22 August 2016

Half Ton Classics Cup 2016

Swuzzlebubble Wins the Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup 2016

Falmouth, UK - 19 August 2016 - Sadly strong winds and huge seas meant that racing had to be cancelled on the final day of the Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup in Falmouth. Race Officer Jack Penty met with the skippers at 08.30 to review the situation, but it was clear conditions were essentially unsailable and the entire fleet unanimously agreed not to risk their historic little yachts.
That decision confirmed that the 1977 Bruce Farr designed Swuzzlebubble sailed by owner/helm Greg Peck, Steve George, Mike Relling, Kevin George, Mike Grieg, Andy Yeomans and James Dodd had won the 2016 Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup. 

It was an extremely had fought series with many of the races being won and lost by mere seconds. Ultimately Swuzzlebubble's winning margin was just five and a half points from Paul Pullen's 1986 Andrieu designed Miss Whiplash (below), with Ireland's Jonny Swan and his team aboard Harmony, designed by Rob Humphreys in 1980, in third place. At the final prize giving all three teams received rousing cheers from their fellow competitors as they received their prizes from Paul Strzelecki, CEO of event sponsor Henri Lloyd.

Winning the Corinthian Championship for the first all amateur crew was Jonathan Cunliffe's 1985 Berrett/Finot designed Emiliano Zapata (below), which finished in eighth place overall.

The trophy for the first production boat went to Richard and Ursula Hollis's beloved 1985 Jeppersen X95 Crakajax. Richard and Ursula have been long standing supporters of the Half Ton Class and were very popular winners.
Perhaps the most prestigious perpetual trophy presented at the regatta is the Spirit Of Half Ton Trophy which is awarded to the person who best personifies the true spirit of the Half Ton Class. There were many possible winners of the trophy this year, but in a hugely popular decision it was presented to David Evans of Hullabaloo XV for his long standing support of the class, for his commitment to maintaining and racing his 1978 Stephen Jones Hustler SJ32 and for single-handedly sailing 380 miles through a Force 8 gale from his home port on Walton Back Waters in Essex to compete in Falmouth.

Greg Peck was clearly delighted to win the right to engrave his name on the trophy and was fulsome in his praise of his crew, his fellow competitors and the Flushing Sailing Club organisers.

Swuzzlebubble was originally built for Ian Gibbs to race for the New Zealand team in the 1977 Half Ton Cup in Sydney, and she has had a colourful career. Following changes to the IOR rule she underwent major surgery including exchanging her centreboard for a fixed keel, padding out her hull, changes to her rear sections and additional ballast, to compete in the 1979 Half Ton Cup in Scheveningen where she finished third. She was then sold to Bruce Lyster of Dun Laoghaire, Ireland under whose ownership she enjoyed continuing success including the UK Half Ton Championship of 1980 with Robert Dix at the helm. Her success continued under another Dun Laoghaire owner Gus
Mehigan before she was sold to Switzerland, at which point she disappeared off the radar.

She wasn't heard of again until Peter "Morty" Morton tracked her down in a near derelict state in a Greek boatyard in late 2012. It took twelve months of hard work by Peter and his crew to get the boat back in racing shape and she made her Half Ton Classics Cup debut in 2014 at Saint Quay Portrieux, Brittany, where she roared to victory in impressive style. 

Keen to race for the Half Ton Cup in home waters, Greg Peck persuaded Morty to part with her earlier this year and having got her home to Cornwall undertook some deck layout modifications and set about the task of putting together a crew of old friends, many of whom have sailed with him for decades. Their performance on the water speaks for itself, but their spirit and camaraderie ashore have impressed everyone and there was a huge cheer when Greg confirmed that he hopes to defend his title in 2017.

