29 August 2019

The end of the IOR

I recently came across an article penned by well-known yacht designer Julian Everitt and which had been shared to the One Ton Class Facebook page. Julian has been kind enough to allow me to publish his insightful and thought-provoking article here (to which I've added a few images):

A while back David Macfarlane posed the question: “Why did the IOR die?” The answer is surprisingly simple and has little to do with economic downturns, crazy, escalating costs or the perception that the boats were unseaworthy and slow.
 Australia's Ragamuffin during the last Admiral's Cup under IOR in 1993, not long before the eventual demise of the IOR altogether 
The very people, the members of the International Technical Committee (ITC), who were tasked to protect and develop the rule for the benefit of the owners signed the death warrant some six years before the beast was finally deemed extinct. It wasn’t a deliberate act, by any means, it was just kind of allowed to happen as interests grew in the development of a new ‘super’ rule that would cure all the ‘ills’ of offshore handicapping. It was called IMS. The International Measurement System.

IMS was very much an American based initiative formulated by a burgeoning interest in the power of computers as envisioned by ‘idealists’ at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This belief in a ‘perfect’ system filtered into the ITC who then increasingly believed that IMS could replace IOR as THE rule for Grand Prix Offshore Racing. At a stroke IMS was perceived as a handicapping system that would allow the return of ‘wholesome’ cruiser racers to the Grand Prix level.

ILC40s, as a level-rating derivative of the IMS rule, seen here competing in the 1995 Admiral's Cup
The 1976 French cat rigged Mini Tonner L'Effraie
And so the scene was set for a showdown between the two rules. Funnily enough however, this ‘conflict’ largely took place behind closed doors - the closed doors of the ITC. This erstwhile Group of designers and boffins had done a reasonable job of helping to develop the original, Olin Stephens/Dick Carter created Mk 1 IOR, into an ever more complex Mk III IOR. They had dealt with the slings and arrows of ‘cat’ rigs, unballasted daggerboards, extreme overhangs, bumps, chines and many other rule dodgers thrown at it by a vast army of new, young designers. The rule really was the ultimate mathematical, but organic and holistic challenge imaginable and so it required a lot of policing and an awful lot of tweaking.
The Farr One Ton centreboarder, Jenny H, 1977
At the annual ITC meeting always held in November and euphemistically called The November Meetings informal submissions were invited from the ‘floor’ for what would eventually become IOR Mk IV. But the minds of the powers that be were elsewhere. Despite impassioned pleas from designers including Tony Castro, Geoff Stagg, representing Bruce Farr, the Dubois office, myself and several owners to use IOR as the ‘baseline’ for producing more user friendly designs, the ITC elected to promote IMS as the rule for the future. Gary Mull, chairman of the ITC at this time, seemed to be heavily influenced by a growing love affair from American designers, like Dave Pedrick, Bill Tripp and the ‘scientist’ Jerry Milgram, with IMS. Together they envisioned a new breed of fair hulled, moderate designs, with great stability, proper cockpits and fitted out interiors.

The IOR Mk IV, proposed from the audience at the 1988 November meetings promulgated similar outcomes, but utilising the proven and robust linear formulas of IOR rather than the largely unknown reliance on unproven Velocity Predictions inherent in the IMS formula.

Turkish Delight trying to stay on her feet during the 1987 Irish Admiral's Cup trials
In the proposed revisions to IOR, stability would be unmeasured getting rid, at a stoke, of the dreaded Centre of Gravity Factor - a measurement fraught with inaccuracies and held largely responsible for producing unstable boats and ones overly dependent on crew weight on the rail. CGF was also directly responsible for such undesirable idiosyncrasies as beam waterline bumps.

Gone too would be the ubiquitous 150 percent overlap on headsails which gave unrated sail area. This change would have opened the door to the development of non-overlap rigs.

Victory (left), Hitchhiker and Pinta sporting their big no.1 genoas during the first race of the 1981 Admiral's Cup 
The accursed creases and distortions around the aft girth measurements was to be addressed also. One simple suggestion was to rule out any form of reverse inflection in the aft profile. The days of the bustle were virtually over anyway and of course all of our proposed rule changes could be easily ‘grandfathered’ to prevent the existing fleet suffering too much. In reality small changes to the aft girth stations and most particularly the girth differences between inner and outer girth stations would have produced fuller, wider and fairer sterns in short order, while maintains an element of choice. Choice being a factor missing from today’s rules.

While the outcomes of such changes cannot ever be accurately predicted, cause and effect is highly influential in a formula like IOR. The simple removal of the penalty on stability would have quickly allowed designers to create lighter boats as stability could have been found in low CG keels rather than hull form and brute overall weight. In turn lighter and more powerful boats would have pointed the way to fuller sterns.

Gunboat Rangiriri - one of the new breed of Farr-designed light displacement centreboarders of 1977, showing the relatively clean lines that were possible before the ITC forced an increase in displacement
But the ITC very systematically destroyed these arguments as unworkable and felt IMS was a much more effective way of achieving the same outcomes. In fairness to the ITC a number of designers, including Rob Humphries - a member of the ITC board at the time - had IMS designs out racing that did showcase the rule rather well. But this was to be a short lived moment.

And so the ITC policy was set at that fateful November meeting in 1988. The two rules would run in parallel while the anomalies inherent in the VPP-driven IMS were sorted out and a new era of dual purpose offshore racers would begin.

