22 May 2019

Italian Half Ton Cup 2019

From May 9th to 12th the Italian Open Half Ton Classics Championship was held on May 9th to 12th, hosted by the Tecnomar Nautical Club in Fiumicino. This year's event was attended by two strong foreign crews, an Irish team led by David Cullen, winner of the last Half Ton Cup, who chartered local boat Gunboat Rangiriri from Claudio Massucciand the Finnish and Belgian team of Toni Stoshek who brought his fast Superhero (photo, right) to Italy for the series.
Claudio Massucci's Gunboat Rangiriri- chartered by the Dave Cullen's Irish "Checkmate" team for the 2019 Italian Half Ton series
There was a modest fleet of ten boats, most of whom were largely original but Superhero has been modified and is now a “modern” Half Tonner so was the expected winner being only one of its type at the regatta. Massucci has taken great pride and effort to keep Gunboat Rangiriri in its original configuration and so she still sports running backstays, and a centreboard.
Superhero chases Gunboat Rangiriri during the Italian Half Ton series
Conditions on the first day forced the race committee to cancel the scheduled races, but three races were held on the following day in winds between 8 and 12 knots. This saw close racing between Gunboat Rangiriri, Superhero, Pili Pili (Gorgio Martini) and Stern (Massimo Morasca), with the Irish crew posting 3,1,1, against Superhero's 1,3,2 and Pili Pili's 2,2,3, while Stern couldn't break past fourth place.
The start of the long coastal race, with the Elena Celeste in the foreground
The next day was the 22-mile Long Coastal Race with a points loading of 1.5 and was also the first round of the traditional Tiber Grand Prix event dedicated to all IOR boats. Light winds from the south-east allowed for timely start in which Gunboat Rangiriri and Stern took an early lead, with Superhero and Pili Pili lagging behind. Gunboat Rangiriri rounded the buoy in front of Ostia first, after a five-mile haul, followed by Stern,Superhero, Pili Pili and Prydwen (Davide Castiglia, with Gunboat's Massucci also on board).
Superhero (left) and Massimo Morasca's Stern round the mark off Ostia during the long coastal race
In the following leg of 11 miles and at the next mark off Fregene Superhero and Pili Pili pulled through to match the early leaders, with Prydwen also threatening the front boats. The breeze dropped for the final 6-mile beat, into adverse current from the nearby mouth of the Tiber. Superhero managed to control their opponents and took the race win, followed by Pili Pili and Gunboat Rangiriri.
Gunboat Rangiriri being worked up between races by her Irish crew
To take the Cup, Cullen and his crew needed a win in the last race, a short coastal race of 11 miles, with Superhero third. In winds starting at 2 knots and finishing in 16, it looked like Gunboat Rangiriri had pulled it off and were congratulated by Superhero. As the crews packed up their boats, Prydwen came in to take the win on corrected time to take away Gunboat Rangiri’s victory - but it was a bittersweet win for Massucci,Gunboat Rangiriri’s owner, who was sailing on Prydwen and ended up having a hand in scuppering his own boat’s victory.
Prydwen - fifth overall, but winner of the final race, the short offshore
So the Italian title went to Superhero in first place overall, and also collecting the Half Ton Europe trophy and the coveted challenge cup "Peppino Morasca" for line honours in the Long Coastal Race. Pili Pili received the Challenge Half Ton Class Italia Trophy for victory in the Italian Campinato.
Pili Pili, took third overall 
Visit the Half Ton Class Italia website here, and a story on the event on the Irish "Afloat" website here.

21 April 2019

Regates Royales 2019

The 41st Regates Royales, organised by the Yacht Club de Cannes, will be held on 22nd to  28th September 2019 in Cannes, France.  This year, the organisers have included a division for "classic" One Tonners, being those "yachts designed or built from January 1965 of 22ft RORC minimum rating for yachts built before 1971, including One Tonner having participated in 1965/1966 editions having a design or construction prior to 1965, and 27.5ft rating minimum IOR for yachts built between 1971 and 1976 (yachts produced industrially from IOR plan are not allowed)". The regatta will use the ORC measurement system, and  more details can be seen on the event website here.

