18 August 2017

Half Ton Classics Cup 2017

Swuzzlebubble (GBR) - winner of the 2017 Half Ton Classics Cup (all photos by David Branigan)
With the overall regatta decided on the penultimate day, the Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup was presented to Phil Plumtree and the crew of Swuzzlebubble at Kinsale Yacht Club, Ireland on Friday night.

A single ‘round the cans’ final race earlier in the day also delivered a full eleven race programme despite losing a day to strong winds. Swuzzlebubble’s series ended on Thursday after ten races of mostly first and second places confirmed their pre-event favourite status and this year’s win is the third victory in the 40-year old boat’s modern record adding to previous wins with Peter Morton and Greg Peck. On the water, Swuzzlebubble’s impressive upwind performance is hard to miss, but with the highest IRC rating in the fleet (0.975). she typically needed to finish by more than a minute and a half over her nearest rival in the inshore races to win on handicap.

Plumtree’s ten race series saw him dominate the 21-strong fleet from the opening race on Monday in spite of an eighth place in race three. However, four races on Tuesday left little room for doubt with all first and second places for the day while the event discard took care of the high score from the opening day.
Checkmate XVIII (GBR) - second overall

Checkmate XV (IRL) - third overall
Another first and second place on Thursday saw Swuzzlebubble start the coastal course with a commanding nine-point advantage. However, the race around the scenic approaches to Kinsale and the finish off the historic Charles Fort carried a 1.5x multiplication factor and several wipe-outs in the heavy conditions at sea saw Plumtree's team place fifth.

Swuzzlebubble approaches a windward mark during the 2017 Half Ton Classics Cup
Their nearest challengers were second placed David Cullen on Checkmate XV and Nigel Biggs on Checkmate XVIII, but both had sixth and fifth places earlier in the day that effectively decided the regatta in Swuzzlebubble’s favour as the former Kiwi classic ended with a three point advantage. A worst race discard of second allowed Plumtree to sit out the final race due to an unexpected crew personal commitment.
The Big Picture (IRL) in trouble on one of the downwind legs of the 2017 Half Ton Classics Cup (she finished fourth overall)
The regatta turned to what had been suspected all week given Swuzzlebubble’s pre-event favourite status after two previous titles: that the series is a battle for second place. This battle went down to the wire and the outcome of the eleventh race which was won by Nigel Biggs on Checkmate XVIII and he succeeded in beating David Cullen on Checkmate XV by a half point margin to take the first runner-up place.
Swuzzlebubble shows her form and speed upwind
The Half Ton True Spirit trophy, the other major award for the week was presented to Paul Wayte and the crew of Headhunter in recognition of their camaraderie within the fleet both afloat and ashore but especially for their sportsmanship. Wayte loaned a spare mast to Superhero after their own rig was badly damaged en route to Ireland that enabled the Finnish entry to start the regatta last weekend.
King One (IRL), Paul Elvstrom's Half Ton Cup winner in 1981, finished 11th overall
Tributes were paid to Principal Race Officer Anthony O’Leary and Regatta Director John Stallard of Kinsale YC with their team of volunteers who delivered a memorable series.

Per Elisa (GBR) - the last Half Tonner ever built, finished 12th overall
Class President Philippe Pilate on General Tapioca was best of the continental entries in fifth overall in the 21-strong turnout. At the prize-giving ceremony, he confirmed that the 2018 championship will be held at the Royale Koninklijke Yacht Club (KYCN), Nieuwpoort in Belgium from the 20th to 24th August, where a team of volunteers are already planning a week of great racing and hospitality.

The 2017 event was sponsored by Euro Car Parks together with AGK Displays, MF Services, Windward Hotels, Provincial Floor Coverings, Martin Reilly Motors and Harken UK. 

Results here.

Videos here: Day 1 Day 2 Day 4

All photos by David Branigan/Oceansport / Halfton Class Europe FB page)

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