24 May 2016

Quarter Tonners at the Vice-Admiral's Cup 2016

12 Quarter Tonners lined up for the 2016 RORC Vice-Admiral's Cup (20-22 May), including the top four teams from 2015. Sam Laidlaw's Aguila was back to defend last year's final race win, along with last year's runner up, Rickard Melander's Alice II, as well as Tony Hayward's Blackfun and Louise Morton's Bullit (third and fourth respectively last year).
Louise Morton's Bullit, early leader of the Quarter Ton division in the 2016 Vice-Admiral's Cup (photo RORC/Paul Wyeth)
Day 1
Bullit placed third in the first race and went on to win the last two races to lead the Quarter Tonner Class ahead of Sam Laidlaw's Aguila. Blackfun was third.

"We had a really good day today despite the tricky conditions with wind against tide and breaking our pole in the first race was not ideal" commented Morton. "We did have a couple of wipe-outs but we were not alone, Quarter Tonners can be a handful downwind. Well done to Stuart Childerley and his team for getting six classes off for three good races each, I am sure the race committee was as tired as us by the end of the day."
Windward mark action in the Quarter Ton division at the RORC Vice-Admiral's Cup (photo Rick Tomlinson/Sailing Anarchy)
Day 2
Bullit started of the second day of racing with a bullet and a second to take a firm grip on the class, but was adjudged over the line at the start of the last race of the day and having restarted correctly slipped to ninth place. Bullit still leads the class but only by a single point from Sam Laidlaw's Aguila. Tony Hayward's Blackfun remains in third. Rickard Melander's Alice II is fourth having scored two podium finishes today and Eric Reynolds' Magnum Evolution won race five to end the day in fifth position.

Joker bashes her way upwind on Day 2 of the Vice-Admiral's Cup (photo Rick Tomlinson/1/4 ton zeilers Facebook page) 
"Bullit is going well but we can still catch her" commented Aguila's Brett Aarons. "Bullit is a bit larger than Aguila, so she goes a bit better in the heavier air but tomorrow looks to be a bit lighter, so we definitely have a chance. The standard of racing in the Quarter Ton fleet is as good as it gets in the Solent. The boats may be old but a lot of time is spent getting them into perfect condition, and as we sail at about the same speed, it is just like one design racing."
Bullit in action on Day 2 of the Vice-Admiral's Cup (photo RORC/Rick Tomlinson)
Day 3
Aguila won the very last race to take the series by a half point. Aguila, designed by the German design duo Judel/Vrolijk in 1990, was helmed by Sam Laidlaw; all of his crew, from the Isle of Wight, were not born when the boat was built. Bullit had led the regatta from the first day and agonisingly lost the title by just half a point.

Aguila on her way to winning the Quarter Ton division of the 2016 Vice-Admiral's Cup (photo RORC/Rick Tomlinson)
"Very tough close racing" summed up Laidlaw. "I felt that we were capable of beating them in both races but if it hadn't been for Magnum Evolution getting between us, we would have lost by half a point, so we were very fortunate in that respect. This fleet produces really close racing, which is also good fun and bodes well for the Quarter Ton Cup."
The immaculate Aguila, winner of the 2016 Vice-Admiral's Cup Quarter Ton division - seen here during the 2016 RORC Easter Challenge (photo RORC/Paul Wyeth)

21 May 2016

Hamilton Island Race Week 1984

An interesting post and photos regarding the inaugural Hamilton Island Race Week appeared in Sailing Anarchy recently. Huey 2 writes:

Colourful memories of the inaugural Hamilton Island Race Week in 1984 have surfaced this week, with the discovery of historic photos taken at the event.