To defend their title the Swuzzlebubble crew will be making their way to Kinsale in County Cork, Ireland from 14 to 18 August 2017. David Cullen will be leading the organising team for the event which will be hosted by Kinsale Yacht Club. Further information about this event will be published shortly

Photos by Fiona Brown

14 July 2016

Scarlett O'Hara (Peterson 43)

Miami-Nassau Race, 1983 SORC (L Moran)
Scarlett O'Hara was one of the most famous of the popular Doug Peterson designed Serendipity 43 production yachts. Scarlett O'Hara was a semi-custom version of the Serendipity 43, commissioned by Monroe Wingate in 1981 and constructed by Tom Dreyfus' New Orleans Marine. Exact construction details are unknown, but she is likely to have been similar to sistership Lousiana Crude, featuring a Kevlar hull skin supported by foam-filled ring frames and a balsa-core, carbon-fibre and glass sandwich deck, with a lighter honeycomb core substituted for the balsa forward of the mast.

The Serendipity 43's were a development of Peterson's earlier yachts that exemplified a masthead rig, heavy displacement (by today's standards), narrow stern and deep forefoot. The Serendipity 43 featured a more moderate approach, designed to be a solid all-round performer, with wider stern sections for better reaching performance with a shallower forefoot and more rocker.  The design had proved her pedigree, with an earlier version Acadia taking class and overall honours in the 1980 SORC. She had a rating of 33.3ft IOR, based on rated length (L) of 35.33ft, beam (B) of 12.88ft and displacement (DSPL) of 17,529lb.
Scarlett O'Hara in the slings (photo Larry Moran)

Scarlett O'Hara first raced in the 1982 SORC with Tom Blackaller at the helm. Blackaller had been involved in the project from the design and construction phase, but only stayed with the yacht for one year, during which time she finished fifth in class in the 1982 SORC. 
Scarlett O'Hara powers upwind during the 1983 SORC (photo Larry Moran)
She went on that year to compete in the 1982 Clipper Cup in Hawaii - unfortunately while she finished first and second in class in the first two races, her series ended prematurely with the loss of her mast. Later that year, she raced in the 1982 Big Boat Series in San Francisco, where she finished third in Class C, behind the Frers 46 Bravura and the Peterson 45 Secret Love.
The close battle in Class D between Locura (left) and Scarlett O'Hara was a feature of the 1983 SORC (photo Seahorse)
Scarlett O'Hara in tight reaching conditions during the 1983 SORC

 Further optimising saw Scarlett O'Hara in top form for the 1983 SORC. She was fitted with a triple-spreader Stearn mast, and a new wardrobe from Horizon sails. Chris Corlett as skipper, and Dee Smith (tactician), of Horizon-San Franciscoformed a powerful afterguard and the boat put in a dominant display in the series, a feature of which was her close battle in Class D with the Soverel 43 Locura (33.6ft IOR). Scarlett O'Hara finished as top yacht overall in the SORC, and winner of the Governor's Cup, but finished a close second to Locura in their class, with impressively consistent placings of 2/6/1/2/1/1. Both boats were selected for the US 1983 Admiral's Cup team, and were joined by the smaller Holland 40 Shenandoah which had won Class E.

From the photographs it can be seen that Scarlett alternated between use of a Dacron main and a Kevlar/Mylar version - the Dacron main appeared to have been on the pace as she went on to use it in the Admiral's Cup. 
Scarlett O'Hara in moderate conditions during the 1983 SORC

The start of Division D in the Miami-Nassau race during the 1983 SORC - Scarlett O'Hara is to leeward of two yachts (including Glory US-59950) and just to windward of Locura (32331) and Quest (32020)

