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Professional sailor James Carroll overcame the disappointment of a dismasting in 2018 to win class two of October's Middle Sea Offshore Race on Stefan Jentzsch's Black Pearl, a German Carkeek 47. Here the Dublin Pitman, Sail Trimmer and Driver recounts the race and reveals plans for a new and bigger Black Pearl for 2020.

With the addition of a brand new bulb and an owner and crew hungry for victory, Black Pearl occupied pole position as we reached the home stretch in the 2018 Middle Sea Race. Following a very windy downwind leg with the A4 spinnaker, there were the customary squalls, thunder and lightning to contend with, which we have come to expect with the Middle sea race. We rounded the island of Lampedusa and were leading the race overall on IRC. We came up to a reaching angle with the J3 on a reaching strut, genoa staysail and full main. It was 4 am and pitch dark with the wind blowing at 25-30kts. We were getting ready to reef when we got hit by a gust and then heard a huge crack from the mast. It had snapped in the middle and fell directly to leeward.

dismastDismasting and (below) jury rigged

dismast black pearl

Thankfully nobody was injured, but we needed to get the situation safe and ensure the mast did not puncture a hole in the side of the boat. After over an hour of cutting and securing the broken pieces, we limped back to Lampedusa to effect repairs and come up with a plan. Due to bad weather conditions, it was three days before we could depart. Eventually, we motored back to Malta under jury rig. It was a devastating outcome for the owner and crew given that we were so close to winning.

We decided to ship the boat to Valencia to assess the damage, make repairs and commission a new mast. The new mast would be built by Hallspars Holland and was to be shorter. Jib area would stay the same. Spinnaker area reduced slightly and the mainsail area would remain the same, with a shorter P. The goal was to improve upwind performance and reduce slightly the downwind performance. With the lower sail plan and bigger bulb, it resulted in a lower CG and improved upwind performance particularly in waves and we were also faster reaching. Most importantly our rating also fell 3 points.

Unfinished business

Our first outing with the new mast was the Giraglia Race in June, which ended in disappointment as we were forced to retire. All the pressure was now on the Middle Sea Race where we felt we had some unfinished business.

We had a longer than usual pre-race prep of 4 days in Malta and felt in good shape for the race. After a 30-minute start delay due to wind, we started in 5-7 knots Southeasterly. We found ourselves ghosting over the start line at the pin end and had a perfect start. A beat out of Grand Harbour to the offset mark. We then rounded to an A1 spinnaker and a run down the coast. Passing slower boats was very tricky and there were big gains and losses. After clearing the spectator mark we were fetching at a TWA of 50-60* towards Sicily’s southeastern tip. We set-up to be the most easterly boat in the fleet.

Blakc Pearl racingLight airs at the start of the '19 race

Our pre-race weather advice showed that the wind would go very light approaching the Sicilian coast and recommended to be east of the fleet. Unfortunately, that proved incorrect and we woke on the morning of Day 2 with a 18-mile deficit to the leading 50 footer. Instead of dwelling on the loss we focused on our approach to Messina and the strategy for getting through. By midday, we were VMG running in 6-10 knots and worked to the mainland shore. Committing to mainland shore reduced the time spent in foul current and there was also better pressure on the shore.

Black Pearl

Once clearing Messina, we realised that we had closed the gap on the group of 50fters and could see their lights as the sunset. Two gybes early to stay clear of an area of light winds and we laid through to Stromboli. A favourable left shirt and we set-up for a wide approach of the island, as the wind shadow had caught us out four years earlier in the same race. VMG running in light winds, we gybed five miles stood off Stromboli. We were treated to a few hours of fireworks from the erupting volcano and were now right in touch with our competition and the wind was getting even lighter.

course

On the morning of Day 3, we were set-up for a long day of VMG downwind chess, trying to stay out of areas of light winds while keeping the boat moving. We were changing between the wind seeker (our Spinstay tacked off the end of the bowsprit on the fractional halyard) and our A1 spinnaker. When the A1 would fly, then that was the sail and when it started to collapse, we would change bareheaded to the Windseeker. With the Windseeker we could keep the boat moving albeit at 1-2 knots of boat-speed, just about keeping steerage. There was a leftover westerly swell and that made it very hard to make progress west on a port gybe, so we needed 4 knots of wind speed or more to make progress on port gybe. This light airs requires maximum concentration from all the on-watch crew and lots of patience. We remained focused and input on strategy from all crew was considered.