The German Frers-designed Two Tonner Hitchhiker gets some air time while working upwind in fresh conditions during the 1984 Hamilton Island Race Week (photo Sandy Peacock)
The images are the work of Sandy Peacock, a Sydney-based advertising agency owner, who worked at the 1984 regatta as a yachting journalist and photographer. Peacock found 62 transparencies and a copy of the story he wrote about the event, in a long-forgotten box of images stored at his northern beaches home.
Jack Rooklyn's Ben Lexcen-designed Apollo slogs upwind during the 1984 Hamilton Island Race Week (photo Sandy Peacock)
For its first eight years, Hamilton Island Race Week was staged two weeks after Easter, but the unstable weather pattern at that time of year led to the series becoming known as 'Hamilton Island Rain Week' in the 'Wetsundays'.
An unknown yacht gets into trouble on a tight reach, the Holland-designed Too Impetuous to leeward (photo Sandy Peacock)
Fleet numbers were strong and the parties were legendary, but organisers eventually succumbed to the pressure of the wet season and rescheduled the series to late August.
The Doug Peterson-designed 44 footer Inch-by-Winch in post-race mode during the 1984 Hamilton Island Race Week (photo Sandy Peacock)
Sandy Peacock's images certainly reveal the mood swings of the weather that first year and they also confirm that among the impressive fleet of 93 competitors were some of the great yachts and famous names of the sport in that era.
Syd Fisher's Ragamuffin sails downwind under spinnaker and blooper (photo Sandy Peacock)
The two big maxis at the regatta in 1984 were Jack Rooklyn's Apollo, affectionately known as 'The Gherkin', because the hull was dark green, and Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin.
Apollo has a hard landing during the 1984 Hamilton Island Race Week (photo Sandy Peacock)
The sailing identities were too many to name, but there was no one more saluted than Hugh Treharne, who in September the previous year was tactician aboard Australia II when she won the America's Cup in Newport, Rhode Island. Ironically, it was when the island's then owner, Keith Williams, was in Newport watching Australia II win the cup that he came up with the idea for race week.
Inch-by-Winch's narrow lead over Hitchhiker looks short-lived after her spinnaker tears badly during the 1984 Hamilton Island Race Week (photo from Australia's Year of Sail - 2)

16 March 2016

Bloopers are back!

From Scuttlebutt USA (15 March 2016 edition):

The 2016 edition of the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) rating system has been released, with a change that has now made bloopers legal for boats built during the era of bloopers. This was a concern about ORR for many older boats, and ORR has found a way to properly rate them and have thus made them legal.
Italian yacht Vanina leads the charge of blooper-wielding yachts during the 1979 Admiral's Cup
ORR – 2015 Edition
4.01 Bloopers.
Bloopers are prohibited. When a spinnaker is set, no jib shall be tacked in such a way as to cause or permit the luff or forward edge of that sail to lie outside of the spinnaker or spinnaker sheet and, when a spinnaker is set, no sail shall be sheeted to the main boom except the spinnaker itself.

Bloopers tended to keep the bowman busy!

ORR – 2016 Edition
4.01 Bloopers.
The intent of this section is to allow bloopers on boat’s where they were once popular and in the way they were flown. If bloopers generate a pronounced speed benefit, that benefit will be properly assessed and rated in future versions of ORR. All of the following shall apply to boats rating with bloopers:

a) Bloopers are only permitted on boats with an age or series date earlier than Jan 1, 1985.
b) Bloopers are only allowed on boats rated with a spinnaker pole, and not with a bowsprit.
c) Bloopers must measure in as a headsail, since two spinnakers cannot be flown at the same time other than when changing. The LP of the blooper shall not exceed 150% of rated J. The half width must be no greater than 50% of the foot. The luff of the blooper shall not exceed the luff of the largest headsail for which the boat is rated. The tack pennant for a blooper shall not exceed 2.5 feet and must be tacked aft of the forward end of J.
d) The blooper shall be counted as headsail for purposes of the limit on number of headsails carried while racing.

All we need now are some old sailmakers that still know how to make bloopers. For more information on the 2016 ORR… click here.

Bloopers fly during the 1983 Australian Admiral's Cup trials
Bloopers came onto the scene during the 1971 Southern Cross Cup series, when New Zealand's Wai Aniwa hoisted a light air no.1 genoa outside the spinnaker (here). The resulting protest was dismissed, and overnight the blooper became an indispensable part of the IOR racing wardrobe before falling out of favour in the early to mid-1980s.
They may have been detested by some sailors, but they made for some great photographs!
Bravura during the 1984 SORC (photo Larry Moran)

Lady Be (sailing for NZ) leads Scarlett O'Hara (US) during the 1983 Admiral's Cup, by which time the use of bloopers was starting to wane (photo NZ Yachting/Alan Sefton)

15 March 2016

Jamarella (Farr One Tonner)

After sailing the three-year old Daniel Andrieu design Cifraline 3 to a very creditable fifth place in the 1986 One Ton Cup in Palma, Alan Gray commissioned Jamarella, a new Farr One Tonner for the 1987 Admiral's Cup and One Ton Cup. The boat was similar to the New Zealand yacht Propaganda (Design #182), but was a slightly different design (#184), optimised for racing in large fleets in UK conditions, and was particularly fast upwind in light and medium airs. This performance was helped by a deep draft fin keel with a fibreglass tip to avoid the boat becoming too stiff (under the onerous 'centre of gravity factor' measurement of the IOR), but still taking a draft penalty.  

