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Displaying items by tag: Round the Island Race

Local boat Eeyore, an Alacrity 18 Bilge Keel from Cowes, has laid claim to the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl, winning this year’s Round the Island Race after a long tactical day on the water.

With a crew of just three: skipper Joe Richards and his friends David Rickard and Duncan De Boltz, the 18-foot bilge keel was the smallest boat in the race.

A member of Gurnard Sailing Club and Cowes Corinthian, Richards talks through his winning race:  “It was an interesting but long race, we actually started at the opposite end of the line from the rest of the fleet which paid us reasonably well in the end. We got down to The Needles middle of the fleet and then there was almost no wind. We bounced off a couple of rocks on The Needles just for good measure and then it’s tempting to stay out of the tide and we did a couple of little tacks and thought no we need to be strong minded and go out, because you always get a wind bend down off Freshwater and if you sail along under the cliffs it just leaves you in a hole eventually.

RIRWinner EeyoreSmall boat - Eeyore, the modest Alacrity 18 bilge eeler, has won the prestigious Round the Island Race (and, yes, this is the only picture we could find!)

After competing in the Round the Island Race more times than he can remember and with two seconds already under his belt, Richards comments on his win: ”It’s probably about time too isn’t it? We’ve been second a couple of times over the years but the reality is there are some very good sailors out there and very good boats; you’ve got to be lucky and get the breaks. Unless you’ve done the preparation and put yourself in a position to get the breaks it doesn’t happen, but you do still have to be lucky.”

Wicked WokieA Cove Sailing boat crew (pictured above after the finish last night), Wicked Wookie, a hunter Sonata (skippered by Jason Losty), was fifth overall in the Round the Island race

The race offered challenging sailing conditions for the crew of Eeyore, which circumnavigated the Isle of Wight in 13 hours, 36 minutes and 31 seconds. The fleet of over 1,200 entries contended with fluctuating wind speeds from every direction, with only 257 boats completing the race before the 10.30pm deadline.

The first finisher (with a time of 7 hours, 33 minutes and 36 seconds) was Yves Le Blevec’s Graghjghnd Prix racing multihull – ‘Actual Leader’ which led for much of the race. In light to moderate winds she managed to shake off her closest on-the-water rivals – Jethou, Ino XXX, Lady Mariposa and Mini Y.

A delighted Le Blevec (53) from La Trinite Sur Mer, commenting on a long, but exciting day on the race course just before he set sail back to La Trinite Sur Mer, said: “I really enjoyed the race, I always enjoy sailing here and it was great to have taken line honours. This is now my fourth time competing here but in this boat it was tricky. We stayed in the same place for two or three hours off Ventnor in no wind, which was frustrating. ‘Actual’ is designed as a round the world boat not for Round the Island Race. It is very difficult to manage tacking or gybing so often, so we are pleased to have done so well today.”

The award for the first monohull across the line, at 16:30:28 (taking 9 hours and 28 seconds), went to Sir Peter Ogden’s Judel Vrolijk Mini Maxi ‘Jethou’ which almost snatched the lead from ‘Actual Leader’ earlier in the day. Despite hitting the bottom and hooking a lobster pot the crew of ‘Jethou’ had a great race with owner, Sir Peter Ogden, commenting: “Our top speed was 20knts which was 2 minutes after the start, but it went downhill after that and we averaged 7.9knts over the course. The best sail of the day was the stretch from the forts to the finish where we enjoyed a really nice breeze.”
This year’s race saw thousands of sailors compete on over 1,200 yachts in one of the UK’s largest sporting events. The Round the Island Race is a true race for all with competitors enjoying a spinnaker start for the first time in almost ten years.

Commodore of the Island Sailing Club, David Atkinson said: “It's been a difficult day, we started in such great conditions in the morning with the wind doing exactly what we thought it would but as the day progressed the wind became increasingly unpredictable. One example was at St Catherine’s Point where one side there was 15knts of breeze, but just around the corner, half a mile away only 5-6knts of breeze from a totally different direction. Tactically today it was difficult because the wind was all over the show.

“But the competitors have been terrific, with lots of feedback on what a lovely day people have had on the water despite the wind. Someone said to me anyone can sail in a reasonably good, steady breeze but when you have to tactically think about the wind, the tides and everything else in order to make your boat go, that can make it really interesting.

