29 February 2016

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup moves to Royal Yacht Squadron

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup: 2016 marks the tenth anniversary of Coutts' title sponsorship of the revival Quarter Ton Cup. Since it was first run in 2005 the event has gone from strength to strength and Coutts' support since 2007 has been vital in helping to achieve that success.

The Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2016 will be hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, from Wednesday 15 to Friday 17 June. As always the event will combine some of the closest and most exciting inshore racing anywhere in the world with a fun social programme and great class camaraderie.

Another new development for this year's event is the introduction of an additional class. Class Chairman Peter 'Morty' Morton explains the reasoning behind this. "What has occurred over the past few years is that the prototypes and past class winners have been upgraded considerably and in an attempt to encourage the production and older boats back to the event the organisers intend to run a second class provided sufficient numbers enter, known as the cruiser racer class. This will be for boats of a rating of 0.89 and below and for boats such as a GK24, Bolero, Quarto, Farr 727's, Eygthene 24's, Trapper 300. We know there are literally hundreds of those around and hopefully enough of them want to enjoy the regatta. They will be racing for the Roger Swinney Quarter Ton Trophy and it is intended that a round the buoys course will be set for them".

The refurbished Cobh Pirate competing in the 2015 Quarter Ton Cup
The Quarter Tonners have suffered two sad losses in the past year. Roger Swinney, a founding member of the revived Quarter Ton Class, first with the 1979 David Thomas designed Tsunami, which he renamed Ayanami, and then later with the 1986 McIlraith designed Innuendo, sadly passed away in November. His joie de vivre and love of the Quarter Tonners made him a hugely popular figure with his fellow sailors and he will be much missed.

Another much loved member of the class lost recently is the legendary Espada, a 1980 Bruce Farr design and winner of no less than three Coutts Quarter Ton Cups, which was destroyed in a boatyard fire in January. Morty is working closely with Espada's owner Julian Metherell to find him a replacement in time for the season.

In happier news Robbie Stewart has tracked down and bought Hellaby, the Laurie Davidson design that came second to Bullit in the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup in Auckland. Our photo above (courtesy Erle Williams) shows Hellaby on her way to second place at the 1979 Quarter Ton Cup with Johnny Lasher helming, Tony Bouzaid navigating, Erle Williams trimming and Joey Allen on bow.

Lacydon Protis, Bruno Trouble's 1981 Fauroux design which won the Quarter Ton Cup in Marseille that year, was found by Morty in Italy and has been bought by Diarmid de Burgh-Milne. She is currently undergoing a full refit at Casse Tete Marine ready for the 2016 season.

Lacydon Protis during the 1981 Quarter Ton Cup
Fauroux is very much the designer of the moment when it comes to boats changing hands. Tiger, his design from 1989, has been bought by Tom Daniel. Thomas Prower joins the fleet with his purchase of the 1981 Lancelot. Olly Ophaus has bought Howard Sellars and Mike Till's 1977 Bullet and Jo Roberts has acquired the delightful Menace, designed by Fauroux in 1981.
The Stephen Jones design Wings competing in the 1978 Quarter Ton Cup
The fleet is also very much looking forward to welcoming back Dutchman Berry Aarts with a restored Wings, which was built to a Stephen Jones design for the 1978 Quarter Ton Cup in Japan.

The Notice of Race, Entry Form and further information will be available shortly on the Quarter Ton website.

Addition information about the event can be obtained from Quarter Ton Class Secretary Louise Morton on louisemorton@me.com or +44 (0)7769 972979.

22 February 2016

Hellaby (Davidson Quarter Tonner)

Hellaby was designed by Laurie Davidson, for the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup, held in Auckland, New Zealand. She was owned by John Lasher and skippered by Tony Bouzaid, of Waverider fame, and was one of the fastest of the new Quarter Tonners launched for the 1980 series, that included new Bruce Farr designs Anchor Challenge (which won the New Zealand Quarter Ton trials) and Hot Number. Compared to the Farr designs, Hellaby, as a development of Davidson's earlier Quarter Tonners such as Fun, was slightly longer than the Farr boats overall, but with a shorter 'length between girths', and a slightly narrower beam. 
Hellaby working upwind during the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup
The new boats were joined by a number of revamped yachts from the local fleet, including earlier Davidson yachts such as Bashful, Blackfun, Continental Fun and Hi-Flyer, and the Whiting Quarter Tonners Strawberry Letter, Smokey Joe and Hatchway Hummer.
Hellaby undergoes some early modifications to optimise her rating under IOR, including bumping of her midship depth
But the local fleet were comprehensively beaten by the Jacques Faroux-designed Bullit, which at the time demonstrated that European design thinking had overtaken the New Zealand style of boat, with more of a dish shape, with less depth and more beam, a longer stern overhang and an ability to surf downwind much more easily than her rivals. 
Hellaby follows Bullit around a windward mark during the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup
The moment of truth arrived after the top mark in the first race. Bullit rounded second, behind Australian entry Bashful, but by the wing mark was 38 seconds ahead, and went on to finish a full six minutes ahead of the second placed Hellaby. After a repeat performance in the early stages of the second race, sailed in fresh conditions, one of Bullit's spreaders failed and the crew were forced to reduce sail, letting Hellaby in to win after she overtook Anchor Challenge on the second reach.
Hellaby and Bullit before a race - note Hellaby's name covered to address Rule 26 (sponsorship) issues (photo Peter Montgomery Collection)
Bullit was able to reinforce her superiority in devastating fashion in the 140 mile intermediate race, where she beat the second placed Hi Flyer (another Davidson design, and sailed by Helmer Pederson) by almost 47 minutes in the 24 hour long race. Hi-Flyer managed to beat Hellaby by just 12 seconds. The race was sailed in 15-20 knot winds which suited Bullit perfectly. She repeated the performance in the fourth race, steaming away on the reaches and runs after rounding the first mark in fourth place. Hellaby took second in the fourth race, with Bullit again taking the gun.

Hellaby during the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup

The 220 mile long ocean race was sailed in very fresh conditions, with 40 knot gusts at the start and a forecast that did not provide much hope for an improvement for a fleet faced with two roundings of Channel Island. Again, Bullit set a blistering pace in the initial downwind work, but many of these small boats suffered knockdowns and a nervous, if not scary, time while out in the vicinity of Channel Island.  Bouzaid considered the race dangerous, and said they were lucky not to strike wind against tide at Channel Island. Hellaby at one stage submerged completely after gaining high speeds from a number of waves - the boat was white from bow to stern and Bouzaid, standing as far aft as he could get, had water around his knees while gear on the boat began snapping and popping.  
Hellaby during the 1981 Quarter Ton Cup
Hellaby during the first race of the 1981 Quarter Ton Cup
The race was again won by Bullit, despite rig damage, while Anchor Challenge finished second. Hellaby came in third. With the victory in the final race Bullit secured the Quarter Ton Cup for France, with 116.5 points, well clear of Hellaby in second place on 106.25 points, just 0.75 points ahead of Anchor Challenge, while Hot Number, finished fourth.
Maedchen at the 1984 Quarter Ton Cup - the winner of the series Comte de Flandre (F-9083) visible to the upper left
Hellaby went on to contest the 1981 Quarter Ton Cup in Marseille, where she finished fifth in a fleet of 31 boats - she was lying second with placings of 1/6/5/3 before the final Mistral-affected final race from which she retired. After that series she was bought by German yachtsman Horst Dietrich who renamed the boat Maedchen. Dietrich contest the 1984 Quarter Ton Cup in Nieuwpoort, where she finished sixth (of 26 boats). She had a poor regatta in 1990 (finishing 37th) and the boat was later bought for a sailing school in Hamburg and renamed Quatro. 

Maedchen at the 1984 Quarter Ton Cup (photo 1/4 zeilers Facebook page)
Hellaby has since been optimised for racing under IRC and in the Quarter Ton Cup revival series.
A revamped Hellaby competing in the 2018 Quarter Ton Cup

8 February 2016

The Loss of 'Espada' (GBR-50R)

From the Quarter Ton Facebook page: There was a fire in the Medina Yard in Cowes on 25th January 2016 and very sadly the Farr Quarter Tonner Espada was lost.