Doug Peterson's breakthrough One Tonner Ganbare, now owned and sailed by Don Woodhas competed in this regatta with some distinction over previous years.  The attached photographs were taken last year when she flew her new downwind sail wardrobe, including a modern take on the blooper.  The blooper was built by Peter Sanders, of Sanders Sails of Lymington UK - Classic Sails Division.  Sanders has been making sails since the 1970s and so his loft has a lot of experience in IOR sailplans, and made the remainder of Ganbare's sails which have helped Ganbare to victory in the Panerai Med Classic Challenge two years running.  

Wood notes that two of his crew used to race in the heydays of the IOR, so have had some fun recalling and using their skills in the optimal setting of a blooper sail, which involves trimming not just the sheet, but the halyard and tackline as well, while also trimming the spinnaker sheet and brace!

An earlier article noting a new allowance for bloopers under ORR can be seen here.

15 January 2019

Locura - reborn

It was great to hear from Mathieu in Naples, France, who is putting the final touches on what looks like a very comprehensive restoration of the Soverel 43, Locura, famous for her Class D win at the 1983 SORC, and which went on to compete for the US team in the 1983 Admiral's Cup.  Details of her history over that period can be seen hereLocura is due to go back in the water in the next month or two.

Locura seen here during the 1983 SORC

3 November 2018

Magic Bus - Relaunched!

After an amazing restoration effort, the Paul Whiting-designed Magic Bus, winner of the 1976 Quarter Ton Cup, was relaunched at Milford Marina in Auckland on 3 November 2018, and recently featured on TV One news.  The story of Magic Bus can be seen in earlier articles here, along with part of her restoration here.
Preparing to go back in the water
In the water and floating high at the bow without her internal ballast yet fitted. Magic Bus retains her original lines, appendages and rig
Magic Bus, back in the water at Milford Marina 

The deck and cockpit layout (above and below) remains original, but with new lines and fittings

A piece of New Zealand sailing history - reborn 

27 August 2018

Half Ton Classics Cup 2018

Checkmate XV, winner of the 2018 Half Ton Classics Cup, rounds a windward mark on Day 2 of the series (all photos from the Half Ton Classics Cup website)
With a convincing win in the final spectacular race run in glorious sunshine and big seas off Nieuwpoort, Checkmate XV (1985 Humphreys) and her crew of owner David Cullen, Darragh O’Connor, Nin O’Leary, Jonathan Sargent, Aidan Beggan, Niki Potterton and Frank Rothchild of the Howth Yacht Club claimed a well deserved overall victory in the 2018 Half Ton Classics Cup. For Checkmate XV this was the third time she had earnt the right to have her name engraved on the Half Ton Classics Cup (equalling the legendary Swuzzlebubble’s record) and for David and his team is was their second win, the first also being here in Nieuwpoort in 2015.
Checkmate XV seen here on a busy startline on the first day of racing
The final race was a cracker, sailed in a 14-16 knot westerly, huge seas and glorious sunshine. The first start was recalled so Race Officer Paul Charlier pulled out the U Flag and on the second attempt everyone behaved. It was nip and tuck all the way with Robbie Tregear’s Per Elisa (1992 Ceccarelli) initially heading the fleet from Philippe Pilate’s General Tapioca (1978 Berret), Checkmate XV, Toni Stoschek & Janne Tukolas’ Superhero (1988 Andrieu), Tom Florizoone’s Red Cloud (1981 Joubert), Paul Wayte’s Headhunter (1984 Van de Stadt) and Jonny Swan’s Harmony (1980 Humphreys). But the Irish team dug deep and by the final turn for home Checkmate XV had a decent lead with Per Elisa, Harmony and General Tapioca now hard on her heels. 
Red Cloud (fifth overall) powers her way upwind on the final day
At the finish Checkmate XV took the race by 52 seconds, with Harmony second from Per Elisa and General Tapioca fourth. Sadly a technical issue with the committee boat’s anchor made a second race impossible and so the championship closed with eight races completed.
Superhero in light airs on the first day (finished sixth overall)
In his thank you speech at the prize giving David Cullen made a few special presentations of his own before reflecting that “Being a Half Ton owner is a bit like being a heroin addict, you don’t really enjoy it but its very hard to stop! And a lot of that comes down to the camaraderie in this room and in this class". It was a sentiment that clearly hit the right note with the assembled crowd and he then went on to particularly thank Class Chairman Philippe Pilate and Class Secretary Bert Janssen for all their work in driving and supporting the class.
Checkmate XV in action on the final day of racing
In the Vintage IOR Division Albert Pierrard & An Callens’ A+ (1985 Nissen) had a superb last race loving every minute of the downwind sleigh rides, with Waverider second by 47 seconds and Nicolas Lejeune’s Skippy’s Ton (1984 Briand) third. At the prizegiving it was confirmed that the first ever winner of the new Vintage IOR Trophy was the local Belgian boat Waverider sailed by owner Jaques Lemaire, Michael Gendebien, Thibout de Kenchous, Michel Lefebure, Stephove Putseys, Winnie Berteloot and Pascal Aboosha. Ivan Van Burm’s Fantasy (1980 Humphreys) took second place by a mere half point from A+ in third.
Another packed startline during the 2018 Half Ton Classics Cup, with second placed Harmony in the foreground
Alongside the main trophies two further special prizes were also announced. The first was the Half Ton Classics Cup Corinthian Trophy, which goes to the top performing all amateur crew and was won by Rampage (1985 Briand) sailed by owner John Hicks, Rod Wootton, Will Parkinson, Mike Chamberlain, Becky Leach, Jane Hicks and Joe Cable from Cornwall, UK.

