In the Quarter ton class they stopped this issue early and now most quarter tonners are within 10 points of rating of each other. It is being suggested that an upper limit of .965 be introduced. Swuzzlebubble would be able to get to this by reducing sail area and adding some weight which would lessen the advantage she currently enjoys, especially in light to medium conditions. A proposed poll of the class is being organised on this.

3—Allowing Asymmetric sails. This appeared not to be so straight forward. Some owners already have them (but can't use them at the Half Ton Cup). Allowing them might mean owners have to buy one or two asymmetric kites, perhaps add a sprit and in the end may not even use them at a Half Ton cup. Others would prefer to stay without them as most of the racing is windward leeward anyway. This will also be balloted.

Summary – Having sailed four Quarter Ton Cups and now two Half Ton cups, The Half Ton class is now easily as competitive as the quarter tonners. The racing is excellent, very close. The camaraderie within the class is very strong. I can see more restorations being done in this class and numbers rising for their Half Ton Cups. Next years event will be in Nieuwpoort in Belgium in mid–August and I suspect that there may be up to 30–boats will arrive for that. The inaugural IRC World Championships is being held just up the road in The Hague in Holland a month before the Half Ton worlds so there are many half–tonners considering doing that as well as a warm up event. The boats are of a size that they can, if required, be transported by water, though most will trail behind jeeps.

Mark Mansfield is a four–time Irish Olympian, a helmsman in the Star Class from 1992–2004. He is a World Sailing 'Group 3' Sailor.

Published in Half Tonners

With the overall regatta decided on the penultimate day, the Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup was presented to Phil Plumtree and the crew of Swuzzlebubble at Kinsale Yacht Club, Ireland on Friday night.

A single ‘round the cans’ final race earlier in the day also delivered a full eleven race programme despite losing a day to strong winds.

Swuzzlebubble’s series ended on Thursday after ten races of mostly first and second places confirmed their pre-event favourite status and this year’s win is the third victory in the 40-year old boat’s modern record adding to previous wins with Peter Morton and Greg Peck.

The battle for second place went down to the wire and the outcome of the eleventh race which was won by Nigel Biggs on Checkmate XVIII and he succeeded in beating David Cullen on Checkmate XV by a half point margin to take the first runner-up place.

The Half Ton True Spirit trophy, the other major award for the week was presented to Paul Wayte and the crew of Headhunter in recognition of their camaraderie within the fleet both afloat and ashore but especially for their sportsmanship. Wayte loaned a spare mast to Superhero after their own rig was badly damaged en route to Ireland that enabled the Finnish entry to start the regatta last weekend.

Tributes were paid to Principal Race Officer Anthony O’Leary and Regatta Director John Stallard of Kinsale YC with their team of volunteers who delivered a memorable series.

Class President Philippe Pilate on General Tapioca was best of the continental entries in fifth overall in the 21-strong turnout. At the prize-giving ceremony, he confirmed that the 2018 championship will be held at the Royale Koninklijke Yacht Club (KYCN), Nieuwpoort in Belgium from the 20th to 24th August where a team of volunteers are already planning a week of great racing and hospitality.

EURO CAR PARKS HALF TON CLASSICS CUP 2017 (at Kinsale YC, Ireland)

Final overall standings after Day 5 - eleven races (21 entries)

1 Swuzzlebubble Phil Plumtree (UK)
2 Checkmate XVIII Nigel Biggs (UK)
3 Checkmate XV Dave Cullen (Ireland)
4 The Big Picture Michael & Richard Evans (Ireland)
5 General Tapioca Philippe Pilate (Belgium)
6 Miss Whiplash Paul Pullen (UK)

Published in Half Tonners

Phil Plumtree’s Swuzzlebubble found form on the second day of racing at the Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup at Kinsale Yacht Club with two wins and two second places during a long day afloat sailed in ideal conditions.

While there was a building breeze of 12 to 20 knots ending in champagne sailing conditions for day two, a near gale forecast for Wednesday morning may yet mean a lay day is on the cards and a break in the programme could be the best hope for a tight pack of runner-up contenders to break Plumtree’s dominance of the 21-boat fleet.