During the morning we had passed a number of our 50ft competitors and the front of the fleet compressed. We were now sailing with the Volvo70s and 80 footers. Rambler was the only boat that had got through the light airs and was on the leg to Lampedusa. Finally, the wind steadied at 95-105TWD and 6-7 knots and this allowed us to get onto port, bank our gains and be laying Capo San Vito (the north western tip of Sicily). On approach the breeze went forward and we were hard on the wind passing close to the islands off Trapani. We were behind the IRC 52 Arobas and her stern light two miles in front, meant we were right back in the race.

The breeze built overnight which was expected and a nice jib change from J1 to J2 just before we exited the wind shadow of one of the islands, set us up nicely for the increase in pressure. Once we cleared Trapani and got away from the shore we had a solid 18-20 knots fetching on port at the island of Pantelleria. The sea was rough and it was a bouncy ride onboard. Rambler was now finished as we rounded Pantelleria and braced ourselves for the leg up to Lampedusa. We had a nice setup with the J2 and a reef in the mainsail. When the breeze was sub 20 knots we could be at Full main and when it was above 22 knots we were at 1st reef. This made for very efficient moding, rather than trying to do a change to a smaller jib. We took a couple of tacks on shifts and made some good gains relative to the boats that did not.

We were still just in touch with Arobas as night fell on Day 4 and on approach to Lampedusa. Some tricky short tacking up the Lampedusa shore and we were now on starboard tack fast upwind angle on the leg back to Malta.

The breeze got lighter as we approached the channel between Malta and Gozo. We took 2 tacks and laid the channel. The sun was now coming up and the 50fters behind us could clearly be seen. In the channel, the breeze got very light and shifty. We changed to the Masthead cableless Code zero and were reaching at 100TWA at the northeastern end of Malta. A change on deck to have the J1 ready was a key speed decision and so when we exited the channel it was J1 upwind to the fairway mark off the finish. Rounding the fairway mark we hoisted the A2 and ran to the finish.

We knew that we had beaten the Class 2 boats behind us as they gave us time, but unfortunately we were not sure where Arobas had finished and so we needed to wait. A relief when we found out that they had finished just 52 minutes ahead of us, which was not enough time and thus Black Pearl secured the IRC Class 2 win. It was a great result considering the disappointment of the previous year.

A very worthy winner of the race was Maltese yacht Elusive 2 skippered by a good friend of mine and local man Chris Podesta. They sailed a great race and put a very good campaign together.

A new Black Pearl is now in production and will be an offshore focused carbon 56 being built by King Marine in Spain. The Carkeek 47 is up for sale and looking for a new home. The program for 2020-21 will be to race the new 56 in the offshore classics and build on the successes of the 47.

James CarrollJames Carroll

James Carroll is a professional sailor with experience of competing at the highest level for over 18 years. He has competed in the Volvo Ocean Race, TP52s, Maxi World Championships and the Sydney to Hobart races. Both inshore and offshore racing he specialises as a Pitman, Sail Trimmer and Driver and has filled that role for multiple high profile international teams. With a background in boatbuilding and rigging it has complemented his sailing experience. James has been Project Managed numerous successful racing boat builds and overseen many complex refit projects in Europe, USA, China, Dubai and UK.

Published in Offshore
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A National Yacht Club crew from Dublin Bay have finished fourth in class and fourth monohull in the 2019 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). 

As previously reported on Afloat, the NYC crew made the crossing in the 80-foot Swan yacht Umiko

The transatlantic crew were former NYC Commodore Paul Barrington, Paul Fagan, Teddy Murphy, Dave O’Reilly, Barry O’Sullivan Alan Daly and Brian Uniacke. The NYC sailors were also joined by a father and daughter from Sweden Carl and Carolina Urban. The skipper was Olly Cotterdel. 

