16 July 2013

Quarter Ton Cup 2013

The 2013 Quarter Ton Cup was sailed over 15-17 July and was the ninth edition of this series which is now raced under IRC (with ratings of between 0.860 and 0.916) - this accommodates a range of yachts that had originally raced under the three variations of the Quarter Ton IOR rule that ran from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s. The regatta was hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club and attracted 26 of these classic IOR racers.
Fleet start on the first day, with Per Elisa starting well to windward
Racing was tight throughout the fleet and three wins by the 1980 Bruce Farr design and 2007 and 2011 champion Espada on the second day were of the narrowest margins. The races were delayed on each day while the fleet waited for the breeze and several of the teams were hoping that it would fill in early enough on the final day to run multiple races to catch up on Espada's 8 point lead, but it was not to be and only one start was possible before the 14.30 cut off time. Louise Morton and her crew aboard Espada had the regatta in the bag with a race to spare, although they still chose to come out and sail regardless.
Espada (left) and Alice II round a weather mark on the first day
Espada’s position might have been secure, but the battle for the remaining podium places was wide open. Rickard Melander’s Alice II, Bullit, helmed by Ashley Curtis (in Peter Morton's absence), Ian Southworth in Whiskers and Willy McNeil & Mike Pascall’s Illegal Immigrant went into the day separated by just 6.5 points so it was game on.
Illegal Immigrant flew off the start line with the others in hot pursuit. Blackfun was closest of the chasing pack and worried away at them like a terrier with a bone, but Illegal Immigrant’s crew did a text book job of defending their position. Behind the leading pair Alice II, Bullit and Whiskers were slugging away in the front of the pack, all desperate to make it onto the podium. It was so close on the line that the third to ninth placed boats finished within a minute of each other. Ashore it was confirmed that Illegal Immigrant was first with Blackfun second, Alice II third, Bullit fourth, Eric Reynold’s Magnum Evolution fifth and Whiskers sixth. A relaxed Espada cruised home in seventh place to win the Cup.
Blackfun works to windward on the first day
The recent winner of the 2013 Dutch Quarter Ton championship Pinguin Playboy, had their worst day, finishing 12th to end up in sixth place overall.  Former 2009 champion Anchor Challenge was not far behind, in eighth place. 
Windward mark action aboard Bad Toad
The ex-New Zealand yacht Blackfun had a very inconsistent series, opening with an eighth and a first, but was blackflagged in the third race and withdrew from the fourth after a collision at the top mark. On the second day she again showed her potential, posting a second and sixth, but a startline infringement in race 6 led to a disastrous 20th placing. Her second on the final day saw Rob Gray and his crew recover some ground on the overall table, but still finished a disappointing ninth overall.
Blackfun powers off the startline on the second day
Whiskers chases Espada downwind on the final day of racing
Alice II leads the pack downwind on the final day
A triumphant Louise Morton and her crew finish the last race in 7th place to win the 2013 Quarter Ton Cup
Detailed race reports from each day can be found on the Quarter Ton blog and the results and more photos can be seen on the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club site. Images are courtesy of Fiona Brown and Jonathan Hoare. A great video of the second day of racing is here:

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