Halfton classic cup 17 5126Two race wins for Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV puts him into second overall. Photo: Bob Bateman. Scroll down the page for gallery

Halfton classic cup 17 5126Nigel Biggs on Checkmate XVIII is third overall. Photo: Bob Bateman. Scroll down the page for gallery

Two bullets for David Cullen on Checkmate XV edges him into second overall, five points behind Swuzzlebubble and just a single point ahead of Nigel Biggs on Checkmate XVIII, the previous overnight leader. A consistent day for Mike and Ritchie Evans’ The Big Picture, Cullen’s clubmates from Howth, Co. Dublin keeps them in the hunt in fourth overall and just ten points off the leader.

Halfton classic cup 17 5126Mike Evans in The Big Picture (blue spinnaker) is fourth Photo: Bob Bateman. Scroll down the page for gallery

On the water, Swuzzlebubble’s impressive upwind performance is hard to miss and although needing to finish by more than a minute and a half over her nearest rival to win on IRC handicap, Plumtree’s team is absent from the boat on boat tussle for places further astern.

Halfton classic cup 17 5126Swuzzlebubble – quick upwind. Photo: Bob Bateman. Scroll down the page for gallery

Rollercoaster results across the two days afflicted several crews, notably Paul Pullen’s Miss Whiplash who lost his consistent form of thirds and fourth places from Monday and Paul Wayte’s Headhunter who used both the event discards to drop eleventh and twelfth places.

Class President Philippe Pilatte on General Tapioca also used both discards but also scored a third and fourth places to move up the leaderboard to fifth overall though a distant 19 points off first place.

Meanwhile the forecast of strong winds for Wednesday and possibly again later in the week led Principal Race Officer Anthony O’Leary to set four races for the day with three windward/leeward courses followed by a ‘round the cans’ race finishing inside Kinsale natural harbour overlooked by the historic Charles Fort.

The possibility of the gale blowing through by lunchtime on Wednesday has not been discounted and the intention to hold a coastal course remains - pending a decision by the race committee in the morning. The longer race offers 1.5x multiplier and could prove critical in deciding the final outcome of the championship.

EURO CAR PARKS HALF TON CLASSICS CUP 2017 (at Kinsale YC, Ireland)
Top six overall standings after Day 2 - seven races (21 entries)

1 Swuzzlebubble Phil Plumtree (UK)
2 Checkmate XV Dave Cullen (Ireland)
3 Checkmate XVIII Nigel Biggs (UK)
4 The Big Picture Michael & Richard Evans (Ireland)
5 General Tapioca Philippe Pilatte (Belgium)
6 Miss Whiplash Paul Pullen (UK)

Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126Halfton classic cup 17 5126

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Published in Half Tonners
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Nigel Biggs on his newly-refurbished Checkmate XVIII leads the Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup at Kinsale Yacht Club after a rain-soaked opening day but only two points separate first to fourth places.

Although Phil Plumtree’s two-times past champion Swuzzlebubble had impressive leads on the water, IRC handicapping greatly levelled the playing-field and the iconic Kiwi yacht by designer Bruce Farr could only muster a win in the opening race before scoring second and eighth places for the rest of the day and lies third overall.

In contrast, Biggs had two fourth places and a second while Paul Pullen’s Miss Whiplash had a 3-3-4 day and only missed being overnight leader on the tie-break with Checkmate XVIII.

Of the host nation, a win in the third race for Howth Yacht Club’s Michael and Ritchie Evans on The Big Picture transformed their day after earlier sixth and fifth places. Fourth overall puts them two points ahead of their clubmate David Cullen on Checkmate XV who also had a race win to counter and eighth and a fifth during the day.

“Before the first race, I thought it would be easy to pick the eventual winner but after today I’m not so sure,” Cullen said. “The standard is definitely much higher and probably the most competitive half-ton fleet we have seen in years.”

Of the conditions, the only dryness were the remarks by visitors of the irony that the committee boat’s name is ‘Irish Mist’ on a soaking wet day with a moderate breeze that built to 20 knots by the final race. Principal Race Officer Anthony O’Leary promised quick windward-leeward races of under an hour and a 0.8-mile beat ensured a fast programme.

The prospect of clear skies and breeze for Day 2 will see another three windward-leeward races in place of the planned coastal race as near gale conditions forecast for Wednesday may disrupt the event programme.

