Race Reports

Aguila And Pinguin Playboy Victorious At 2018 Quarter Ton Cup

Sadly, the wind gods refused to smile on the final day of the Quarter Ton Cup off Cowes and no racing was possible. The race committee went afloat early to monitor conditions but held the fleet ashore at Cowes Yacht Haven.  Sadly by 13.15 it was clear that there was no hope of wind before the 14.30 final start cut off time and so Race Officer Rob Lamb made the inevitable decision.

Despite the lack of a final race the regatta was declared a resounding success by the competitors with eight exceptionally close races being run over two days. By a six-point margin the 2018 Quarter Ton Cup winner if confirmed as reigning champion Aquila, designed by Rolf Vrolik, owned and helmed by Sam Laidlaw and crewed by Brett Aarons, Gareth Fowler, Tom Forrester-Coles and Robbie Southwell.

In accepting the Quarter Ton Cup Sam Laidlaw paid tribute to his crew and to his fellow competitors, and in particular thanked Class Secretary Louise Morton for not only organising a fantastic regatta, but for also providing them with such great competition. He also thanked Rob Gray who had played a pivotal role in encouraging him into the Quarter Tonners.

Second place overall went to Kieran Hayward and his team of Mark Lees, Duncan Yeadlsey, Ben Cooper and Sam Richmond sailing the 1978 Fauroux designed Blackfun. This team also won the Rigit UK Low Rating Division Trophy. 

Louise Morton and her all girl crew of Lucy Macgregor, Kate Macgregor, Susie Russell, Vicky Lenz and Bethan Carden aboard the 1978 Fauroux designed Bullet took third place overall and also claimed the Coutts Trophy for the boat with the most race wins, thanks to their three conquests on the opening day.

In the Corinthian Division for all amateur crews Pierre Paris’s Pinguin Playboy, designed in 1979 by Fauroux and crewed this week by Jerome Herbert, Rodolphe Deschamps, Benoit Duchemin and Baptiste Touzard, claimed the Corinthian Quarter Ton Cup Trophy for an incredible fifth time.  This wonderful group of friends sail over from Le Havre each year to compete and are terrific international ambassadors for the class. 

Second place in the Corinthian Division went to the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup winner Hellaby, which was designed by Laurie Davidson and this week has been crewed by helmsman Simon Smith, owner Rob Stewart, Nick Young, Alistair Blair and Barry Shotton from the Medway. The Corinthian podium is completed by the 1974 Norlin designed Olivia Anne VI, owned by Jan Thirkettle and crewed by Matt Perkins, Maria Perkins, Ewan Adams and Will Holden.

The regatta came to a delightful conclusion with the traditional Quarter Ton Cup Gala Dinner and Prize Giving, held in Cowes Yacht Haven Events Centre.  Class Patron Bob Fisher was on hand to oversee proceedings and help present the prizes and as usual much merriment was had by all.  

Alongside the racing prizes there was also the presentation of the traditional QTC special awards. 63 years young Jo Manser of Great Bear IV took home the Quarter Ton Walking Stick, which is awarded to the Oldest Bowman in the fleet. Terence Dinmore, Dan Pearce, Ian Court, Jon Kilburn and Dave Green of Captain Moonlight won the Oldest Combined Crew Age prize with a combined age of 371 years, which averages out at just over 74 years young! At the opposite end of the spectrum Blackfun’s crew won the prize for the youngest team at the regatta with a combined age of just 154 years.

One of the biggest cheers of the evening was reserved for the presentation of the Marineware Concours d’Elegance Trophy which was awarded to the 1976 Stephen Jones designed Wings, owned by Berry Aarts. Wings has looked particularly splendid this week in her striking orange livery and Bob Fisher was particularly proud to award the trophy personally as Wings is the boat which he skippered to fifth place in the 1978 Quarter Ton Cup in Japan. Berry and his team are long standing supporters of this regatta and their love of and pride in Wings are clear to see and make them hugely popular winners.

Photographs are available from www.fionabrown.smugmug.com.