For the Admiral's Cup. Scarlett O'Hara was further optimised, with her rating dropping slightly to 33.0ft.
Scarlett O'Hara manouevres before a race start during the 1983 SORC
The size and moding of both Scarlett O'Hara and Locura were not ideal for the conditions that transpired in the 1983 Admiral's Cup, and the team lost too many points in the light airs during the heavily weighted offshore races. Scarlett O'Hara started the series strongly however, shooting off the startline in light airs in the first race and rounding the first mark in second place, just behind the Swedish Frers-designed 51-footer Bla Carat and ahead of two other Frers 51's Moonduster and Carat. She went on to finish sixth on corrected time in that race.  The full potential of the powerful US team was demonstrated on the second day when, in steadier 17-20 knots, Scarlett O'Hara and Locura finished first and second respectively, and the team were the top performers of the day. 
Spinnaker take-down action aboard Scarlett O'Hara during the 1983 SORC (NZ Yachting magazine)
While Scarlett O'Hara went on to have a seventh in the third inshore race, and take out the trophy for the top inshore yacht, a 23rd in the Channel Race and 26th in the Fastnet, saw her finish 11th yacht overall (equal with Shenandoah), and the US team finished in third place.
Scarlett O'Hara tails the bigger Lady Be (sailing for New Zealand) during the second race of the 1983 Admiral's Cup (photo Alan Sefton/NZ Yachting magazine)
In the 1984 Clipper Cup, Scarlett O'Hara finished a lowly 21st, after placings of PMS/16/6/8/DSQ. She bounced back from that performance in the 1984 Big Boat Series, where she lead her class by 3 points going into the last race, before finishing a close second by just 0.25 points. She proved the longevity of her design by again finishing second in class in the Big Boat Series in 1986.
Scarlett O'Hara in gybe mark action during the 1984 Clipper Cup series
More recently, and after a Pacific crossing in 2008, Scarlett O'Hara was seen in Malaysia in 2013, minus her rig. Her current whereabouts are unknown but have been featured in the Serendipity 43 blog here. 


25 June 2016

Full Pelt (Dubois One Tonner)

Full Pelt was a One Tonner, designed by Ed Dubois and built by Neville Hutton for Stephen Fein in 1986, with that year's Sardinia Cup and later, the 1987 Admiral's Cup, in mind. The design featured an aggressive approach to the IOR, with an apparent close attention to minimising weight and maximising any hull shape advantages available under the rule.  
Full Pelt during the 1987 British Admiral's Cup trials (photo Seahorse/histoiredeshalfs.com)
While those were traits employed on most of her serious competitors, Dubois took it further, with flat decks (presumably to lower the overall centre of gravity of the boat) and a minimum sized coachroof, that finished just aft of the mast. With no windows, halyards and other control lines were led aft along the side of the cabin, while halyard winches were mounted on the deck to lower their centre of gravity. As with many IOR boats of that era, Dubois extended the maximum beam at the deck aft and between the 'BA' and 'BAI' measurement stations so as to maximise the leverage of crew weight. This was a response, in part, to changes to the IOR in November the previous year regarding the effect of crew weight on stability ("CSAF'), which encouraged reductions to maximum beam ('BMAX').
Full Pelt alongside the Tony Castro design Maiden Hong Kong in 1986, both showing distinctive kinks in the deckline between the BA and BAI measurement points (photo Seahorse/histoiredeshalfs.com)
Full Pelt proved her pedigree and the designer's approach when she emerged as the top individual yacht in the 1986 Sardinia Cup. In a regatta where One Tonners filled seven of the first ten places, Full Pelt revelled in the typically light airs,  with a boat speed advantage attributed to her small keel and low wetted surface area providing good acceleration and allowing her to get out of trouble in difficult moments while pushing her to the front when unopposed. Jo Richards and Geoff Meek worked together to make a formidable team, with Meek seeming to give the boat an injection of new life after a very disappointing showing in the 1986 One Ton Cup where the boat never featured in the results.
Full Pelt during the 1986 Sardinia Cup (photo Bruce Banks Sails/Seahorse)
She won both the short offshore and third Olympic race to boost her impressive individual performance for the British team, winning by 20 points over Germany's Rubin IX (with placings of 5/1/2/1/3). Supported by Marionette (15th) and Pocket Battleship (17th), Full Pelt led the British team to victory in the series over second placed Germany. 
Full Pelt rounds a leeward mark during the 1986 Sardinia Cup (photo Seahorse)

