Seventeen Half Ton crews experienced five heydays at the Fast Lines Half Ton Classics Cup in Cowes. The Valhalla of Western European sailing, on the more English than English Isle of Wight, showed itself in all its facets.
The organization relied on the efforts of some local volunteers but also the professionalism of the RORC race organization.
The twelfth Cup since the creation of the class, the first since 2018, was an eventful edition. It wasn’t just the Irish who walked away with the prizes this time.
Five days of racing on the cutting edge means nine rounds, one of which is a long distance inshore and the rest windward/leeward or ’round the cans’ races. All in a bubble of the windless heat of an exceptional summer and in between the threatening, rainy thunderstorm zones.
Community of sailors
‘It was also nice to see the sailors we have missed for so long,’ says Half Ton Class secretary and fellow participant Bert Janssen. Of course, the cup experienced the same impact of what the world has undergone in the last two years.
The restart of sailing events is difficult everywhere. But the turnout – and the fact that it has been highlighted in the sailing press – is a merit in itself.
With the exception of the long distance, all series were sailed in predominantly light winds and fairly flat seas. But many especially remember the downwind courses of the inshore in the western part of the Solent, where the log climbed over ten knots and more.
Indeed, some Half Tonners can still show some stability antics.
Philippe Pilate, HTC chairmanThe Half Ton spirit dominates everything in Cowes: an international company of top sailors and new talents sailing boats of all kind.
Great race, hard recoil
The domination of the Irish in the class is not exactly surprising. Checkmate XV and Swuzzlebubble have taken turns winning the Cup since 2013. More than once this year, the four Irish participants are the first to turn around the windward mark.
For David and James Dwyer and team (Swuzzlebubble) the penalty must have arrived hard, after they finished with a big lead in a spectacular spinnaker run. 27 instead of 1.5 points is barely made up for.
King One (Patrick Boardman, IRL) claimed final victory with 1/4/3/2/
7/ 11/1.5/1/2 (14.5).
Harmony (John Swan, IRL) took second place with 23 points.
Halfajet, (Ronan Treussart, FRA), made up for a lot by a victory in the last series, and finished third.
Inch by inch
The British Halftonners bit off, such as Chimp, -2nd in the long distance-, Quokka 9, 2nd in races 1 and 4- and Hullabaloo XV, the Hustler 32 F/r of the 72-year-old David Evans who seemingly never did anything but sail.
The Belgian General Tapioca team of Philippe Pilate – winners of the HTC of 2003 and 2009 – did not make it into the first half of the overall ranking.
“Because apparently we didn’t find the right setting on board,” he commented.
And then there was the Norwegian Half Moon of the always broadly smiling Martin Kamperhaug. Martin is an avid sailor who only just before this championship went to pick up his Jean Berret 1978 design in La Rochelle.
In fact, they only brought their experience but stumbled upon the countless technical elements that clearly need to be treated.
Only towards the last rounds there was also more crew on board than the initial three men, but that did not lift the Half Moon higher in the rankings.
And still Martins’ smile didn’t go away.
The Norwegian Connection
All factors that earned the skipper and crew the coveted Half Ton True Spirit trophy, chosen with overwhelming unanimity among all participants.
To top it all off, Kamperhaug also announced that his club welcomes every Halftonner for the 13th Half Ton Classics Cup in Hankø, in southern Norway, near the Kattegat.
Norway counts more than twenty Halftonners, which in itself is an interesting challenge to come over en masse.
Let’s meet there again from 13 to 19 August 2023 in Hankø.