Blue Beret (left) and Skippy's Ton (right) sailing upwind during the 2018 Half Ton Classics Cup
The final prize presented is always the Spirit of Half Ton Trophy and it goes to the team who best embody that certain hard to define something that sums up the true heart of the Half Ton Class. For rescuing and totally rebuilding their boat against all the odds after she was almost completely destroyed when a crane fell on her some three years ago, this year the Spirit of Half Ton Trophy was presented to Nicolas Lejeune and Waverider. Waverider is a truly special Half Tonner; designed by Laurie Davidson in 1977 she won two consecutive Half Ton Cups in 1978 off Poole and in 1979 off Scheveningen. Her reconstruction has been a work of love and dedication by Nicolas and his friends and family, with the support of boat builders and fellow Half Ton sailors Tom Florizoone (Red Cloud) and Ian Van Burm (Fantasy). Waverider is a wooden boat so first she had to be put into a jig and left to settle back into shape before the rebuild could start. That work could only begin a few months ago and took the team until the night before the regatta to complete. The very first time the sailed the boat after her relaunch was the first race of this championship, so this was a hugely popular win and the entire team came to the stage to raucous cheers and applause.
Waverider in lighter airs on the second day (fourth overall and winner of the Vintage division)
There were thank yous to the many volunteers and sponsors who have made the event possible and every team taking part was called forward to receive gifts and prizes before Master of Ceremonies Bert Janssen confirmed that the next Half Ton Classics Cup will be held in 2020 and will be hosted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in Cowes (dates to be confirmed). Finally Commodore Baudouin Meyhui of the Koninklijke Yacht Club Nieuwpoort thanked the competitors, wished them safe journeys home and hoped that they would all be back in Nieuwpoort again very soon.
Per Elisa (third overall) on the downwind leg on the second day of racing

11 August 2018

Half Ton Classics Cup 2018 Preview

The Half Ton Class makes a welcome return to Nieuwpoort in Belgium for the 2018 Half Ton Classics Cup, which will take place from 20 to 24 August 2018 and will be hosted by the Koninklijke Yachtclub Nieuwpoort.

The event will see some 20 vintage yachts built to the IOR Half Ton Rule compete over five days of racing for the prestigious Half Ton Classics Cup and a number of additional special trophies. New for this edition is the introduction of a Vintage IOR Class open to all non-modified Half Tonners (except mast and keel). Among them eleven boats from the local fleet (A+, Fantasy, Half Duke, Petit Izoï, Envol, Skippy's Ton, Farther Bruin, Spip, Ballerine, Red Cloud and Waverider) are already confirmed as competing in this division which is expected to provide some exciting and challenging competition.