“I’d like to thank all the competitors for making this a fantastic event, the new Official Race Village has gone down well and had a real buzz around it and now we’re looking forward to the prize giving tomorrow and welcoming people back again next year on 30th May 2020.”

British Sailing Team and official Round the Island Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, commented: “The weather today was set up for a good quick run down to The Needles, then once the fleet got through The Needles they were beating back up to St Catherine’s Point, still in a reasonable amount of breeze so that worked out OK.

“Then in the very hot afternoon, the warm air bubbling up off the island killed the breeze for quite a long way offshore, going from St Cat’s round to Bembridge. With some filling in, it did go round to the right as we were expecting with the forecast, and its now coming in nicely from the west southwest; but there was a very slow 3 or 4 hours for quite a few boats going round the south-east side of the Isle of Wight. The boats that did really well, especially the winner, managed to catch it very well and were just ahead of the light stuff on the south-east of the Island and managed to have a good run right to the finish.”

Michael Kitchen, actor, television producer and competitor, was the official race starter of the 88th Round the Island Race. Known particularly for his role as Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle in the ITV drama series Foyle’s War he said: “I couldn’t feel more honoured with the invitation of the official starter of this iconic race. It is a huge privilege. I have competed at the event many times and we always have a cracking time. It is a brilliant event.”

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In what will probably be regarded as one of the most challenging on record, the 87th edition of the Round the Island Race was won overall by High Potential with the top Irish result from the four boats competing coming from Barry Cunningham's Quarter Tonner Quest in 25th place from 1204 starters.

Mayo Sailing Club's 'Xstatic', a regular WIORA competitor, skippered by Damien Cashin was slated to start as was the Royal Irish Yacht Club's 'Jib and Tonic' from Dublin Bay skippered by Morgan Crowe. Cunningham's entry had Prof O'Connell on board.  Altair, a Beneteau 36.7, from Cove Sailing Club in  Cork Harbour was also competing and Vendee Globe campaigner Nin O'Leary, who raced to success in last year's race was back again racing onboard Adam Gosling's new Yes! boat. See full results here.

Ross Applebey and his team, based in Lymington, sailed an impressive race in the light, tactical conditions and after 8:30:03 was deemed the overall winner of the Gold Roman Bowl on corrected time.

Commenting on his team's win of the Gold Roman Bowl, an elated skipper said:

"We are absolutely delighted with the result! It's been an amazing day of sailing and, this year, everything we did seemed to turn to gold with things ultimately turning in our favour as we approached Ryde. We've had a great atmosphere on board all day with my wife, Sarah, and our good friends. After doing a dozen or so Round the Island Races in the past, and the last three of those in High Potential, we are so happy that our hard work has paid off."

Ned Collier Wakefield, alongside Irvine Laidlaw, sailing aboard Tony Lawson's MOD70 foiling trimaran Concise Fling – was fairly accurate in his prediction to record the slowest time for line honours. It may not be official but 8:34:09 (over six hours more than it took last year when they broke the multihull record) is definitely up for debate.

The general lack of wind and seabreeze that failed to materialise, left hundreds of teams struggling to reach the Needles before the tidal gate slammed shut in the early part of the race. Those who sneaked through had little option other than to soldier on and endure a slow, challenging, and extremely hot rounding.

The award for the first monohull to finish went to Tony Langley's TP52 Gladiator who completed the course with an elapsed time of 8:56:47. Chatting after the race, Langley said: "It was the longest one I've ever done; nine hours on the helm which is plenty.

"There were three transitions, two round the back of the Island, and one on the eastern Solent. These transitions from one breeze to the other were the tricky ones; a knot or so of wind, so it was a case of just keeping the boat working to get through to the new breeze."

Commenting on their efforts to catch Concise Fling on the final stretch to the finish line, Langley added: "We didn't quite make it but we did have a moment when we thought we might do because they were in the transition for a lot longer."

Mention should also be made of the winner of Raymarine Live Weather Briefing, prize draw. Paul French from the Westerly Regatta 290, Temptation was the lucky winner of the Raymarine Axiom 9 inch and the new AIS700 – total value £2,390.

For full results, click here. Prizes will be presented at the Round the Island Race prizegiving ceremony tomorrow (8 July) at Island Sailing Club.