The fleet has been reduced by one boat as Superhero by owned Toni Stoschek and Janne Tulokas was dismasted in race two. The class had previously rallied to ensure Finnish crew would make the start-line after their original mast was wrecked when a HGV reversed into it while waiting to board a ferry in Holyhead.

The Half Ton spirit is especially in the mind of class President Philippe Pilatte of General Tapioca, currently lying seventh overall. “With a good team and good sails, it is possible to race a 40-year old boat competitively,” he said. “It’s all part of the history of yacht racing and keeping it alive; it is ‘competition with roots.’” Feeding back information to the IRC Rating office to help older boats remain competitive with modern designs is also a class priority.

EURO CAR PARKS HALF TON CLASSICS CUP 2017 (at Kinsale YC, Ireland)
Top six overall standings after Day 1 - three races (21 entries)
1 Checkmate XVIII Nigel Biggs (UK)
2 Miss Whiplash Paul Pullen (UK)
3 Swuzzlebubble Phil Plumtree (UK)
4 The Big Picture Michael & Richard Evans (Ireland)
5 Checkmate XV Dave Cullen (Ireland)
6 Headhunter Paul Wayte (UK)

Published in Half Tonners

As the 21-strong fleet (just two down from expectations in March) for the Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup at Kinsale Yacht Club prepares for race one this morning, a race against time has been ongoing since Friday to ensure one boat would make the start.

Finland’s Toni Stoschek and Janne Tulokas were en route to Ireland with Superhero earlier in the week when an articulated lorry accidentally reversed into their mast while queuing for the ferry crossing.

The badly bent spar was beyond salvage or repair and for a time it seemed the journey to Ireland would be wasted.

However, the class rallied and the hunt began for a replacement. In a major logistical operation, a spare mast was loaned by King One and transported by Nigel Biggs of Checkmate XVIII by road across the UK and travelled by ferry to Rosslare where it was collected by Paul Cullen of Miss Whiplash, arriving in Kinsale on Saturday morning.

By Sunday’s practice race, Superhero was just able to make the starting-line after some rig tuning. “We hope that we can mix it up with the best despite our… slow start,” said Stoschek.

Conditions at Kinsale are expected to deliver a full range of wind for the coming five days, from light airs to near gale at times. Three windward-leeward races per day are planned while the coastal race intended for Tuesday may be amended to ensure a full race programme is completed.

Phil Plumtree’s Swuzzlebubble is the pre-regatta following on two previous title wins though three new boats and an increasingly competitive fleet could yet upset the running-order.

Published in Half Tonners

With a 21-strong record entry, three new boats, a formidable defending title-holder and a two-times runner-up all in the mix, next month’s Euro Car Parks sponsored Half Ton Classics Cup has all the ingredients for a memorable championship from Sunday 13th to Friday 18th August 2017 at Kinsale Yacht Club.

New owner Phil Plumtree will carry on Swuzzlebubble's pedigree and will be aiming to make 2017 her third title win since successfully launching in 2014 under Peter Morton. Greg Peck followed this with victory again in 2016 so on paper appears to present a huge challenge and a good reason to be the bookies favourite.

DSC 1393Kinsale’s own new Half Tonner Cortegada (George Radley) Photo: Bob Bateman

But three new boats represent unknown challenges and include Checkmate XVIII owned by Nigel Biggs, Paul Wayte’s brand new un-raced Headhunter and Kinsale’s own George Radley whose new Half Tonner Cortegada should have the edge for local knowledge.

DSC 1393Checkmate XVIII skippered by Nigel Biggs Photo: Bob Bateman

However, a handful of other contenders could yet upset the form guide.

DSC 1393Mike Evans skippers 'The Big Picture' from Howth Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

Trastada from Scotland also has a strong track-record as does General Tapioca from Belgium that has several titles under her belt. The Kinsale championship represents unfinished business for Paul Pullen’s gorgeous Falmouth entry Miss Whiplash who has been runner-up for the last two years and he will be on a mission to take the Cup in 2017. There are also six Irish boats participating, all of whom have had success but Dave Cullen’s recent victories on Checkmate XV at Dun Laoghaire Regatta and the Sovereigns Cup places him best of the home fleet.