As always, the event will attract teams from across Europe to compete and this year an Italian crew will be joining the fray for the first time. Sailing the 1989 Berret designed Blue Berret Pi/Team Italia, Jérôme Spilleboudt and Massimo Morasca and their crew come to the event as reigning Italian Half Ton National Champions and are expected to give the fleet a good run for their money.

Many of those competing are old friends of the class. From Ireland Dave Cullen will be bringing the 1985 Humphreys designed Checkmate XV and Jonny Swan will be racing Harmony, an earlier Humphreys' design from 1980. From the English west country comes Robbie Tregear's 1992 Ceccarelli designed Per Elisa, whilst Toni Stoschek & Janne Tukolas make the trip all the way from Finland with their 1988 Andrieu designed Superhero.
Racing during the 2016 Half Ton Classics Cup
The Belgian home fleet are putting up a good showing with Philippe Pilate's General Tapioca (1978 Berret) leading a strong team that includes Waverider skippered by Jacques Lemaire (1977 Davidson), Ian Van Burm's Fantasy (1980 Humphreys), Maël Danis' Envol (1980 Joubert) and Thibaut Martin's Spip (1984 Humphreys).
It's good to hear that Waverider will be back in the fray this year, here she is sailing in 2012
It is always a delight to see one of Ron Holland's legendary Golden Shamrocks taking part in the Half Ton Classics Cup and this year Half Duke will represent the class with a very special all girl crew aboard, who will be racing to represent the NGO "Mothers & Midwives Support" which is gathering funds to finance an ambulance boat for the Monvu Hospital and Idjwi Island in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On Wednesday evening of the regatta the team will present their project in the yacht club, where they will be joined by Olympic Laser Radial Bronze Medalist Evi Van Acker, who is a "godmother" to "Mothers & Midwives Support".
Racing during the 2016 Half Ton Classics Cup
Registration for the event will open on Sunday 19 August and there will be practice racing that afternoon. Championship racing runs from Monday 20 to Friday 24 August inclusive and will feature a mixture of windward/leeward, short coastal and long coastal courses, with a maximum of three races being sailed each day.
A tight start for the fleet during the 2016 Half Ton Classics Cup
Further details including the Notice of Race, online Entry and Sailing Instructions can all be found at www.halftonclasssicscup.com, where daily news updates will also be posted. You can also follow the regatta on the Half Ton Class Facebook page.

Media wishing to attend the event should contact Press Officer Fiona Brown on fiona.brown@fionabrown.com or +44 (0)7711 718470.

30 May 2018

Bullfrog (Peterson 55)

Bullfrog (photo Dick Foat/DPT FB Page)
Bullfrog was Doug Peterson-designed 55 footer (Design #116) that had a very successful racing career through the early 1980s. Bullfrog was built for Californian yachtsman David Fenix by Newport Offshore in aluminium using a method to glue and rivet the skins to the frames instead of welding. This allowed for much thinner aluminium skin to be used. She was finished in a deep green topsides with white bottom which, allied with a sleek bow and stern profile and flush deck, resulted in a striking looking yacht.   

Bullfrog was perhaps the archetype of the heavy and powerful, masthead-rigged IOR yacht of the 1980s, but one that displayed the more balanced and easily driven lines of Peterson's later design approach than his earlier pintail types. Her IOR rating certificate shows a Centre of Gravity Factor well above the minimum (0.984) for good windward performance, and a relatively low rating of 44.4ft (under Mk IIIA). When well sailed as Bullfrog was, this type remained competitive in a transition period towards lighter fractional-rigged yachts, and she was the dominant IOR 'A' boat on the US West Coast over three years - she won the Big Boat Series twice as well as Long Beach Race Week.
Bullfrog emerges from the shed at Newport Offshore and ready for launching, below (photos Doug Peterson Tribute page)