UMiko NYCThe NYC crew cross the finish line in St Lucia Photo: Photo Action

UMIKO SWAn

It is the second transatlantic success in as many days for the NYC as cadet member Conor Totterdell finished second in the RORC Transat race.

Published in National YC
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World Sailing has recently announced the criteria for selecting teams for the Offshore World Sailing Championships scheduled to be held in Malta from 10 – 22 October 2020. This is a newly established event for a double-handed mixed crew.

There are a maximum of 20 entries for the World Championships, and if there are more than 20 countries seeking an entry, a qualifying series will be held in Western Europe sometime during the period 1 May – 30 June 2020 to establish the European entries into the event.

MNAs (Member National Authorities) are responsible for selecting and entering the team to represent them at the 2020 Offshore World Championships. Irish Sailing has submitted a request to World Sailing for entry to a qualification event, to allow for an Irish Team to be represented.

Irish Sailing would like to hear from anyone who is interested in entering a team into the event. Please note in particular the Athlete Qualification Event Requirements under section 5 of the attached notice. While Irish Sailing is very supportive of, and will facilitate the process for the selection of a team, it should be noted from the outset, that Irish Sailing has no budget for this event and all costs will be borne directly by the teams competing.

Once we have an indication of the level of interest, we will establish a process for the selection of a team to represent Ireland.

Please submit your expression of interest before 5th January 2020 to [email protected] stating the names of your team members (one male, one female) and a brief CV of experience.

You can read the World Sailing Information Document below

Published in ISA

Dubin Bay sailor Conor Totterdell of the National Yacht Club has just completed his first transat race on a Lombard 46, Pata Negra in the 2019 RORC Transatlantic Race.

The race proved to be a test of competence in many different areas. A steady breeze off the stern quarter of between 15-30 knots provided tense and fast racing with Bouwe Bekking aboard Swedish VO65, Childhood 1, registering a 24-hour run of over 400nm and taking line honours.

Pata Negra, with a young crew aboard, had to contend with a minefield of problems. A broken tooth on the first day was repaired by Conor with Dalkey Clinic dentist and NYC member, Dr Jill Marshall, giving advice via mobile phone as the boat hit 17-knots with spinnaker flying! Worse was to come, with the boat’s water maker failing 28 hours into the race necessitating a pit stop into El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands, to fill up with 400litres of water before heading down to the trade winds.

Pata NegraPata Negra

From then on it was a catch-up race. The team did not miss a gybe and calculated their course so precisely that despite travelling 3767nm, 200nm more than their symmetric-spinnaker’d opponents; snapping both masthead halyards; nearly blowing the mast fitting for the fractional and J3 halyard, Pata Negra not only caught up with the fleet but roared past them to finish 2nd overall, by any standards an amazing result!

Next on the agenda is to take the boat to Antigua and prep it for the Caribbean 600 which starts in February. Results here.

Published in Dublin Bay
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The RYA is on the hunt for sailors and boat owners interested in the new double-handed mixed offshore event that will debut at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

This exciting discipline will see mixed pairs battle it out over a 4-day offshore race in a new showcase for the sport.

As Afloat reported earlier, planning for Paris 2024 is already underway. The RYA has registered an entry for a British team in the 2020 World Sailing Offshore World Championship (OWC), held in conjunction with the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

The RYA would now like to hear from any motivated and experienced sailors interested in trying double-handed offshore sailing, and they are also keen to hear from any boat owners who may either be looking for a racing partner or prepared to loan or charter a suitable boat to others.

Jack Fenwick, RYA Keelboat Manager, is hoping to bring interested parties together in early 2020 with a view to running doublehanded offshore taster sessions and training next spring.

"Double-handed offshore sailing could appeal to a wide range of people from professional sailors to existing or former international sailors, or perhaps even those just graduating from our RYA British Keelboat Academy," he said. 

"At this stage we would like to hear from as many people as possible to try and build a database of interested parties. We would particularly like to hear from yacht owners who might be looking for partners to get afloat and give it a try."

In a vote of confidence for the existing RORC racing series, the RYA has announced that selection for the OWC, taking place in Malta in October 2020 in L30 yachts, will be based solely on the popular RORC Channel Race which starts from Cowes on August 1. 

