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A very good fleet of 29 cruisers came to the line for the first day of the CH Marine Winter league writes Claire Bateman. The first radio sound to be heard was the familiar voice of Afloat correspondent Tom MacSweeney, who was PRO for the occasion, advising the course to be sailed would 99, sailing Classes One and Two together and Classes 3 and White Sail also together. An equally well known voice came back wondering whether there would be water at one particular mark!!

The sea was flat and there was a fitful wintery sun. In spite of the dire forecast that had been promised, one could have been doing a lot worse than enjoying a race in Cork Harbour.

The course turned out to be a good choice as it is divided into three parts and could be shortened after any one of the three rounds. The wind from the ESB stack at Whitegate was showing north west, Met Eireann report from Roches Point was giving 5 knots from the west and the Race Officer for the Laser fleet was setting a course for a south west wind. It was that kind of day.

It was an off wind start and True Penance with Joe English on spinnaker got the best start with End Game just behind with Jimmy Nyhan trimming the spinnaker, and Bad Company was looking good as well on the shore side. Magnet was throwing all sorts of shapes at the cage but a was bit slow hoisting her spinnaker.

Classes Three and White Sail sailed one round of the course and Classes One and Two got in two rounds. This worked out very well because as the race progressed the tide was getting stronger and this helped the boats to make it out the harbour against the tide so it all jelled very well.

The prize giving followed at which CH Marine presented the competitors with very seasonal and acceptable bottles of wine and boxes of Cadburys Roses and immediately afterwards the threatened rain began to pour down but as this stage the competitors were not bothered as they were ready to go home having enjoyed a great day of racing.

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Photos by Bob Bateman

Published in Royal Cork YC

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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