Bullfrog also formed part of the US "Blue" team in the 1982 Clipper Cup, the bi-annual international regatta held in Hawaii, where she sailed alongside Clay Bernard's Davidson 50 Great Fun, and Jim Kilroy's Holland Maxi Kialoa IV.  Bullfrog was helmed by Tom Blackaller in this series, and started the regatta strongly, with a second in the first and second races, both Olympic triangles, and like the rest of the regatta, was held in very windy conditions.
Bullfrog sailing upwind in San Francisco (photo Diane Betson, Doug Peterson Tribute page)

Bullfrog powers upwind (photo Yachting magazine)
But Bullfrog experienced continual problems through the series with her mast, a small-section triple-spreader Stearn spar. It featured an internal spinnaker boom track which also served as a stiffening member, but this came adrift regularly and its fastenings, however bolstered, were never quite strong enough for the job. She was sailed conservatively in the 143-mile Molokai Race, in very fresh conditions that saw many breakages throughout the fleet, but still managed a creditable fourth place in Class B (of 15 boats - her overall position in that race is not known). 
Bullfrog sails downwind with spinnaker and blooper flying (photo Seahorse)
Bullfrog put in another strong performance in the fourth race, another Olympic triangle, finishing second, and went into the heavily weighted last race, the Round the State race, in first place overall, with team-mate Great Fun close behind in second. In the Round the State, Bullfrog again performed strongly in the early stages. But at the southern point of the island of Hawaii (not surprisingly known as South Point), while sailing alongside Jumpin' Jack Flash and several Class A boats in 15 knots of breeze, a toggle supporting the forestay at the masthead broke.  The repair took several hours and with it went any chance of winning the series, and dragged Bullfrog down to 11th place overall (and fourth in Class B). While Great Fun also dropped to fifth overall, Kialoa IV was well-placed in fourth after a dominant performance in the final race, and the US Blue team took out overall team honours for the series.
Bullfrog in strong reaching conditions in the 1984 Clipper Cup, just to leeward of the Soverel 55 The Shadow
The 1982 Clipper Cup also featured Monty Livingston's Peterson 50 Checkmate, which finished in ninth place overall.  Bullfrog was later taken over by Livingston and his Checkmate team, and was renamed accordingly.  This has caused some confusion over the years with the earlier Checkmate, with both boats retaining the same name. The new Checkmate (or 'Checkfrog') sailed in the 1984 Clipper Cup for the US White team, alongside Tomahawk, a Frers 50 (ex-Margaret Rintoul III), and Camouflage, a Frers 44. 
Checkmate (ex-Bullfrog) and team-mate Tomahawk (below) slide downwind during the 1984 Clipper Cup
In this series, Checkmate was again dominant through the first four races of the series, with placings of 1/1/3/1, with Checkmate and Tomahawk more than holding their own against the fast Farr 40's Exador and Pacific Sundance (sailing for the New Zealand 'A' team, alongside the Frers 43 Shockwave).  While Camouflage was less impressive, the US White team went into the final triple-point Round the State race just behind New Zealand A. 

Checkmate again came unstuck in the Round the State race, being punished for a conservative rhumb line course down to South Point, and her eventual long beat to this turning point in the course knocked her out of the running for overall honours, finishing 15th, and dropping to ninth overall, while Tomahawk also finished relatively poorly in 12th and dropping to fourth overall. This demonstrated the effect of the heavy points weighting of the Round the State, as Checkmate and Tomahawk were clearly the form boats to that stage, having captured all of the Class B firsts and seconds in the first four races. However, while Camouflage was the weak link in the team, she had a stronger showing in the Round the State (fifth), and with Exador losing her mast in a freak wave off South Point, the US White team were able to carry off an overall team win. 

Aside from her forays and success in the Big Boat Series, the later racing exploits of Checkmate are unknown.  However, a video exists from 2008 where she remained in her original livery and was part of a sailing school (image above).  Later, she was advertised for sale in 2014 while based in San Diego (photo and link below).
Checkmate in a 2014 advertisement by Yachtfinders (see here for more photos)