Day 2

Tricky Conditions and a Big Shake Up on Day Two of 2018 Quarter Ton Cup

The second day of the 2018 Revival Quarter Ton Cup brought gorgeous warm sunshine and extremely challenging conditions for the 21 strong fleet off Cowes. A constantly shifting and variable northerly wind ranging from 6 to 16 knots, plus a building flood tide kept both the crews and the race committee on their toes. In a single leg the boats could find themselves going from ghosting along with crew to leeward to broaching out in the gusts, whilst the race committee had to hold their nerve, yet be ready to act quickly when a shift held instead of swinging back.

With the forecast for tomorrow’s final day of racing threatening northerly winds of sub-five knots, Race Officer Rob Lamb wisely elected to run a further four races, races five to eight of the series, leaving just a single race to complete on the final day. A decision universally applauded by the fleet.

The change of pace brought some new faces to the fore and some interesting changes to the leader board. The racing was also extremely close with many results being decided by just a couple of seconds.

Sam Laidlaw’s Aquila and Kieran Hayward’s Black Fun revelled in the new conditions, winning two races apiece. Also enjoying the challenge was Catrina and Ian Southworth’s Whiskers, Julian Metherell’s Bullit and Barry Cunningham’s Quest, who all claimed top three finishes during the day.

One team not so happy with the lighter conditions was Louise Morton’s Bullet crew, who went into the day with a confident overall lead, but seemed to struggle to gain traction and frequently found themselves buried in the pack.

Quarter Ton Cup reigning champion Aquila was by far the best performer of the day, claiming a 2, 1, 1, 4 score line. With the series’ single discard now coming into play and a discarded worst score of fifth place in yesterday’s third race this gives Aguila an unassailable six-point lead over her nearest rival. But whilst the overall winner may already have been decided, the battle for the remaining podium positions will go down to the wire. Blackfun won the opening race of the day, but faltered with an eleventh in race six, before coming back with a second and a win. She now sits second overall on 22 points with the 11th place as her discard. Bullet has moved down into third place on 24.5 points with a discard of 7th, while four further points behind her sits Whiskers on 28.5 points and discarding 8.5. All three teams will no doubt be offering up prayers to the weather gods tonight for sufficient wind for one final race to decide the remaining podium placings tomorrow.

For the past few Quarter Ton Cups Pierre Paris’s Pinguin Playboy has ruled the roost in the Corinthian (all amateur) Division, and yesterday it started to look like 2018 might follow the same pattern, but today she discovered she has some serious competition on her hands. Robbie Stewart’s Hellaby claimed race five from Pinguin Playboy by nine seconds, whilst in race 6 she found herself pushed down into fourth behind Jan Thirkettle’s Olivia Anne VI, Hellaby and Edward White’s Joker. Hellaby then won race seven from Olivia Anne VI and Joker and once again Pinguin Playboy had to be content with fourth. But in race eight Pierre and his team found their form again to win by fourteen seconds from Hellaby with Olivia Anne third. Overall this means that, going into the final race, Pinguin Playboy hangs onto the Corinthian lead by a single point from Hellaby with Olivia Anne VI in third and Joker fourth.

But the Revival Quarter Ton Cup is about more than just racing results. Anyone who has ever raced a Quarter Tonner will tell you just how much fun the boats are and what wonderful histories so many of them have. A lot of those sailing this week have returned to the class having first raced Quarter Tonners back in their heyday of the 1970s and 80s, and we have several teams vying for the trophies for the oldest combined crew age and the oldest bowman. The camaraderie is incredible, the banter at the bar is hillarious and level of support amongst the crews, particularly for any new teams joining the fleet, is heart-warming. The age range is also impressive with a number of much younger crews getting in to the Quarter Tonners because they realise that the class offers them some of the best racing they will find at surprisingly low cost. It’s also great to see that the Quarter Tonners are an equal opportunities fleet with all girl crews like Louise Morton’s taking on the boys on a level playing field and many mixed crews.

This evening the teams are enjoying a well-deserved night off after a punishing eight races over two days and tomorrow everyone will be hoping for sufficient wind to complete one final race to decide the series. Regardless of the conditions, one thing we can guarantee is that the regatta will close tomorrow evening with the infamous Quarter Ton Cup Gala Dinner and Prize Giving, which this year is being held in the Cowes Yacht Haven Events Centre, with special guest and Class Patron Bob Fisher in attendance.

