Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Royal Cork's Anchor Challenge Racing at Quarter Ton Cup, Day One Blown Out

14th September 2017
RCYC 'At Home' winner Anchor Challenge is the only Irish Quarter Ton Cup in Cowes this week RCYC 'At Home' winner Anchor Challenge is the only Irish Quarter Ton Cup in Cowes this week Photo: Bob Bateman

Strong winds prevent play on opening day of Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2017. 23–boats are entered for the event with a single Irish boat in the line up of exquisitely prepared classic race boats – along with some of the world's best sailors – have gathered in Cowes for the 13th edition of the Cup.

Paul Gibbons and the Anchor Challenge crew (including four–time Olympian Mark Mansfield onboard ) from Royal Cork Yacht Club are in the high–end fleet with competitors drawn from four countries.

As regular Afloat.ie readers will recall ICRA Champ Gibbons was in warm up mode late last month at his Cork club's At-Home regatta taking the top prize in Crosshaven. The RCYC sailor is also an inaugural IRC Euro champ, earning that honour at Cork Week 2016.

As ever, there's a diverse variety of sailors, ranging from members of Ben Ainslie's 2017 Land Rover BAR America's Cup team, through seasoned trans-Atlantic solo racers, to long-standing Solent gurus. However, parachuting in a team of hot-shot experts is no guarantee of winning this event - it's often the crews that have practiced and raced together over a longer period that have the consistency to come out on top.

Cork Harbour sailors has won the revived 'Corinthian' division of the Cup three times since 2005. Royal Cork's George Kenefick won it twice in 2011 and 2012 (and earned him Afloat Sailor of the Year award) and in 2014 Cork Harbour's Illes Pitiuses sailed by Dominic and Jason Losty were also winners.

The opening day dawned with blue skies and a brisk 20-25 knot westerly breeze. However, with the wind forecast to increase during the morning, the fleet was held ashore while two mark laying RIBs ventured out at 1100 to check on conditions first hand, which led to a decision to abandon racing for the day.

"We've been out on the Hill Head Plateau, where there's 22-25 knots of wind, with a sharp Solent chop and broken water," explained Principal Race Officer, Robert Lamb of the Royal Southampton YC, "...and there's no prospect of the wind dropping before the tide turns to the west later this afternoon, when the wind against tide will kick up an even worse sea state."

With the two Quarter Tonners that broke rigs during this year's Cowes Week serving as a fresh reminder of the relatively fragile nature of these boats, there was overwhelming support for the decision from owners and sailors. "I think everyone will be pleased, especially at this stage of the regatta, where you don't want to risk damage," said Tom Hill, owner of the newly restored Belinda.

Hill is a long-standing Quarter Ton owner, having sailed Runaway Bus for several years, before buying and refitting Belinda. "The standard is very high in the fleet," Hill says, "so you have to keep improving and you learn a lot by sailing against the strongest teams. Belinda is a fairer shape than Runaway Bus and is a much better boat in stronger breezes. John [Corby] did a fantastic job - the boat is now very rigid and feels really solid in a way that's lacking in some older boats."

Tomorrow the forecast is for a west-north-westerly breeze averaging 15 knots, but with significantly strong gusts. The intention is to complete four 45-minute races, with the first warning signal for the 23-strong fleet at 1100.

Leave a comment

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

DBSC
nyc sidebutton flag

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

chmarine sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating