2 April 2015

The One Ton Cup

Where is the One Ton Cup now? 

This article provides some background of this famous trophy, and will hopefully renew efforts to locate it and make it available again for competition for ex-One Ton class yachts.

One Ton yachts were the glamour level rating class in the era of offshore yacht racing. Level rating was the non-handicap form of racing under the IOR, where each boat was designed to the same rating, or ‘Ton’ class. The One Tonners had the ‘Coupe Internationale du Cercle de la Voile de Paris’, or the One Ton Cup, as its holy grail. The impressive trophy was designed in 1897 by Parisian jeweler Robert Bratiau in the Art Nouveau style, and formed of hammered silver, and weighs 10kg, and stands at just under a metre high. 
Rainbow II - winner of the last One Ton Cup held under RORC rules in 1969, and winner of the One Ton Revisited regatta held in Auckland in 2015 (photo Ivor Wilkins)
The One Ton Cup was so named because it was presented in 1899 by the Cercle de la Voile de Paris (CVP) for competition by boats with fixed keels, rated at one ton or less under the French tonnage (or Godinet) rule of 1892. These small boats, approximately 5m on the waterline, raced in Cowes or on the Seine until 6-metre class yachts were used for the trophy following the advent of the IYRU International Rule.  
Wai Aniwa - winner of the One Ton Cup in 1972, seen here racing in the One Ton Revisited regatta in 2015 (photo RNZYS)
The last One Ton Cup in 6-metres was held in 1962. In 1965 the CVP declared that it should be used for yachts racing boat for boat at a maximum specified RORC rating, set at 22ft. The clubs at La Rochelle soon after gave the Half Ton Cup for boats with an 18ft rating, and the Quarter Ton Cup for boats with a 15ft rating. The additional international racing that occurred under this arrangement became a major influence on the whole process for a change towards an international rating rule. With the arrival of IOR in 1970, it was agreed to use the same level rating concept. Thus in 1971 the One Ton class limit was set at 27.5ft IOR, yielding similar sized yachts, if a little larger, than their RORC equivalents, and was raced at this level until 1983. 
Gumboots - winner of the Cup in 1974 (held in Torquay)

In this period the One Ton Cup was the premier offshore series for true international competition - a hotbed of design development led by the likes of Dick Carter, Sparkman & Stephens, Doug Peterson, Ron Holland, Bruce Farr and Laurie Davidson. The winning yachts of the One Ton Cup during this era were (designer, skipper, country):

1971   Stormy Petrel (S&S, Syd Fischer, AUS)
1972   Wai Aniwa (Carter, Chris Bouzaid, NZL)
1973   Ydra (Carter, Mme Spaccarelli, ITA)
1974   Gumboots (Peterson, Jeremy Rogers, GBR)
1975   Pied Piper (Peterson, Lowell North, USA)
1976   Resolute Salmon (Marseille, Chance, Dick Deaver, USA)
1977   The Red Lion (Farr, Stu Brentnall, NZL)
1978   Tilsalg (Holland, Klaus Lange, GER)
1979   Pendragon (Davidson, John MacLaurin, USA)
1980   Filo da Torcere  (Vallicelli, Stephano Roberti, ITA)
1981   Justine III (Castro, Francis Woods, IRL)
1983   Linda (Sciomachen, Mario Pellaschier, ITA)

Jiminy Cricket - winner of the White Horse Trophy awarded to the winner of the long offshore race in the One Ton Cup 1976 held in Marseille
While the One Ton Cup was awarded to the winner of the series, other race-specific trophies were also awarded, being the Trophee de la Societe Nautique de Marseilles, for the winner of the short offshore race, and the White Horse Trophy, for the winner of the long offshore race.
The Red Lion - winner of the 1977 One Ton Cup held in Auckland
The event hit a stumbling block in 1982 when it was due to be hosted in Brighton but had to be cancelled due to insufficient entries. The Offshore Racing Council decided that the only way to revitalise the Cup was to change the maximum IOR rating from 27.5ft to 30.55ft, consistent with the lower rating limit for Admiral's Cup competition and giving the class a dual purpose and a new lease of life. However, this could not be done until 1984 as the Cup was scheduled to be held in 1983 in Brazil (won by Linda), and there were some yachts being built specially for that event. 
Linda - winner of the Cup in 1983 in Brazil, the last held for yachts to the original 27.5ft IOR rating