"We believe the existing RORC Racing calendar of events will provide excellent training opportunities and should be a huge advantage to British medal hopes in 2024. It would be great to see lots of teams fighting it out for the double-handed trophies within the RORC's Season Points Championship" said RYA Director of Racing, Ian Walker.

RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone explained: "In 2020 the Channel Race will run as normal for our IRC rated fleet but we will extend the race for those double-handed mixed entries who wish to be considered in the RYA selection for the OWC. The intention is for this selection event to best replicate the duration of the OWC which is likely to be 3 or 4 days."

RORC racing is IRC rated and not one design so in order to best reflect the criteria of the new Olympic equipment, the RYA selection for the OWC will only be open to fixed keel, monohulls within a proposed IRC rating band between 0.990 and 1.055 (subject to confirmation). 

Ian Walker: "We need to strike a balance between keeping the rating band as narrow as possible to minimise the impact of the boats' rating differences on the results and making the selection as accessible as possible for a range of suitable existing boats. We will confirm the rating band after any revisions to the IRC rule for 2020."

The official selection policy will be published by 1 March 2020 but anybody interested in getting involved in double-handed, mixed offshore sailing is warmly encouraged to register their interest by sending an e-mail containing details of their sailing experience, aspirations and their boat (if they have one) to: [email protected]

If more than 20 nations enter the OWC then there will need to be a country qualification event in Europe in May / June 2020. Britain would then need to send a representative team to aim to qualify a place for Britain for the OWC in Malta and an announcement will be made on how these representatives will be selected once the details are announced by World Sailing in due course. 

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World Sailing has sent a shout out to its member countries to take part in the 2020 Offshore World Championships, to be held in association with the Middle Sea Race in October 2020. The prospect of the new Olympic class has already developed a pool of Irish interest

Most sailing developed nations will regard this event as the opening of their 2024 Olympic Offshore campaigns. The event will be a mixed two-handed offshore race, of approximately 4 days/3 nights duration. (same as that proposed for the 2024 Olympic Games)

Entering nations will have to qualify for the limited fleet event. 20 L30 yachts will be supplied to competitors, but the organisers have not yet determined the event(s) that will qualify for the championships.

Ireland has a burgeoning interest in this offshore scene with forays on the international offshore circuit already carried out by a crop of talent such as David Kenefick, Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy in Le Figaro Race. More recently, in June 2019, there were 2024 declarations made by Conor Fogerty and Susan Glenny.

World Sailing is awaiting to determine the interest level before finalising the qualification events, but they have determined the principles on which they will be based. They say:

“The intention is to hold all Qualification Events in Europe for 2020. By hosting the 2020 Qualification Events in one European venue and with one fleet of boats World Sailing believes that sailors and MNAs will have a unique opportunity to fast track their knowledge of this exciting new event.”

World Sailing believe that it will be possible to develop Qualification Events for the Offshore World Championships in all continents from 2021 onwards.

Countries can express their interest by submitting the pre-entry fee of €2,500 to World Sailing no later than 20 December 2019.

Published in Offshore
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After 14 days at sea and with the IMOCA podium decided, PRB and Charal are fighting for 2nd and 3rd place in the Imoca category of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2019. It's a race with continuing Irish interest as two solo sailors battle it out both approximately 900 miles behind the leader. Joan Mulloy from County Mayo as Afloat reported here and Mikey Ferguson in County Down here are neck and neck in 25th and 26th place according to rankings here.

After Apivia coasted to a moonlit victory in the IMOCA class 15 hours earlier, the Bay of All Saints witnessed one of the closest podium finishes in the history of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre in glorious sunshine on Sunday. PRB held off Charal to take second place by just six minutes and 18 seconds, little over a mile after both had covered over 5,000 from Le Havre since the start a fortnight ago.

Kévin Escoffier and Nicolas Lunven on their 60ft monohull, PRB, built in 2009, but upgraded with foils in 2018, had the latest-generation foiler and red-hot favourite at the start, Charal, breathing down their necks all the way long the coast of north-east Brazil. The gap closed to just over a mile, but as it went soft – an unstable 6-8 knot westerly, in the approach to the Bay of All Saints, Charal’s advantage evaporated and they could not find a way past.

