Seventh race at Kinsale sees Swuzzlebubble edge ahead at Half Ton Classics Cup

In a clear statement of intent for the remainder of the regatta, Phil Plumtree’s Swuzzlebubble found form on the second day of racing at the Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup at Kinsale with two wins and two second places during a long day afloat sailed in ideal conditions.

Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup 2017

While there was a building breeze of 12 to 20 knots ending in champagne sailing conditions for day two, a near gale forecast for Wednesday morning may yet mean a lay day is on the cards and a break in the programme could be the best hope for a tight pack of runner-up contenders to break Plumtree’s dominance of the 21-boat fleet.

Two bullets for David Cullen on Checkmate XV edges him into second overall, five points behind Swuzzlebubble and just a single point ahead of Nigel Biggs on Checkmate XVIII, the previous overnight leader. A consistent day for Mike and Ritchie Evans’ The Big Picture, Cullen’s clubmates from Howth, Co. Dublin keeps them in the hunt in fourth overall and just ten points off the leader.

Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup 2017

On the water, Swuzzlebubble’s impressive upwind performance is hard to miss and although needing to finish by more than a minute and a half over her nearest rival to win on IRC handicap, Plumtree’s team is absent from the boat on boat tussle for places further astern.

Rollercoaster results across the two days afflicted several crews, notably Paul Pullen’s Miss Whiplash who lost his consistent form of thirds and fourth places from Monday and Paul Wayte’s Headhunter who used both the event discards to drop eleventh and twelfth places.

Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup 2017

Class President Philippe Pilatte on General Tapioca also used both discards but also scored a third and fourth places to move up the leaderboard to fifth overall though a distant 19 points off first place.

Meanwhile the forecast of strong winds for Wednesday and possibly again later in the week led Principal Race Officer Anthony O’Leary to set four races for the day with three windward/leeward courses followed by a ‘round the cans’ race finishing inside Kinsale natural harbour overlooked by the historic Charles Fort.

Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup 2017

The possibility of the gale blowing through by lunchtime on Wednesday has not been discounted and the intention to hold a coastal course remains – pending a decision by the race committee in the morning. The longer race offers 1.5x multiplier and could prove critical in deciding the final outcome of the championship.

Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup 2017

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Three races begin Half Ton Classics Cup but no runaway leaders at Kinsale

Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup 2017

Consistent sailing by Nigel Biggs on his newly-refurbished Checkmate XVIII put the British team at the top of the leaderboard of the Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup at Kinsale after a rain-soaked opening day. However, just two points separate first to fourth places and the regatta is set to be a cliff-hanger.

Although Phil Plumtree’s two-times past champion Swuzzlebubble had impressive leads on the water, IRC handicapping greatly levelled the playing-field and the iconic Kiwi yacht by designer Bruce Farr could only muster a win in the opening race before scoring second and eighth places for the rest of the day and lies third overall.

In contrast, Biggs had two fourth places and a second while Paul Pullen’s Miss Whiplash had a 3-3-4 day and only missed being overnight leader on the tie-break with Checkmate XVIII.

Of the host nation, a win in the third race for Howth Yacht Club’s Michael and Ritchie Evans on The Big Picture neatly transformed their day after earlier sixth and fifth places. Fourth overall puts them two points ahead of their clubmate David Cullen on Checkmate XV who also had a race win to counter and eighth and a fifth during the day.

“Before the first race, I thought it would be easy to pick the eventual winner but after today I’m not so sure,” Cullen said. “The standard is definitely much higher and probably the most competitive half-ton fleet we have seen in years.”

Of the conditions, the only dryness were the remarks by visitors of the irony that the committee boat’s name is ‘Irish Mist’ on a soaking wet day with a moderate breeze that built to 20 knots by the final race. Principal Race Officer Anthony O’Leary promised quick windward-leeward races of under an hour and a 0.8-mile beat ensured a fast programme.

The prospect of clear skies and breeze for Day 2 will see another three windward-leeward races in place of the planned coastal race as near gale conditions forecast for Wednesday may disrupt the event programme.

The fleet has been reduced by one boat as Superhero by owned Toni Stoschek and Janne Tulokas was dismasted in race two. The class had previously rallied to ensure Finnish crew would make the start-line after their original mast was wrecked when a HGV reversed into it while waiting to board a ferry in Holyhead.

The Half Ton spirit is especially in the mind of class President Philippe Pilatte of General Tapioca, currently lying seventh overall. “With a good team and good sails, it is possible to race a 40-year old boat competitively,” he said. “It’s all part of the history of yacht racing and keeping it alive; it is ‘competition with roots.’” Feeding back information to the IRC Rating office to help older boats remain competitive with modern designs is also a class priority.

Full results here

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Kinsale set for Half Ton Classic showdown

O'Leary Life Sovereigns Cup 2017With a 21-strong record entry, three new boats, a formidable defending title-holder and a two-times runner-up all in the mix, next month’s Euro Car Parks Half Ton Classics Cup has all the ingredients for a memorable championship (Sunday 13th to Friday 18th August 2017, Kinsale YC, Ireland).

New owner Phil Plumtree will carry on Swuzzlebubble’s pedigree and will be aiming to make 2017 her third title win since successfully launching in 2014 under Peter Morton.  Greg Peck followed this with victory again in 2016 so on paper appears to present a huge challenge and a good reason to be the bookies favourite.

But three new boats represent unknown challenges and include Checkmate XVIII owned by Nigel Biggs, Paul Wayte’s brand new un-raced Headhunter and Kinsale’s own George Radley whose new Half Tonner Cortegada should have the edge for local knowledge.

However, a handful of other contenders could yet upset the form guide.