The decision to change the rating limit was soon vindicated with 24 boats from 12 nations competing in the 1984 series, and in 1985 the Cup was held in Poole, before the Admiral's Cup of that year, and saw 38 yachts from 15 nations competing. 
Passion 2 - winner of the Cup in 1984, the first event under the new IOR limit of 30.55ft (held in La Trinite)
The winners during this era were:

1984   Passion 2 (Briand, Philippe Briand, FRA)
1985   Jade (Humphreys, GBR)
1986   Andelsbanken (Jeppesen, DEN)
1987   Fram X (Farr, Crown Prince Harald, NOR)
1988   Propaganda (Farr, Richard Dodson, NZL)
1989   Brava (Farr, B Finzi, ITA)
1990   Okyalos VI (Jeppesen, George Ertsos, GRE)
1991   Vibes (Farr, David Clarke, USA)
1992   Brava Q8 (Farr, Paul Cayard, ITA)
1993   Pinta (Judel/Vrolijk, Peter Lester, GER/NZL)
1994   Pinta (Judel/Vrolijk, Rod Davis, GER)

Part of the 24 boat fleet just after the start of a race in the 1988 One Ton Cup held in San Francisco
Okyalos VI - winner of the One Ton Cup in 1990 held in Marstrand
Pinta - winner of the One Ton Cup in 1993 and 1994, the latter being the last time it was held under IOR
But like the IOR generally, the One Ton class suffered from the effects of the design and materials arms race, and numbers slowly dwindled to the point where only seven yachts competed in the 1994 event in Marseille, a significant drop from 1976 when 43 yachts had arrived in the famous French port. 
Brava Q8, seen here to the right on port tack - winner of the 1995 One Ton Cup, held in the ILC40 class under the IMS rule
The One Ton Cup was raced in ILC40's, a level rating class of yachts of a similar size to their One Ton forebears, designed under the IMS rule. The event was not sustained under this arrangement for long, however, and like the IMS rule itself the series fell into abeyance until 1999 when the One Ton Cup was raced for as the world championship event for the Corel 45 class (re-named IC45), a one-design yacht designed by Bruce Farr. It appears that it was contested by the IC45's on four occasions, with the final series in October 2002 in San Tropez - the regatta was marred by protests affecting the fourth and sixth races, with the jury ruling in favour of Ortwin and Stephane Kandler's K-Challenge One (photo, right) and K-Challenge Two over Atalanti X and Cavale Bleue. This gave the Cup to the Kandler's K-Challenge One (GER-7331), skippered by Dawn Riley. A short video of the racing is below.

IC45 class yachts racing for the One Ton Cup in 2002 - the winner, K-Challenge One, to the left (photo Latitude 38)

The photographs of the One Ton Cup at the 2002 prizegiving seem to be the last time that it was seen as part of a competition (photo, left). K-Yachting announced a new K-One Design 33 which would contest the One Ton Cup in 2004 in Monaco, but it does not appear that this class was ever established. It was hoped that the Cup could be found for the 'One Ton Revisited' event held in Auckland in February 2015, but enquiries were unsuccessful. If the Cup is ever found it will probably need to revert to the CVP to determine what future it might have. It is understood that there are efforts underway to host a regatta in France for European-based One Tonners, and such a regatta could only benefit from reinstating the impressive One Ton Cup trophy as its overall prize.

A short video (above) of the racing in St Tropez in 2002, the last time a contest was held for the One Ton Cup.

1 comment:

  1. Love this site, loved the Chris Bouzaid video - keep up the good work.

    Alden Smith - Yacht Mariner Whangarei