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There may be little wind on the racecourse for the 1,200 or so teams contesting Island Sailing Club’s annual 50nm race around the Isle of Wight, but there is certainly no shortage of competitive spirit.

Racing is close throughout the fleet apart from Tony Lawson’s record-breaking five-year-old MOD70 foiling trimaran Concise Fling that broke away from the pack at the Needles, rounded St Catherine’s Point, and as of an hour ago was tracking along up the east coast towards Bembridge, alone.

Even in the expected light winds of just 10 knots, this crazy machine can reach 35kts of boat speed, so whatever the weather there are generally always plenty of thrills to be had aboard this boat.

The bulk of the fleet, however, was enjoying a tactical game of cat-and-mouse down the west coast of the Island. Jennifer Burgis and the all-female team who raced the 2015-16 Clipper Round the World Race are today sailing Fleur de Lis, a chartered Beneteau Oceanis 37, and are currently sailing an impressive race. Importantly, they managed to reach the Needles before the tide turned.

Burgis commented from the racecourse: “Despite the lack of wind we are extremely pleased with our progress. It took us just two hours to get to the Needles. We had a great start with Holly [Kitching] on the helm and Caroline Bowen on tactics, which was key and, we are looking forward to continuing to work hard and gain more places as we head down the west coast.

“We are really pleased because we seem to have caught up with the Turquoise flagged group that started 10 minutes ahead of us. I think we can put our impressive speed down to Caroline Bowen our tactician who is calling some really good shots in these tricky conditions.”

Although the sea breeze should have now filled in, it is generally slow going. More than half the fleet is round the Needles but the race was on for those struggling to reach that point before the tide turned at 11.30am.

Even if the cloud builds on land and sea breeze does develop, it is unlikely to be significant. Around the top of the Island from Bembridge Ledge to Ryde — the lee of the island — will be one of the biggest areas of concern and a lot of places were likely to be won and lost there. See the Race Tracker for more.

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With the Round Ireland Race over, the focus for the winning boat Baraka GP plus four Irish boats is now on this weekend's Round the Island Race on the Solent and attention has turned to the weather forecast and, in particular, a low off Lands End.

As Afloat.ie previously reported there will be four Irish entries among a flurry of international entries to sign up for the 50nm sail round the Isle of Wight tomorrow.

Mayo Sailing Club's 'Xstatic', a regular WIORA competitor, skippered by Damien Cashin will be on the start line as will the Royal Irish Yacht Club's 'Jib and Tonic' from Dublin Bay skippered by Morgan Crowe. The latest entry is the top flight Quarter Tonner Quest, skippered by Barry Cunningham, also from the RIYC. Prof O'Connell, who was aboard Chris Power Smith's second overall Aurelia in the Round Ireland Race, is racing on Quest in a busy week for the sailing professional. Altair, a Beneteau 36.7, from Cove Sailing Club in  Cork Harbour is also competing and Vendee Globe campaigner Nin O'Leary, who raced to success in last year's race is back again racing onboard Adam Gosling's new Yes! boat.

A high should move over the UK bringing a light N/NW gradient wind. It should be a hot & sunny day, allowing the heat low to develop again over the E of England. As it does so the breeze should back left WSW up the Channel, remaining quite light.

For Saturday the high should be firmly settled over the UK with its central ridge extending from S of Ireland to around Newcastle. This will bring a hot & sunny day with a light NNE/NE gradient wind to start. This is likely to be replaced by a developing sea breeze around 1100, light S/SSW around the back of the Island, light SSE/SSW through the E Solent. It will be a very tactical day.

Gusts are likely to be 1/3 as much again as the average wind speed. Squall-driven gusts may be higher still - the deeper the cloud, the stronger the gust.

RACE DAY - Saturday 7th
Light NE 4-7 kts to start, going very light & patchy then returning S/SSE 6-10 kts around noon veering right SSW 6-10 kts around the back of the Island. In the E Solent, this is likely to be SE/SSE 5-9 kts through the afternoon. It's going to be hot & sunny, with significant local thermal effects.

Met Office: NE 5-8 kts, dying around 1100, settling back in S/SSW 5-9 kts afternoon.
ECMWF: N 3-6 kts then SW 6-10 kts.
NOAA's GFS model: N 3-6 kts in the morning, then SW 6-10 kts.