The 39-year-old Escoffier, from one of the most famous sailing families in France, must have drawn on all of his experience, as a winner of the Volvo Ocean Race last year, the Jules Verne Trophy in 2012 and of the 2005 Transat Jacques Vabre in the Multi50 to hold on.

Not for nothing is this biennial double-handed race heralded as the longest and toughest transatlantic race in the calendar.

For Jérémie Beyou, the winner of this race in 2013, and Christopher Pratt the last three days have marked a great comeback from sixth place and evidence of the speed of their boat, but it was not the podium place they were hoping for.

As close as this chase was, the race will be remembered for their spectacular stall in the Doldrums – one of the most extraordinary in the history of offshore racing.

Charal was 120 miles ahead of Apivia when they entered the Doldrums at around 07:30 on November 5. At times they completely stopped as Apivia redirected 50 miles east and flew by, almost without pause. Every time they had looked like finally escaping the clutches of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, they were sucked back in.

Apivia’s early acceleration in the trade winds meant that even when Charal was out of the Doldrums on November 8, they continued to lose miles, peaking at being 302 miles behind at the 19:00 (UTC) ranking on November 8 – a total loss of 422 miles.

America’s Charlie Enright with French co-skipper, Pascal Bidégorry, finished fifth on 11th Hour Racing as the boats stacked up in the Bay of All Saints in quick succession. Britain’s Samantha Davies is not far behind in seventh and has closed to within 10 miles of Banque Populaire, but with only 34 miles to the finish.

Arrivals

Kévin Escoffier and Nicolas Lunven, on PRB, have finished second in the IMOCA class of the 14th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre after crossing the finish line in the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil on Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 16:04:42 (UTC), 14 days, 03 hours 49 minutes and 42 seconds after leaving Le Havre, Normandy, France on Sunday, October 27 at 12:15 (UTC).

PRB covered the theoretical course of 4,350 nautical miles at an average speed of 12.84 knots but actually sailed 5,035 nautical miles at an average speed of 14.82 knots. It finished 15 hours 41 minutes and 42 seconds behind the winner, Apivia.

Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt, on Charal, have finished third in the IMOCA class of the 14th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre after crossing the finish line in the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil on Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 16:11:00 (UTC), 14 days, 3 hours 56 minutes and 0 seconds after leaving Le Havre, Normandy, France on Sunday, October 27 at 12:15 (UTC).

Charal covered the theoretical course of 4,350 nautical miles at an average speed of 12.83 knots but actually sailed 5,116.17 nautical miles at an average speed of 15.05 knots. It finished 15 hours 48 minutes and 0 seconds behind the winner, Apivia.

Class40: The leading trio escapes

In contrast to Charal’s fate in the Doldrums in the IMOCA, Crédit Mutuel has held its healthy lead of 54 miles over Britain’s Sam Goodchild on Leyton. Now in the south-east trade winds, Leyton has carved out a 70-mile lead over Aïna Enfance & Avenir. The rest of the Class40s are still stuck in the Doldrums.

“We’re beginning to have the unpleasant feeling of being the butt of a joke that has lasted for three days now, Valentin Gautier said from Banque du Léman, adding that they seen the maxi trimaran, Gitana on the AIS…doing 18 knots in the Doldrums! “Mostly, we’ve been calming our nerves by saying that it's the same for everyone, except that now, that's not the case! Our friends in the west, who we’ve been hunting, seem to have passed through without much trouble, and us hunters have become the hunted without even realising it.” told this morning in a message from the sea Valentin Gautier aboard Bank of Leman, which also adds to having seen the AIS maxi trimaran Gitana ... 18 knots in the Doldrums!

Only 7 Class40s were still sailing in the north-east trade winds today – they still have the Doldrums awaiting them. The fleet stretches for 1,000 miles from Crédit Mutuel to Terre Exotique to the south of the Cape Verde islands.

Damage: Arkea Paprec completely foiled!

Without their port foil after damaging it in the delivery to Le Havre, Arkea Paprec, in 5th position at the exit of the Doldrums has now suffered the breakage of its starboard foil. They are in ninth and dropping. “We got out of the Doldrums reaching on a port tack, with 16-20 knots of wind, flat sea, so we said ‘these are our conditions, let’s go, it’s time to put our foot to the floor’,” Sébastien Simon said. “We were starting to think the podium was possible but two hours later the foil broke, without warning. So, we’re in a sailing without foils. There’s not much left of her.”