Half Tonner Trasdata 0651Trastada from Scotland competed in Dublin Bay waters at Dun Laoghaire Regatta. Photo: Afloat.ie

Amongst the six nations taking part, Finland will be represented by Superhero that is campaigned by long-standing Finnish Sailors Toni Stoscheck and Janne Tukolas.

Meanwhile, the ethos of the class will also be to the fore as the “True Spirit Award” remains the ultimate accolade for the boat that encompasses the spirit of the Half Ton Class and is open to any boat to win. “Gladiatorial on the water but best friends ashore” the class has a unique spirit where everyone shares and helps each other while protests are seriously frowned upon.

Pre-event front-runners for the award include Ian Van Burm’s beautiful evergreen wooden Half Tonner Fantasy and previously demonstrated the class spirit by sailing to the 2007 event in Dublin all the way from Belgium. Patrick Dijoud’s Pivoine will arrive by sea this year from France as the class’s newest addition.

One thing all of the teams are guaranteed is competitive racing under the stewardship of PRO Anthony O’Leary, plus a huge welcome from Kinsale Yacht Club and a week-long party that few will forget.

As well as being one of the most picturesque locations in Europe, Kinsale YC as the host venue is situated in the heart of Ireland’s culinary capital and is an area steeped in maritime history.

Published in Half Tonners

After yesterday's cancellations due to strong winds, 2017's O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup concluded in fine style off Kinsale today.

Bob Bateman captured the final races for Afloat.ie. See the gallery below.

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Published in Sovereign's Cup

Rob McConnell’s Fool’s Gold from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club won both races of the first day of the O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup in Division One, the largest fleet in the event with 18 entries, a result only matched elsewhere in the 98–boat fleet in the White Sails Division 2 fleet where Stephanie Ennis’ Club Shamrock Demelza also had two wins.

See Bob Bateman's full day one photo gallery here. Overall results are here.

At the Kinsale Yacht Club venue, fog gave way to light winds, broken sunshine and flat seas to allow for a full programme of yesterday's opening day races to be sailed on four course areas. At stake is the Sovereigns Cup for the best performing boat on IRC handicap alongside the Portcullis Trophy for the best boat on Progressive ECHO handicap.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleDemelza leads in the White Sails class at the Sovereigns Cup Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleRob McConnell's Fools Gold scored two wins at the Sovereigns Cup off Kinsale Photo: Bob Bateman

At this early stage, few of the nine divisions racing have clear leaders and with the prospect of fresh to strong winds for the next two days, a full test in all conditions is likely to bring the final results down to the wire for Saturday’s finale. Afloat.ie has stuck its neck out and offered its predictions on the overall results here.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleHowth Yacht Club's 'The Big Picture' is lying in joint first place in Class Two. Photo: Bob Bateman

In Division 2, the second largest fleet on the course, the top three boats are within one point of each other while the chasing pack aren’t lagging too far behind either. Kieran Collins’ Coracle IV leads after winning the opening race before placing fifth in the second and lies level with Howth’s Richard Evans on The Big Picture.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleA fleet of six Half Tonners at the Sovereigns Cup is making class two very competitive Photo: Bob Bateman

“It’s a very competitive class, especially with six or seven half-tonners,” said Finbarr O’Regan, skipper of Artful Dodger of Kinsale YC. “There isn’t a bad boat in the class and it’s definitely going to a high-scoring event - a lot of people have had a good and a bad race.”

Sovereign's Cup Kinsale SailingGeorge Sisk's Wow, a former ICRA Boat of the Year, is competing in the coastal class. Photo: Bob Bateman

Although George Sisk’s Wow! from the Royal Irish Yacht Club led the Coastal Class fleet from the start, the Dun Laoghaire crew was unable to shake off the chasing pack and a finishing-line error ensured that Conor Doyle’s Freya took the first result of the series.

The opening day was shorter than the remainder of the series and the coastal course was more of an extended round the cans style race but with the full schedule planned for Thursday, a much longer course can be expected – dependent on weather.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleThe 1720 Sportsboat European Championships is being sailed as part of the Sovereign's Cup Photo: Bob Bateman

In the 1720 Sportsboat European Championships that is being sailed as part of the main regatta, a luffing match between father and son in race one saw Olympic sailor Peter O’Leary defeat his father Anthony to take first place. However, O’Leary senior was the more consistent over the three races and is the clear overnight leader.

