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Checkmate Crew Bridesmaid in Italian Half Ton Cup

14th May 2019
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The Checkmate crew racing Gunboat Rangiri in Italy The Checkmate crew racing Gunboat Rangiri in Italy

With the difficulty in towing in Italy for wide loads and the fact that there is no Half Ton Cup this year in Europe, Dave Cullen chartered the legendary Farr 1977 Half Tonner “Gunboat Rangiri” for the Italian Half Ton Cup in Fiumicino last week. Its owner Claudio Massucci has taken great pride and effort to keep the boat original and it still had runners and a centreboard.

There was a modest fleet of ten boats, most of whom were largely original but David’s normal competitor, Superhero came from Belgium via Marseille and Corsica. Superhero, formerly from Howth, has since been modified and is now a “modern” half tonner so was the expected winner being only one of its type at the regatta.

With no time for practice, day one was blown out. Day two provided a great day of c.12 knots with bumpy seas and blazing sunshine. Gunboat was hit by a boat on port taking out their lifelines but scores of 3,2 & 1 put Gunboat Rangiri on the top of the overnight leader board. Saturday was a non-discardable long coastal race which was won by Superhero with Gunboat Rangiri third reversing the overnight leader board. They even managed to be hit by a Laser on port on the coastal race so it seemed they were a magnet to boats on port.

To take the Cup, the Checkmate crew needed a win in Sunday’s short coastal race with Superhero third. In winds starting at 2 knots and finishing in 16, it looked like Gunboat Rangiri had pulled it off and were congratulated by Superhero. As the crews packed up their boats, one of the lowest rating backmarkers “Prydwen” came in way afterwards to win the coastal race and blow Gunboat’s victory. It was somewhat ironic that Gunboat’s owner was sailing on Prydwen so scuppered his own boat’s victory.

The Checkmate crew, consisting of Dave Cullen, Nigel Biggs, Pete Evans, Aidan Beggan, Franz Rothschild, Jonny Sargent and Gary Cullen enjoyed some great hospitality and some of that famous champagne sailing.

Published in Half Tonners
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Irish Sailing Classes and Association – There’s no shortage of one-design classes from which to choose and each gives its enthusiasts great competition, fun and camaraderie, writes Graham Smith in this review of the classes. 

One-design racing is where it all starts. It is, after all, where all the top sailors earned their stripes, battling away for line honours without a thought for a handicapper’s calculator wiping away a hard-fought victory!

Indeed, you could count on less than one hand the number of top Irish sailors who didn’t cut their teeth in a one-design dinghy! Just think of Cudmore, Barrington, Watson, Wilkins, Hennessy and Dix to name a few and you realise that they honed their skills in everything from Enterprises to Lasers and a lot in between.

At present count, there are a little over 30 one-design classes in Ireland, split almost evenly between dinghies and keelboats, a statistic which might raise a few eyebrows. They range from the long-established Mermaids, IDRA14s and Dragons to the newer additions like Fevas, Topaz and RS Elite. They all fill a particular need and give their owners and crews considerable enjoyment.

Many have attracted their World or European Championships to Irish waters over the years and while 2009 is notable for a lack of such events here, the following year will see the Etchells Worlds at Howth and perhaps a few other international regattas too.

In addition to the review, we asked each class to complete a questionnaire giving details of their fleet numbers, whether they were on a growth pattern or holding their own, so we could highlight those ‘on the up’ and those remaining static in terms of numbers. The older traditional designs, as you might imagine, fall into the latter category, although that’s not a negative!

CLASS REVIEW  The State of the Classes – League Table (as at February 2009)

S = Static; U = Up/growing

275     Optimist   U

200+   Laser   S

189     Mermaid   S

160     Flying Fifteen   S

130     RS Feva   U

115     Shannon One Design    U

100+   Mirror   S

100+   Topper   U

99       Topaz   U

94       Laser SB3   U

87       GP14   U

85       Squib   S

70       Fireball   S

70       Ruffian   S

60       J24   S

60       Shipman   S

52       Dragon   S

50       RS400/200   S

50       420    U

43       Multihulls    U

42       Dragon    S

40       Water Wags    U

40       Wayfarer    S

34       IDRA14    U

33       Puppeteer    U

28       Etchells    S

27       E-Boat    U

26       Glen    S

25       Enterprise    S

18       Sigma 33    S

18       Howth 17    U

13       RS Elite    U

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