Built in 1980 by Geoff Hunt for Michael Evers of West Mersea, she was one of five sisterships from Bruce Farr, another one of them being Anchor Challenge. Mike sold her and she became Silent Movie and lived down in the West Country before being bought by Terry Dinmore in Poole. Morty (Peter Morton) bought her from Terry in 2005 and started a complete restoration. 
Espada featured as one of the top Quarter Tonners of the fleet that contest the revived Quarter Ton Cup every year in Cowes - seen here in the 2014 edition of the series (photo Paul Wyeth, 1/4 Ton Facebook page)
Morty was running out of time to complete her for the Quarter Ton Cup in 2006 and fellow competitors Jim and George Webb, Tony Dodd and Spillers came over to Cowes to help out. Morty successfully compaigned her for two years, winning the Quarter Ton Cup in 2007 and lending her to Jamie McWilliam for Cowes Week 2006. Morty then found Anchor Challenge and passed Espada onto his wife Louise in 2008 who campaigned her for six years. Espada won the Quarter Ton Cup again in 2011 with Colette Richmond and in 2013 with Louise Morton. 
Louise Morton and the Espada crew winning the 2013 Quarter Ton Cup
She was sold in February 2015 to Julian Metherall who immediately prior to putting her away for winter storage had repainted the decks and smartened her up. She will be sadly missed. An iconic Quarter Tonner, much loved by all.

A full list of her results can be seen here, and she features in a previous post here on her original conversion to IRC by designer Mark Mills.

4 February 2016

Dr Feelgood (Farr 40)

Dr Feelgood was a US semi-production and masthead-rigged version (Design #143) of the Farr 40 Design #136 that had dominated the 1983 Southern Cross Cup and had finished first, second and ninth in the 40-boat fleet (Pacific Sundance, Geronimo and Exador), winning the Cup for New Zealand. Dr Feelgood was built by Garrett Marine, the first of what was to be a fleet of yachts known as the Garrett 40. Dr Feelgood was launched in Florida in early 1984 in quest of SORC glory.

Geoff Stagg, skipper of Pacific Sundance in the Southern Cross Cup and marketing director for Farr International, said at the time that his "light years" victory was particularly gratifying because the original design had proved fast in a wide variety of conditions, and on all points of sail.

Sail Magazine described Dr Feelgood and the Garrett 40 as a "production boat" in the sense that "one could be ordered tomorrow.  However, she goes toe-to-toe with custom-built boats in many important areas. Vacuum bagging and Kevlar laminates are part of her construction". The Garrett 40 was slightly shorter and heavier than her Design 136 grand prix sisterships. However, particular attention was still paid to keeping weight out of the ends of the boat, even down to the tapered faceting of her transom. 

Dr Feelgood during the 1984 SORC (Sail magazine)

Freeboard was also kept low compared to her IOR contemporaries. Sail magazine noted that Farr's distinctive, deep lozenge-shaped rudder, deep blade of a keel and practiced handling of the IOR hull shape (with a touch of emphasis on downwind power) all helped explain why their Southern Cross competition was far from happy with the Dr Feelgood sisterships. 

Garrett 40 internal arrangement plan
Dr Feelgood, and the Farr 40's generally, carried their maximum beam relatively far aft. This maximised the effectiveness of crew weight, but also afforded a wide, workable cockpit. The masthead rig chosen for Dr Feelgood and the Garrett 40's had three sets of spreaders, rod rigging and running backstays. Stagg commented "the secret of this design is in its simplicity. Not only does that save cost, it means that because you don't need a pack of experts aboard to make everything work, the average guy can race and really enjoy it". 

Dr Feelgood puts her bow down during the Ft Lauderdale race in the 1984 SORC (photo Larry Moran)

Dr Feelgood lined up against similar-sized One Tonners (30.5ft IOR) at the 1984 SORC, including the 1981 Admiral's Cup champion Diva, the J/41 Dazzler and Mark Soverel-design S-39 and Finot/Berret/Fauroux designed Evolution First One Ton, and sat very much in the middle of that company in terms of her key IOR measurements. Unfortunately Dr Feelgood was still be built on the SORC racecourse, and completed only the first two races (9/7 in class, and 41/24 in fleet) and so not much could be gleaned as to her overall potential.

Dr Feelgood sails upwind in light conditions (photo Farr Yacht Design)
Compared to the dinghy-like Diva, Dr Feelgood was beamier and fuller aft, with a proportionately finer forebody. A review by designer Bruce Kelley, for Yacht Racing & Cruising magazine and focused on the 1984 SORC One Ton fleet, suggested that the boat would have been happier with a fractional rig in deference to her relatively more trim-sensitive hull shape. Kelley also considered that the boat was slightly heavier than intended, with a SHR (sail/hull ratio) of 15.62, lower than expected for a Farr design, and a DLF (displacement/length factor) of 1.0022 that was also lower than typical.

Dr Feelgood during the 1984 SORC (photo Larry Moran)
It is unclear how many of the Garrett 40's were built, but on the racecourse Design #143 was certainly eclipsed by her fractionally-rigged sisters, and later developments of that design that were consistent top performers in the One Ton class throughout the 1980s.