Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Tom Kirby

The National 18 ft Class is the largest one design senior dinghy sailing class racing in Cork Harbour writes Kieran O'Connell. It is a three person single trapeze boat. Originally designed in the 1930's by the legendary Uffa Fox, its design has evolved over the decades to ensure it continues to provide performance racing at club level thus attracting a wide range of ages and skill levels.

The Royal Cork YC aims to host the largest ever gathering of National 18's this summer. The 2011 class championship, better known locally as the Cock O' The North, will take place at RCYC in Crosshaven from Sunday 24th to Friday 29th July. In excess of 50 boats are expected to participate. Latest Royal Cork News here.


The class has roots all over Ireland and the United Kingdom. Traditionally the event sees entries from Scotland, London, Cork and Isle of Man. While strong numbers will travel as always from those centres, a feature of this year's event is the addition of entries from Lymington, Gloucester, Swansea, Lough Derg, Lough Neagh, Waterford, Schull, Ballydehob and Baltimore.

The event will cater for all National 18s whether old or new. The fleet will have three distinct divisions at this year's championships. The modern fleet will be known as Ultimate's, with the older fibreglass boats going into the Penultimate division while the original wooden clinker boats will race in the Classic division.

At the front of the ultimate fleet the competition will be intense with Anthony Ellis and crew from the Isle of Man doing their best to retain the crown that they won on home waters last season. However they will face a huge challenge with the likes of Colin Chapman, Nick Walsh and Tom Crosbie from the host club as well as the Barry brothers, Colin and Ewen from Monkstown Bay.


In the penultimate's class the fleet is seeing many older fibreglass boats being refurbished and brought out for the event. Expect to see Willie Healy on 'Break Even' and Grattan Roberts on 'Manniken P' feature strongly.

While the intention among the classics is that racing will not be as intense this division expects to see approximately ten boats from both home and abroad. Wolfgang Felder is travelling from Germany to participate alongside well known Cork sailors like Dick Gibson, Dan Cross and Tom Kirby. An interesting piece of history is that John Murphy of Baltimore SC will race in 'Tornado' which was the first winner of the Cock O'The North back in 1952.

Many former 18 sailors are making their way back to the class in recent times. The likes of John Crotty, Patsy O'Mahony and Bobby Kerr are expected to make it to the start line for this season to add a further element of experience to the fleet.

Among the many trophies to be raced for will be two trophies originally won by the late Richard Lane in Doldrum at the 1961 Championships sailed at Mumbles. The Lane family has kindly donated the trophies to the class and they will be raced for 50 years after Doldrum swept the board at the Welsh venue. While there has been no 18 activity at Mumbles in recent years it is expected that a crew from the club will race this year after the launch of a new pilot project by the class to stimulate 18 sailing in Wales.

Another interesting note to this event is the recent approval of carbon fibre masts and with up to 20% of the fleet already having switched over, eyes will be focused on any improved performance.

Like any good sailing event as much effort has been put into the social aspect. A full week's social programme has been planned ranging from a Christmas party to the Class Dinner. The Class Dinner will also serve as a reunion for former 18 sailors and it is expected that 300 people will attend what will be an historic occasion. All this sailing and socialising is thirsty work and so the class has commissioned a special beer for the week to be known as 'Cock a Doodle Brew' to mark the event.

For more information on the event go to

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.


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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating