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Half Ton Classics Cup 2011 - Cowes (GBR)   21 - 26 AUG 2011


Official blog of the Half Ton Classic Cup


'Cowes round-up by Vincent Delany'...


 The 38 competitors of the fifth edition of the Half Ton Classics Cup at Cowes from 22nd to 26th  August, sponsored by South Boats was the largest entry to date for this event, and included 20 British boats, 8 Belgian Boats, 6 French boats and one visitor from Finland, Germany and Ireland.

All of the key designers of the1971 to 1992 IOR period were represented. There were 6 Daniel Andrieu designed boats,  6 by Stephen Jones, 4 by Joubert /Nievelt,  4 by Jean Berret, 3 Ed Dubois, 3 Rob Humphreys, 2 Hugh Welbourne, and 1 from Lees, Jeppesen, Sodergren, Bergstrom, Nissen, Ceccerelli, Holland, Laurie Davidson, and Magnussen. The only major racing yacht designer not represented was Bruce Farr.

 The winning boat of the 9 inshore and one offshore race series was Michael Kershaw’s ‘Chimp’, a ‘one-off’ designed by Jean Berret in 1978 and built in wood. She has been modified with a swept back rig but did not use the runners while racing. She is a lightweight, but not an extreme boat by the standards of the Class. She is 9.4m long by 3.02m wide and 1,79 deep with an IRC handicap of .931. Her 4, 2, 2, 3, 4, 2, 2, 1, 1, 4 placings showed very consistent performance.

It is worth noting that the Half Ton Cup has been won by a team from the host country in each edition of the event since 2003, and ‘Chimp’ continues to maintain this record.



Second place was taken by Philippe Pilate’s defending Champion ‘General Tapioca’ from Nieuwpoort, Belgium, which was involved in a serious road accident early in 2011 which was repaired in time for the event by working around the clock. She is a similar boat to ‘Chimp’, but one which has been subject of greater modification resulting in a high IRC handicap of .957. She also was designed by Jean Berret in 1978 and built in wood. She has been modified with a swept back spreader rig with a high aspect 110% jib, and a modern post-IOR keel with narrow chord and bulb.  Her 1, 4, 1, 1, 3, 3, 5, 3, 2  placings in the windward-leeward races were almost good enough for her to win the event, but she had a 10th place in the double scoring offshore race which was not discardable.


 Third place was taken by Plymouth based Francis Marshall in the historic ‘Concorde 1989’ designed by Daniel Andrieu, and constructed in carbon. She was Alain Gautier’s winning boat in the Solitaire de Figaro race of 1989.  She has a length of 8.98 m, beam of 3.05 m, and draft of 1.85 m. She has not been substantially changed since new.

The best of the closely matched group of 1980’s Andrieu designs was Tim and David Cunliffe’s ‘Insatiable’ in fourth place overall, ahead of  Nicholas Hurst’s ‘Miss Whiplash’ (13th place) , Charles Jacob’s ‘Ballerine’ (21st place), and N. Lejeune and J-M Gillès’s ‘Skippys Ton’(22nd place).

‘Per Elisa’, Robbie Tregear’s 1992 Italian Ceccerelli design, now based in Falmouth, was one of the finest looking boats at the event, but could she not live up to her high IRC handicap of .963. At 2250kg she was probably the lightest boat competing in the event. Despite some fine performances she discarded 31st and 15th places, but had to count two12th place finishes to finish in 5th place overall. Most races were competed in wind strengths between 9 and 22 knots.

Jean-Philippe Cau’s ‘Sibelius’ (1980) was the best of the Joubert/Nivelt designs and finished in 6th place over the series. Her very deep keel must have contributed to her 40 minute period sitting on Ryde Sands during the Round the Island Race, which put an end to her podium aspirations. She was undoubtedly one of the highest pointing, and quickest boats off the start lines in the windward-leeward races. Tom Florizoone’s beautiful ‘Red Cloud’ (1981) by the same designers took 17th place from Jean Ado’s ‘Philemon’(1980) and Jean-Benoit Boel’s ‘Envol’ (1980) which won the Half Ton True Spirit award.

François Michelin’s 1978 Ron Holland designed Shamrock ‘Chani’ was top production boat. It was driven by beautiful 3DL sails which gave her a win on the 55 mile offshore race around the Isle of Wight which took her 8 hours 22 minutes. She was one of the small number of mast-head rigs competing in the event, and finished 7th overall on equal points with Eagleton and Waterhouse’s (1984) ‘Sevcon Team Chia Chia’.

The best of the Stephen Jones designed boats was David Evans’s ‘Hullabaloo XV’ a Hustler 32 which is among the largest boats in the fleet with a long hull and a big rig, but an IRC handicap of .917, and took 9th place overall. Mel Sharp’s remarkable looking 1981 ‘Demolition’ (18th place) and Joshua Major’s similar ‘Smiffy’(32nd place) are among the longest and narrowest Half Tonners (at water level) ever. These boats have tumble-home to write home about. 

Racing was intense over the entire 38 boat fleet. The four varnished boats, led by Mark Wynter’s Dubois designed 1978 ‘Alchemist’, from Paul Newell’s Welbourne designed ‘Chartreuse’ (1978) and Ian Van Burm’s Rob Humphreys designed ‘Fantasy’ (1983) and John and Jenny Dudley’s Lees designed ‘Pinball Wizard’ (1978). Despite their age, they looked magnificent but could not compete with the skillfully prepared and crewed boats at the head of the fleet. It is interesting to note that despite having a painted hull Denzil Williams’ timber ‘Santa Evita’ from Milford Haven is almost a sistership of ‘Alchemist’ with a swept back rig which took 11th place overall. She was used as a mould for Ian Bowker’s GRP ‘High Hopes’ which took 24th place.

The oldest boat competing was Michael Langhans ‘Strolch’, a German based 1971 Alban Ballad. Despite being the slowest and smallest boat in the fleet, with huge overlapping headsail and IRC handicap of .872, she took 20th place overall.

This was a fun event with crew parties each night. It is now clear that the best location for such an event is in a Club which can be reached by water from England, Belgium and France, the locations where the greatest number of Half Tonners are racing. In two years time the event will be in France at a location yet to be agreed..