The 2020 ISORA Race calendar will include a Dún Laoghaire to Cobh race in July as part of the official Cork300 celebrations. The full 2020 ISORA calendar of 13 races is downloadable below.

The 2020 season will start on April 18th in North Wales and April 25th in Dun Laoghaire with 40-mile coastal races sponsored by Viking Marine on either side of the Irish Sea.

A week later, on May 2nd, the fleet, now totalling over a 60-boat entry, will undertake the first of the season's seven offshore fixtures from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead, with the Welsh finish location still to be confirmed.

June's Round Ireland Race from Wicklow is not part of ISORA's 2020 schedule.

On July 9th, the fleet takes in a reenactment of a historic race from Dun Laoghaire to Cobh (Kingstown to Queenstown) as part of their offshore fixtures with the 150-mile race being a season highlight. The offshore race is designed to be an official feeder for Royal Cork Yacht Club's tricentenary celebrations in Cork Harbour

Race 8 on the 24th July Coastal Race will be a 40-mile night race.

The season concludes with race 16 Race and a Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire offshore 80-miler on September 5th

The full 2020 ISORA calendar of 13 races is downloadable below.

Published in Cork300
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The skipper of the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran shattered the Mauritius offshore Route record between Port Louis (Brittany) and Port Louis (Mauritius) at 0726hrs local time (0326hrs UTC) on Friday 8th November).

Francis Joyon smashed the reference time he set in November 2009 by more than six days and brings the Mauritius Route record down to less than 20 days or to be more precise to 19 days, 18 hours, 14 mins and 45 seconds.

The Mauritius Route record is the first act in the new campaign of ocean records, the IDEC SPORT ASIAN TOUR, which the skipper of the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran is currently tackling.

Published in Offshore
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The Brest Atlantiques offshore race officially started today, Tuesday 5th November, at 11 am, in front of the Chaussée de Sein in Brest, western France. The four trimarans of the Ultim 32/23 class set off at more than 30 knots of speed, with a north-westerly wind of about thirty knots and in a heavy sea with waves 4.5 metres high.

Trimaran Macif (François Gabart / Gwénolé Gahinet) was the first to cross the line, and shifted slightly northwards ahead of the three other competitors: Actual Leader (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella), Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier) and Sodebo Ultim 3 (Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nélias), who were all at the southern end of the 2.5-mile line. On the first day out at sea, the descent down into the Bay of Biscay was fast, with heavy waves which should however gradually die down. They should cross Cape Finisterre, at the north-western tip of Spain, after about ten hours.

Brest_AtlantiqueThe Brest Atlantique course

QUOTES – The final words from the sailors before leaving the dock in Brest early this morning:

François Gabart (Trimaran Macif): "We're going to have to be careful in the Bay of Biscay with some tough conditions, but it's good to reach the trade wind quickly. We have to find the right pace from the start for the boat and for us. During the first few hours, we will always have one of us listening and not far from the helm to try to go fast without forcing the boat. A priori, there will not be many manoeuvres, it will be mostly piloting. »

Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3): "The first day in the Bay of Biscay will be very busy, you have to be very concentrated straight away; there can be no mistakes, it will take a lot of energy from the start. I can see what is at stake in these first few hours of racing, it's not insignificant, but I don't have any particular worries. We have to pass this Bay of Biscay fairly quickly, after that it's going to be an absolutely fabulous ride to Brazil. »

Franck Cammas (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild): "The start will be windy and tonight it will calm down, so we’ll go fast tonight! Until then, we'll try to be careful, to get out unharmed in Cape Finisterre, there's no point in attacking from the start, we're only at the beginning of the race. We can do more tomorrow morning when we're already south enough! »

Yves Le Blevec (Actual Leader): "The start days are always important moments, we are feeling confident, it's finally time to sail! The first ten hours will be cautious, it will be necessary to balance the need for speed and competition with that of being safe.

Published in Offshore
Page 3 of 34

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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