Work would continue on the development of IOR, but with none of the suggested fundamental changes implemented. A Mk IV Rule was duly drafted, but few in authority had any real enthusiasm for it. As far as they were concerned IOR was dying and IMS was the new kid on the block to be nurtured.

The Whitbread Maxi ketch Steinlager 2 
In an earlier attempt by the ITC to be more inclusive of heavier, more cruising orientated boats an IOR MK IIIA was introduced, but this backfired spectacularly when Bruce Farr, in particular, exploited the carelessly drafted rule by producing the heavier, but much longer Steinlager 2 Whitbread Maxi in 1989. This amazing own goal of a rule amendment created by the ITC finally allowed the creation of the all conquering inshore Maxi Matador. Far from allowing the development of heavier, more fitted out boats, the Mk IIIA rule simply promoted heavier stripped out boats which in the case of the Maxi’s allowed them to effectively gain 3ft, or so, of unmeasured length. This was one of many misdirections the ITC took in trying to ‘protect’ the rule and it had a seriously deleterious effect on owner confidence.
Matador 2, the biggest and fastest of the IOR Maxis 
But back to the ITC meetings of November 1988. I remember it like yesterday, Geoff Stagg’s final reaction to the ITC intragency. “We don’t really care what you do. Just give us any rule and we’ll go off and design winners for it”.

Gaucho (above and below)
And that is precisely what happened. Within two years Farr had produced the ultimate Grand Prix IMS boat in the form of the 43ft Gaucho. But it wasn’t the beginning of the new era predicted by the rule makers of elegance and internal comfort. Gaucho signalled a very different future. Her overhangs were very short, freeboard was high, the sheer line straight and the interior just as stripped as an IOR boat except for the introduction of a door on the ‘head’ compartment. Other required features like a galley and saloon table were treated with token gestures expensively built in carbon. But much more significantly, in order for velocity predictions to work ‘accurately’, actual stability had to be measured. It wasn’t long before lead was being replaced by wood at the bottom of keels. Not exactly the promised land of wholesome cruiser racers envisioned by the rule makers.

But while IMS continued to be promoted as the solution to ‘fair’ global offshore yacht racing IOR struggled on, shouldering virtually all of the blame for declining racing fleets.

I remember talking to Olin (Stephens) about it all. He was very sanguine - perhaps even a little surprised by the way IOR had developed, but ever the enthusiast for a mathematical solution he liked the theories behind IMS and perhaps felt that the apparent shortcomings in the IOR could be addressed more effectively by the overarching qualities of IMS. It was a mathematically-based theory that wasn’t born out in practice.

With the advantage of a 21st century perspective and taking into account yacht racing developments since the death of IOR in 1994, would keeping IOR been better for the sport as a whole? In terms of continuity and preventing the explosion of multiple, fleet sapping alternative classes, it would assuredly have been beneficial. But it did need a major shot in the arm at the end of the 1980s to reassure an ever more cynical owner base that their worries were being addressed.

Cookson's High 5 followed the Gaucho theme and was dominant in the 2000 Kenwood Cup 
In the rarefied atmosphere of Whitbread sponsored global racing, Bruce Farr, once again, showed the way. As IOR lay on its deathbed - an outcome accelerated by clumsy attempts to update events like the Admiral’s Cup with the proposed introduction of one designs and IMS handicapping - Farr, in tandem with the foresight of the Whitbread race committee who allowed asymmetric spinnakers to be flown, discarded the ‘heavy’ design route he had produced with Steinlager 2 and produced a new Maxi design that was some 7,500kgs lighter. This much lighter design was a great deal quicker around the world and potentially showed a new beginning for lightweight IOR racers. Sadly, however, these three Farr ketches, La Poste, Merit Cup and New Zealand Endeavour, were one of the last throws of the dice for IOR.
New Zealand Endeavour - one of three new Farr-designed Whitbread Maxi ketches for the 1993-94 race 
But back to theorising about where IOR could have led in design terms. Would keeping a highly modified version of the rule kept ocean racing on its feet? Would it have prevented the almost total demise of classic events like the Ton Cups, the Admiral’s Cup, the Kenwood, the Southern Cross, the Onion Patch, the SORC? Who knows? Maybe it was all about economics or personal time management, but what I do know is that the defining legacy of IOR was its success at global continuity in offshore racing. To have made the decision to ditch this in favour of a hugely more flawed IMS was a grave mistake.

Would a boat designed to an updated version of IOR as suggested back in 1988 at the ITC meetings evolved into something equivalent to today’s high performance designs as typified by the IRC racers, TP52’s and Fast 40’s? Yes. Is the simple answer. Advances in lightweight construction, appendage design, carbon spars would have all contributed hugely, but the biggest single factor effecting overall design and concept would have been the removal of attempting to measure stability. Just as is the case today, boats would not have become more stable, but would simply have become significantly lighter and capable of carrying larger rigs effectively. These are the primary elements driving the performance in today’s designs.

To have arrived at this point in the genesis of the offshore yacht within the IOR style framework would have resulted in far more fleet continuity across the globe and possibly allowed the major offshore championships to survive the various financial challenges and rule uncertainties that killed them off.

Julian's article concludes with the above image of his 43 footer Backlash, with the caption "It's not easy to pick a single picture that represents the entire IOR era from 1970 to 1994, but this comes from a high point of the rule in 1985. Fleets were huge and there was enormous variety of design from a multitude of designers".

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.