In turn, the younger O’Leary holds second overall but only on tie-break from Tom Durcan’s T-Bone on level points. Ben Cooke’s Smile n ‘Wave doing well in the final race until they were inadvertently sailed off the course by another boat struggling to drop their kite and slipped down the rankings. Like Peter O’Leary, Cooke is counting a ninth place so far.

Published in Sovereign's Cup

With about 100–boats entered for the first races of O'Leary Life & Pensions Sovereigns Cup this afternoon, there are plenty of good boats capable of winning in each class in Kinsale's biennial Grand Prix Regatta.

Sticking its neck out, here are Afloat's class predictions for overall wins by Saturday.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsale ICRA Class Zero Champion Dark Angel from Swansea Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleJohnny Mordaunt's Mat design from the Solent in today's first race of the Sovereign's Cup.  This is the latest Mark Mills Design MAT1180 Tschuss, originally from the US.Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 0 Only 4 boats in this class. Johnny Mordaunt's Mat design from the Solent has chosen to miss the UK IRC Nationals starting today and instead compete in Kinsale. He should be favourite but expect to see ICRA Class Zero Champion Dark Angel from Swansea also in the mix.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleTim Goodbody's J109 White Mischief from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dublin. Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleToday's Class One start at the Sovereigns Cup. Photo Bob Bateman

Class One 10 J109's are entered including Joker II, recently crowned ICRA champion for the third successive year. However with Joker's normal tactician Mark Mansfield not sailing on her this week, some might expect to see Pat Kelly's Scottish Series Champion Storm from Rush Sailing Club right up there, particularly in the windier conditions. Rob McConnell's Fools Gold will also be in contention as will Tim Goodbody's White Mischief. In a likely mixed wind regatta, we will put our money on Fools Gold by a hair.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleNigel Biggs newly renovated Checkmate XVIII made its Irish debut today at Kinsale. Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleMike and Richard Evans Half Tonner Big Picture from Howth Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

Class Two includes a very broad range of boats including 5 half tonners working up towards the half ton worlds in August. It includes Nigel Biggs newly renovated Checkmate XVIII.  In the lighter early week conditions the half tonners should have the edge and Mike and Richard Evans Big Picture, with Mark Mansfield as tactician should find the conditions to their liking but Harmony owned by Johnny Swann and Dave Cullen's Checkmate will have something to say about this. In heavier conditions, later in the week, Ross McDonald's Equinox should be to the fore. Overall, in the likely two days of lighter winds and two windier days, expect one of the half tonners to shade it and watch out for the newly launched Checkmate XVIII. He rarely finishes far down the pecking order.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleX302 Dux from Howth

Class Three Not a large class and expect one of the X302s to take this, likely Dux from Howth Yacht Club.

Class Four Will likely go to a quarter Tonner with three entered including Anchor Challenge recently crowned ICRA class 3 champion. In this event she is being sailed by Dave Dwyer and not her normal crew but she will be potent in lighter airs. Ken Lawless in Cartoon from Dublin Bay Sailing Club may just shade it however in mixed conditions.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleAnthony O'Leary competing in the 1720 Wet'n'Ready in today's first Sovereign's Cup race. Photo: Bob Bateman

1720 class –12 entered. This is the class European Championships. Expect an O'Leary (either Anthony or Peter) to take this.  Peter is likely to have the edge in the lighter early week conditions and Anthony in the windier stuff. Expect Peter to hold out and take it by a slim margin.

See Day One Photo Gallery here

Published in Sovereign's Cup

Kinsale Yacht Club's postponed Bertoletti Trophy Race – staged annually in memory of club steward Mario Bertoletti – was held last night, ideal timing for a last minute tune–up before Kinsale's big event of the the season, the O'Leary Life and Pensions Sovereign's Cup that starts this Wednesday afternoon. Read WM Nixon's preview on Afloat.ie here

Bob Bateman captured the cruiser–racing action last night in Kinsale Harbour

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Published in Kinsale
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