 

Day 1

Quarter Ton Cup Off To A Flying Start

The opening day of the 2018 Revival Quarter Ton Cup Regatta, being held off Cowes from 20 to 22 June, got off to a flying start with four cracking races in a steady west-south-westerly breeze of 12-18 knots. Although initially overcast, by the start of race three the sun had broken through and the second half of the day produced classic champagne sailing conditions for the 21 strong fleet. With short windward leeward courses in the Central Solent, Race Officer Rob Lamb kept the pace on to give his customers plenty of fast, furious and fun competition.

There’s something of a ballistics theme to the overall standings at the end of day one, with Louise Morton’s 1978 Fauroux designed Bullet taking three race wins and a seventh to give her a three-point overall lead from Julian Metherell’s 1979 Fauroux designed Bullit, which was victorious in the final race of the day. Bullit is on equal points with Sam Laidlaw’s Rolf Vrolik designed Aquila, who sits third overall on countback alone.

Louise and her team put their stamp on the regatta early with a terrific start in race one, which they translated into a handsome lead by the first mark through picking their way cleverly up the right side of the course. Louise’s husband Peter Morton sailing the 1986 McIlraith designed Innuendo, which won the opening race of the 1987 Quarter Ton Cup in Cork, was close on her tail, but an uncharacteristic stumble as they hoisted the kite for the first time saw them spinning out into a classic Chinese gybe and loosing valuable time.  With Innuendo out of the running it was Ian Southworth and the Whiskers boys who took second place with Aquila third. After sailing Whisker’s John Santy noted, “We’ve had a fabulous day but it’s incredibly close racing. There are just seconds in it so one slip and you’re out the back door. We haven’t always got the speed we need but as usual we’re loving every minute of it.” 

Initially it looked as if Aquila might have the better of Bullet in race two, but a mark rounding misjudgement saw her forced to take a penalty. Bullet went on to win by 35 seconds while Aquila had to be content with second place. Kieran Hayward’s Blackfun, which was launched in 1976 to a Laurie Davidson design and won that year’s Quarter Ton Cup in New Zealand with four straight wins, took third place.

The sun came out during race three adding that little extra sparkle to an already spectacular day’s racing.  Bullet once again ensured she was not only right on the line, but also in clear air – an invaluable commodity in a fleet as tight as this one. She romped home for her third win of the series ahead of Bullit, who took second place by a mere second from Innuendo. 

The final race of the day brought slightly lighter conditions and saw Bullet miss her step for the first time in the series. Bullet’s Kate Macgregor explained, “We just missed a few small shifts up the first beat. We managed to gain some places, but it’s so close that it’s hard to fight your way back.”

Bullit took full advantage of Bullet’s misfortunes and stormed home to victory from Blackfun with Aquila third, just one second ahead of Pierre Paris’s 1979 Fauroux designed Penguin Playboy.

In the Corinthian Competition for all amateur crews six teams are vying for the victor’s laurels. Pinquin Playboy currently leads Robbie Stewart’s Hellaby, which was designed by Laurie Davidson and finished second to Bullit in the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup in Auckland, by five points with Edward White’s 1979 Jezequel designed Joker in third.

This year’s competition sees the return to the fleet of several old friends including Jan Thirkettle’s delightful Olivia Anne VI, which was built in 1974 to a Peter Norlin design and is a 26’ Quarter Ton version of Norlin’s Scampi Half Ton Cup winner. Jan and her team are no strangers to the Revival Quarter Ton Cup, and after some time off cruising they are delighted to be back on the race course. A second iteration design, still in near original configuration and sailed by a crew of family and friends, they may struggle to challenge their bigger third iteration sisters for the silveware, but that doesn’t stop them enjoying themselves or sailing the boat extremely hard to a creditable 16th overall after four races. 

The forecast for the second day of competition sees plenty of sunshine and a north-north-westerly breeze in the mid-teens. However, for Friday’s final day conditions are expected to be very light.  The Race Committee has confirmed that it hopes to run four more races on day two in case Friday’s light winds limit the number of races possible.