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.