Jamarella was skippered by Rodney Pattisson, who helmed the One Ton Cup champion Jade in 1985, and teamed up with Lawrie Smith (who helmed Panda to her Fastnet win in the 1985 Admiral's Cup), to create a very strong force at the back of the boat. Jamarella was built by Killian Bushe with Nomex honeycomb core. She carried a Sparcraft mast, which was held up with cobalt rigging, and flew a combination of Banks, Shore and Sobstad sails. 
Jamarella sailing downwind during the 1987 British Admiral's Cup trials (photo Seahorse/Histoiredeshalfs website)

Jamarella proved to be the most consistent of the new British One Tonners that lined up for the 1987 British Admiral's Cup trials, with three first places in the series, and she joined team Juno and Indulgence in the British team in a determined campaign to wrest the Admiral's Cup back from the Germans, who had triumphed again in 1985.  
Jamarella (above and below) showing her upwind form (photos Histoiredeshalfs website)
She sailed the 1987 Admiral's Cup with a slightly lower rating than Propaganda (30.54ft, to 30.59ft IOR), and the two boats, both sporting the fastest shapes of 1987 and expertly sailed, had a series-long duel, with Jamarella outscoring her Kiwi rival in the first inshore and the Fastnet race, and in the latter demonstrating a slight edge downwind in light airs. The two finished first and second in the Channel Race, separated by just 16 seconds. In the end, Jamarella finished the series second overall, 30 points behind Propaganda (with placings of 14/2/4/24/3), and supporting the British team to second overall in the Cup proper. 

Jamarella rounds a windward mark during one of the inshore races on Christchurch Bay (photo Sailing Year 1987-88)
The boat went on to win Class II in the 1987 RORC series, and was named the RORC Yacht of the Year. 
Jamarella - RORC Yacht of the Year 1987 (photo Sailing Year 1987-88)
She then went to Kiel for the 1987 One Ton Cup, where she finished sixth overall, although she had initially finished third overall following placings of 8/17/5/3/3, but was slapped with a "2 x 30 point" penalty, because of the discovery of an unsecured five gallon fuel tank. The crew insisted it was spare fuel carried for seamanship reasons - this became an issue of whether it was a tank under rule 202.2 of the IOR, or 'ship stores' under rule 109.4. In this respect she was perhaps an innocent victim of suspicions of cheating that had come to the fore as a result of allegations (later proven) against the German yacht i-Punkt. 
Jamarella in action during the 1987 Admiral's Cup, and crossing the stern of US yacht Blue Yankee
Jamarella became Rush for the 1988 One Ton Cup in San Francisco, where she finished 11th overall, Alan Gray went on to commission a new Jamarella, a bigger Farr 50-footer, for the 1989 Admiral's Cup and the burgeoning 50-foot circuit
Hitchhiker III during the 1989 Admiral's Cup
It is understood that the original Jamarella was chartered by Australian yachtsman, Peter Briggs, of Hitchhiker fame, and the boat became the third yacht to wear the Hitchhiker moniker. Her stern was altered in response to the 1989 IOR rule changes, but Hitchhiker didn't make the Australian team, and sailed for Ireland instead. A shadow of her former self, she finished in 32nd place (with results of 22/32/34/35/32/28), but was the best placed of the lowly 13th placed Irish team.
Rush, ex-Jamarella, during the 1988 One Ton Cup
Now known as Ace, the ex-Jamarella is located in Muiderzand, Holland (photos below).

8 March 2016

Quarter Ton rebuild news

A couple of Quarter Ton rebuilds have appeared on the "1/4 ton zeilers" page recently - the upgrade to Innuendo (GBR-7557), the ex-Senator Incitatus, looks particularly impressive - this boat is a James McIlraith design, that was bought by Peter Morton in 2015 and is receiving the kind of attention previously applied to the likes of Anchor Challenge and Bullit, and the Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble.

Another impressive upgrade to an old Quarter Tonner - the original bustle in the stern quarters remains evident, but a new IRC-optimised keel has been added
Innuendo now features a simple and highly refined deck layout

Also receiving some love and IRC optimisation is the 1981 Quarter Ton champion, the Jacques Fauroux-designed Lacydon Protis, which is being prepared for the 2016 UK season.

Lacydon Protis in the wild conditions of the 1981 Quarter Ton Cup

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.

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
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. 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. It is understood that she is now being optimised for racing under IRC and in the Quarter Ton Cup revival series.
Maedchen at the 1984 Quarter Ton Cup (photo 1/4 zeilers Facebook page)