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Three Irish entries are among a flurry of international entries to sign up for the 50nm blast round the Isle of Wight next month.

With less than three weeks to go until the start of Round the Island Race 2018 on 7 July, entries are starting to flow in with numbers almost at the 1,000 mark. Equally encouraging is the fact that international entries are on the rise too with a total of 23 teams already signed up.

Mayo Sailing Club's 'Xstatic', a regular WIORA competitor, skippered by Damien Cashin will be on the start line as will the Royal Irish Yacht Club's 'Jib and Tonic' from Dublin Bay skippered by Morgan Crowe. The latest entry is the top flight Quarter Tonner Quest, skippered by Barry Cunningham, also from the RIYC, that is currently placed eighth at the Quarter Ton Cup in Cowes

Cashin's Xstatic, however, is not his usual X42 but a new X49 yacht. The full Mayo Sailing Club crew pick up the new marque in X Yachts in Denmark next week and sail straight for the Isle of Wight race, according to crewman, Joe McGovern.

This annual, world-recognised race organised by Island Sailing Club, is one of those must do, quintessential English regattas, that competitors travel thousands of miles to compete in.

As well as the huge numbers that take part, it is the diversity of the fleet that ranges from high profile race teams to weekend club sailors that makes this annual 50nm blast round the Isle of Wight so special.

While most of the international entries signed up so far are based in Europe including Belgium, France, Germany Ireland, Italy, and The Netherlands, the organisers are delighted to welcome Charlene Howard and her team from the USA sailing AJ Wanderlust (Jeanneau 45.2).

Organisers are also pleased to welcome back Dr Benic Hervé and team from France who, racing their Beneteau First 40 Iritis, not only finished in a creditable fourth place in IRC overall, and third in IRC 1 last year, but were also the leading international team.

So far France makes up the bulk of the international contingent with a total of 10 boats but with just over 20 days to go before race day, there is still time for Belgium or The Netherlands, currently lying second in the international entry rankings, to put paid to the current French domination.

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Nicholas 'Nin' O'Leary has had a successful weekend on and off the water in two countries. The Royal Cork ace organised this weekend's successful Dinghy Fest Regatta for over 100–boats in Crosshaven but in Cowes, UK, he also took Adam Gosling's JPK 10.80 YES! to an overall win of the 1342–boat Round the Island Race.

There were still a few hundred boats needing to finish their 2017 Round the Island Race yesterday, but mathematically none of them were able to dislodge Gosling's Irish crewed YES! from the top of the overall results, hence scoring them the biggest trophy of the day, the Gold Roman Bowl.

Yes JpK10.80YES! Winners of the top trophy, the Gold Roman Bowl. Photo: Tony Marsh

Gosling's crew included O'Leary and James Hynes. O'Leary, who was race director of Dinghy Fest at his Royal Cork Yacht Club, skipped to Cowes to participate in the massive UK race early on Saturday. As soon as O'Leary crossed the line, he was already making plans to be back in time to present the Dinghy Fest prizes at RCYC on Sunday.

Yes Adam goslingAdam Gosling & the crew of YES! joined by (left) Sir Keith Mills and Irish crew man James Hynes of Malahide (back row, right). Missing is Nin O'Leary who is already on his way back to Cork to present Dinghy Fest prizes (below). Photo: Paul Wyeth

nicholas OLeary CorkRound the Island race winner O'Leary (left) on Sunday afternoon with RCYC Admiral John Roche presenting the overall Dinghy Fest award to RS Feva sailors Harry and Simon Pritchard. Photo: Bob Bateman

Often they say that the race is won either by the biggest or the smallest boats and for a time it looked like this would be a big boat race, after an impressive performance from Irvine Laidlaw's Reichel-Pugh 82, Highland Fling XI.

However, with Fling sitting at the top of the results table, Yes! and much of the rest of the IRC1 fleet within which she was racing, stormed home to dislodge a number of previous finishers from the top positions.

Highland Fling did manage to hold onto second, but ultimately Yes! was in another league taking victory by just under eight minutes corrected. Gosling's team a well-known group in the Solent and have won a great many trophies and plaudits but the Round the Island Race win had thus far eluded them.

They join a very special group of 81 winners from the illustrious race.