Trastada from Scotland also has a strong track-record as does General Tapioca from Belgium that has several titles under her belt.  The Kinsale championship represents unfinished business for Paul Pullen’s gorgeous Falmouth entry Miss Whiplash who has been runner-up for the last two years and he will be on a mission to take the Cup in 2017.  There are also six Irish boats participating, all of whom have had success but Dave Cullen’s recent victories on Checkmate XV at Dun Laoghaire Week and the Sovereigns Cup places him best of the home fleet.

Amongst the six nations taking part, Finland will be represented by Superhero that is campaigned by long-standing Finnish Sailors Toni Stoscheck and Janne Tukolas.

Meanwhile, the ethos of the class will also be to the fore as the “True Spirit Award” remains the ultimate accolade for the boat that encompasses the spirit of the Half Ton Class and is open to any boat to win. “Gladiatorial on the water but best friends ashore” the class has a unique spirit where everyone shares and helps each other while protests are seriously frowned upon.

Pre-event front-runners for the award include Ian Van Burm’s beautiful evergreen wooden Half Tonner Fantasy and previously demonstrated the class spirit by sailing to the 2007 event in Dublin all the way from Belgium.  Patrick Dijoud’s Pivoine will arrive by sea this year from France as the class’s newest addition.

One thing all of the teams are guaranteed is competitive racing under the stewardship of PRO Anthony O’Leary, plus a huge welcome from Kinsale Yacht Club and a week-long party that few will forget.

As well as being one of the most picturesque locations in Europe, Kinsale YC as the host venue is situated in the heart of Ireland’s culinary capital and is an area steeped in maritime history.

The event is sponsored by Euro Car Parks together with AGK Displays, MF Services, Windward Hotels, Provincial Floor Coverings, Martin Reilly Motors and Harken UK.

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Half Ton Classics Newsletter 1/17

IMG_7791Dear Half Tonners & Friends

This is the first newsletter of the year 2017. In view of the event that will mark our summer, we have so many things to tell you…


The local organization committee led by David Cullen has been working very hard and we’re extremely happy to present the final version of the Notice of Race and the 2017 Entry Form. 

With the present entry conditions in mind (lower entry fee, reductions on ferry transfers) we hope that a big number of ‘continental’ Half Tonner teams will decide to make the voyage to Kinsale this summer.

As you will also read in the NoR, one of the conditions to enter the HTCC 2017 is that you ‘are a fully paid up member of the Half Ton Class Europe’. A what? Let us explain that in the next paragraph…

THE 2016 AGM – In November 2016 all active members of the Class were invited to attend the Annual General Meeting in Nieuwpoort (BEL). We were very happy to see representatives from Falmouth, Brittany and East Coast boats, as well as the usual faces from the local Belgian fleet.

After a brief look int0 the past to ensure we did the right thing in 2016, we looked forward to the next racing season and its apotheosis in August: the next Half Ton Classics Cup. A nice presentation prepared by David Cullen gave us a good idea of what to expect.

We also took a closer look at the Class’ financial situation and all attendees agreed to a proposal to start with a kind of official membership. An annual membership fee of 50 EUR will be asked of the active members. In return the Class will provide you with a Class bow sticker.

We reviewed the technical requirements for Half Tonners, and decided that they were OK as they are, so no major changes here. The Class is very happy with the current Class life, and will closely monitor this in order to avoid an arms race as witnessed in the last years of the IOR. A result of this is that in the near future there will be Class band limits. We are thinking of, for example, an upper band limit of 0.965/0.97 IRC rating. A final proposal will be presented to you during an owners meeting in Kinsale.

We also decided to create a more formal Class Association, complete with a proper bank account number and so… In the next newsletter we will provide you with all the details.


It is a fact: other regatta organizers are also quite active which is quite interesting for you as it allows you not only to fill your sailing agendas, but also to better prepare for Kinsale… A nice calendar is included in the GA presentation.

Fair winds, a good health and do not forget to practice (sailing)…

Best regards,
Philippe & Bert

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Notice Of Race + Registration Open For Kinsale 2017

SwuzzlebubbleVisit for all the latest news, Notice of Race, Entry/Registration, accommodation details and more from the 2017 Half Ton Classics Cup being hosted by Kinsale Yacht Club from 14 to 18 August.

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Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup Trophy Winner

With huge thanks to those who helped by providing images here is a quick gallery of our 2016 Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup trophy winners

Greg Peck and the winning crew of Swuzzlebubble

Spirit Of Half Ton Trophy winner David Evans

Jonathan Cunliffe of Emiliano Zapata with the Corinthian Trophy

Richard & Ursula Hollis and the crew of Crakajax with the Production Boat Trophy

Paul Pullen and the crew of Miss Whiplash with the Sta-Lok Trophy
Mel Sharp and the crew of Demolition with the Concourse d’Elegance Trophy.

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Help! Prize Giving Photos Needed

Can you help us? Fi discovered she’d had a major memory card failure when she got back from the prize giving last night and urgently needs help from anyone who took pictures of the winning crews and can share their pictures with her. Please email any shots to Huge apologies to all the crews whose photos we thought had been captured. 😦

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Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup ’16 – Final Press Report

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, 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, 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 eight gate 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.

Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup 2016 Champion Greg Peck of Swuzzlebubble
Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup 2016 Champion Greg Peck of Swuzzlebubble

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.

David Cullen and Bert Janssen Review Falmouth '16 and Preview Kinsale '17
David Cullen and Bert Janssen Review Falmouth ’16 and Preview Kinsale ’17

Final results and further information about the Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup 2016 can be found at:

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Class Secretary Bert Janssen and Ireland’s David Cullen Review Falmouth ’16 and Preview Kinsale ’17

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Interview with 2016 Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup Champion Greg Peck

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