The photographic record is unclear, but it seems that Full Pelt may have been altered after the Cup, with her original sloping transom remodelled and made more upright, but retaining the measured transom and deck intersection (the AGS measurement point) in the same position.  This would have allowed crew weight to be moved further aft when required. Many other yachts, such as the New Zealand One Tonners Propaganda and Fair Share.
Full Pelt during the 1986 Sardinia Cup (photo One Ton Facebook page)
Full Pelt during the 1986 Sardinia Cup (photo Bruce Banks Sails/Seahorse)
Full Pelt narrowly missed selection for the British team for the 1987 Admiral's Cup, with Flying Dutchman helmsman Joe Richards at the helm. After good early season performances, she lost impetus after losing her mast in the De Guingand Bowl event, the first race of the trials, allowing Jamarella and Juno to make the running. 
Irish Independent Full Pelt rounding Fastnet Rock during the 1987 Admiral's Cup - she made good time to the Rock and went on to win this ocean racing classic (photo histoiredeshalfs.com/One Ton Facebook)
However, after sailing the Irish selection trials in the the chartered Irish Independent (ex-Mean Machine, ex-Rubin 85), Tom Power quickly negotiated a charter of Full Pelt when it became apparent that she was not going to make the British team. Power organised sponsorship with the Irish Independent newspaper, with the boat renamed as Irish Independent Full Pelt,  and she joined another Dubois One Tonner, Jameson Whiskey and the bigger 34.2ft rating Turkish Delight (ex-Itzanotherpurla). She was skippered by Tim Goodbody as helmsman, but kept the bulk of Fein's original crew, including Dubois, Joe Richards and Graham Deegan.
Full Pelt in light airs and sporting her near transparent Banks no.1 genoa (photo Sailing Year 1987-88)
Full Pelt had a somewhat average Admiral's Cup series overall, with results during the inshore and Channel Race of 13/15/18/31.  However, she found her legs in the Fastnet race finale - Full Pelt two-sail reached to the Fastnet Rock along the rhumb line,while those who went west looking for a forecast shift sailed needless additional miles. Unfortunately, as the main prizes were not at that time awarded to sponsored yachts, the Fastnet Trophy was awarded to second-placed Juno. Nevertheless, this result lifted her final placing to fifth overall, and elevated the Irish team to fourth overall.
Irish Independent Full Pelt seen here in Queen Annes Battery Marina in Plymouth after winning the 1987 Fastnet race (photo Shockwave40 blog)
Full Pelt was acquired by Swedish yachtsman Bo Bernholms for the 1989 Admiral's Cup, sailing alongside the former New Zealand 43-footer Kiwi and Greve Duckula. The boat underwent a major refit, with a new mast and rigging, keel, rudder and deck layout for the series, but despite still being fast in light airs, she had a disappointing regatta, finishing in 38th place (of 42), with placings of 14/39/35/25/37/39. The Swedish team finished 12th overall.
Full Pelt was chartered for the Swedish team for the 1989 Admiral's Cup, seen here leaving Lymington Marina (photo Shockwave40 blog)

Her history from that time onwards is undocumented, but she has been featured recently on the One Ton Class Facebook page, and appears to have been upgraded and is now looking like new.
Full Pelt as seen in 2016 and following a recent upgrade (photo One Ton Facebook page)

20 June 2016

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2016

The 2016 edition of the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup was held on 15-17 June in Cowes, and was won by Louise Morton and her crew aboard Bullit, whose name will now be engraved on the trophy for the fourth time, a record only equalled by her husband Peter Morton. The podium for the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2016 is completed by second placed Blackfun, designed by Laurie Davidson for the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup in Auckland where she finished 8th, which was helmed this year by 2007 Etchells World Champion Oscar Strugstad who got a late call up to stand in for owner Tony Hayward; and Sam Laidlaw’s Aguila, which was designed by Rolf Vrolijk, in third.  Below is a gallery of photographs (by Fiona Brown) that capture some of the close racing in the event, and some of the thrills and spills of the first day when the breeze was on.
Illegal leads (right to left) Anchor Challenge, Bullit and Blackfun during a race on day one
Illegal (5th overall) comes to grief on a downwind leg during blustery conditions on day one
The distinctive curved sheer of the Joubert Nivelt design Whiskers (4th overall), to windward of Blackfun, on day one
The Jacques Fauroux design Tiger (11th overall)
Another Fauroux design, Cobh Pirate, sets its spinnaker skyward on day one (13th overall)
The winner of the 2016 Quarter Ton Cup Bullit (with Hellaby in the background)
A packed startline on day two
The revamped Laurie Davidson and ex-New Zealand Quarter Tonner Hellaby (above and below) - Hellaby finished 16th overall