Published in Royal Cork YC

It was an absolutely flying start from the MOD70 Concise 10. Yesterday evening nobody thought that the course record set by another MOD70, Phaedo3, last year would fall. But their fast time to the Needles and rapid progress down the back of the Island set them up for a solid time. Then favourable winds allowed them to make the finish line on one tack, setting up a last gasp dash to the finish line.

Crossing the line after 2 hours 22 minutes and 23 seconds means they beat Phaedo3's record by exactly one minute! Congratulations to skipper Ned Collier-Wakefield and his team.

It was probably, in truth, not the glorious start that most had hoped for with breeze in the high teens and a little bit of rain combining to give the sailors competing in this 81st edition of the race something of a shock to the system. Still, nothing like a fine bit of British weather to help wake you up at 5am!

But despite this damp start the skies have since become much clearer, the clouds have broken, the rain has gone and the sun is shining. Though the conditions may not have been conducive to lounging in the sun, they certainly gave all of the sailors a fast ride down to the Needles.

We did initially expect to see a large number of boats over the startline with the tide pushing everyone to the west. But, caution seemed to play out for most and, though there were recalls in most classes, the tendency seemed to be just one or two keen starters in each fleet.

Classes Update:
IRC0 - Are currently spread off the SW coast of the Island with the lead boats around St Catherine's Point
IRC1 - The lead boats here are have passed the Needles, many are rounding as this is published with the back markers still on their approach.
IRC2 - The bulk of this fleet are passing through Hurst Narrows and will be heading round the Needles soon.
IRC3 - Are still on the approach to the Needles, with a fair spread. The front of this fleet seems to be doing very well catching up with the slowest of IRC2 who started ahead (and are, of course, faster on paper).
IRC5 - Are also on their approach to the Needles with the bulk of the fleet off Yarmouth.
IRC6 - The head if the fleet are past Newtown and making their way to Yarmouth.
IRC7 - Are mostly bunched together near Newtown.
IRC8 - The final fleet to start are all gathered between Cowes and Newtown (and off Beaulieu).

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Sacrificing his own race to go to the aid of another stricken competitor in the 2016 Round the Island Race has resulted in Jeff Warboys, skipper of a Sigma 33 Workout, being awarded the 2016 Round the Island Race Seamanship Award, sponsored by Haven Knox-Johnston.

Another competing boat, Alchemist, a Dubois half tonner, hit a submerged wreck off the Needles and was rapidly taking on water in strong winds. After making a distress call, the crew quickly dropped sails and then started bailing using the bilge pump. However, and despite their strenuous efforts, the water level rose very quickly.

On board Workout Jeff spotted the frantic activity and approached Alchemist to offer assistance. Although this was declined, as a distress call had already been made, Workout dropped its sails and continued to stand by throughout the wait for the rescue team from the RNLI. This took longer than anticipated owing to other distress calls in the area.

Those on board Alchemist expressed their sincere thanks to Jeff Warboys and his crew for offering assistance at the expense of losing out in their own race.

Thankfully, all six members of the Alchemist crew were uninjured and rescued by the Mudeford RNLI inshore lifeboat team just moments before she sank.

Given all these circumstances, Jeff and his crew still turned in a remarkable 1st in the Sigma 33 class and 9th in his group, IRC 3!

Published in Rescue

In a fast-paced and action-packed day that started at a later than usual 0830 with the firing of the first gun by HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO, Sir Keith Mills' FAST 40+ Invictus missed out on winning the coveted Gold Roman Bowl for the first IRC yacht on corrected time, having to settle for second place. His crew included Invictus Games competitor Zoe Williams, as well as Prince Harry, following a long-standing invitation to compete in the Race this year.

The main prize instead went to Bernard Langley's TP52 Gladiator, which powered around the course to become the second monohull to finish, crossing the line less than four and a half hours after the start.

RECORD SMASHERS!
The biggest news, however, was reserved for Lloyd Thornburg's giant MOD70 trimaran Phaedo^3, which tore round the course in two hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds. In doing so he smashed the record time Sir Ben Ainslie set in 2013 by a stunning 28 minutes.

Despite the unusually testing conditions, only a small percentage of the fleet retired from the race, with the overwhelming majority of competitors - some of whom saw gusts to almost 40 knots - successfully completing the course. By 2100 there were only a handful of the back markers left on the final few miles of the race course. The only prize that was still open before the finish deadline of 2230 was the Tenacity Trophy for last boat to cross the line within the time limit!

All that record-breaking excitement on the water ensured that today's Prizegiving at the Island Sailing Club - the last to be held with a J.P. Morgan Asset Management backdrop - attracted a huge audience for the hour-long presentation of Gold and Silverware.

In the welcome and introduction to the Prizegiving by Vice Commodore Peter Bingham and Race PRO Mike Peskett, generous tributes were paid to numerous ISC teams, many comprised of the 100 or so volunteers that work so hard for the sheer love of the Race, every year. Thanks also went to the Race sponsor and partners and finally the competitors who participated in this 12th and final year of what has been a fantastic partnership.

Supported by the ISC's Flag Officers and today's VIP guest, the record-breaking yachtsman Brian Thompson (and co-helm of Phaedo^3!), Sailing Secretary Chris Thomas got the Prizegiving off to a flying start and kept a rattling pace going throughout.

When asked for his take on this 80th Race in its 85th Anniversary year, ISC Sailing Flag and head of the ISC Race Management team, Dave Atkinson, said:

"It's been more of a challenge this year than we have had in recent years. The heavy weather forced us into making some pretty major decisions in cancelling some classes but we feel that with safety always being paramount, we were entirely justified in doing what we did. There are a few sad faces but many more happy ones. We act as we do with the information that we have and at the end of the day I think it has been an incredibly successful weekend."

Major trophy winners included:

OBSERVER TROPHY & JPMAM TROPHY - First Monohull to finish
GBR1R LEOPARD Mike Slade
GOLD ROMAN BOWL & JPMAM SALVER - First Overall IRC
GBR11152 GLADIATOR Bernard Langley
SILVER ROMAN BOWL & JPMAM SALVER - Second Overall IRC
GBR1851X INVICTUS Sir Keith Mills
ROYAL THAMES CHALLENGE TROPHY & JPMAM SALVER - Third O/A IRC
GBR1682R TOKOLOSHE II Michael Bartholomew
ROYAL LONDON CHALLENGE CUP & JPMAM SALVER - Fourth O/A IRC
GBR4863R YES! Adam Gosling
JPMORGAN TROPHY - First Overall IRC Group 0
GBR11152 GLADIATOR Bernard Langley
OWEN PARKER MEMORIAL TROPHY - First Overall IRC Group 1
GBR4863R YES! Adam Gosling
RAYMARINE RIR YOUNG SAILOR TROPHY
GBR3277L WAVE WHISPERER Richard Barnes
TENACITY TROPHY - Last boat to finish within the time limit
SEASCAPE (John Hulford-Funnell)

Published in Team Racing
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This year's J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island will go down in history as a windy edition of the event. Having shattered the multihull race record in the MOD70 trimaran Phaedo 3, in a time of 2 hours 23 minutes, 23 seconds, owner Lloyd Thornburg and skipper Brian Thompson have stepped ashore to give their first interviews. The American skipper competed last month in the Round Ireland race and was one of three MODs to break that speed record too. 

"Today was incredible - one of the best sails we've ever had on the boat and the sun really shone on us," says Thornburg. "We're over the moon, the team work on board was fantastic and it was just on the edge where we could keep the full main up, so the boat was totally powered up. Reaching and downwind it was right on the edge."

"It was a beautiful day out there," adds Thompson, "but not the perfect conditions for the fastest trip ever. Had we been able to reach the Needles without tacking we might have finished 10 minutes faster, but that would be a really special day."

The largest monohull in the fleet, Mike Leopard's 100ft Leopard, took monohull line honours, but failed to beat the record time he set in 2013 by 13 minutes. The majority of the fleet is now between the Needles and St Catherine's Point, although an increasing number are approaching Bembridge.

Sir Keith Mills' Ker 40+ Invictus is leading the FAST40+ fleet, and rounded Bembridge Ledge around 1230. Reporting from on board, crew member Alex Mills says: "It was pretty fruity down the back of the Island, but we got away with it unscathed."

Between the forts at the eastern end of the island and the finish, the wind is very gusty and very shifty so the top teams will have to fight hard all the way to the end for a good result.

Published in Racing
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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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