With pre-regatta registration now complete 22 teams have confirmed their entry to the 2014 Half Ton Classics Cup, hosted by the Sport Nautique Saint-Quay-Portrieux (SNSQP). Whilst the entry number might be smaller than in recent years the standard of the fleet is without doubt exceptional and a very closely fought competition is expected.
Bert Janssen, President of the Half Ton Owner’s Association, commented; “The quality of this year’s fleet is quite extraordinary. The boats are looking spectacular and the caliber of the sailors in attendance increases every year. The ongoing success of the Half Ton Classics Cup is something we are extremely proud of and we are delighted that this year we can look forward to such a great competition. We are also delighted to be racing in Saint-Quay-Portrieux and enjoying all the delights that the north coast of Brittany has to offer both afloat and ashore.”
Today the teams spent the day making their final preparations for the regatta including attending a competitors briefing at which François Coudray, Director of SNSQP welcomed the teams and outlined the programme for the week. He then handed over to Laurent Brégeon who presented a technical briefing on the local currents, weather forecasts, navigational hazards such as sandbars and rocks, and explained the various courses to be used during the week.
Formal registration closed at noon today allowing the teams plenty of time for a decent lunch in one of the many great local restaurants, before going afloat mid afternoon for a warm up race at 16.00. Sadly the wind played fast and loose with the fleet as a series of rain showers swept through killing the light breeze. The Race Committee was able to get the race underway, but within a very short time the wind was dropping to sub three knots. The fleet bravely battled on and despite the tricky conditions it soon became clear that it is going to be an extremely close event with plenty of teams in with a good chance of victory. Ultimately the wind died away completely and everyone decided to call it a day.
This evening the crews are enjoying the Opening Ceremony, which is taking place in the club room of the SNSQP. The original plan was to hold the ceremony in the beautifully decorated marque of the Half Ton Classics Cup Regatta Village, however, the weather is definitely not our friend today and a torrential downpour created a lake in the middle of the floor just prior to kick off, so our resourceful organisers quickly transferred everything to higher ground! Despite the grey weather everyone’s mood remained extremely buoyant as Eric Blanchot, President of SNSQP, and Thierry Simelière, Mayor of Saint-Quay-Portrieux welcomed the teams and made a special presentation of a unique glass of friendship commemorating the regatta to every crew member.
Tomorrow’s opening race is scheduled to start at 10.00 and there will be a competitors’ briefing at 08.30 in the regatta village. The forecast is for northwesterly winds of 10-18 knots with overcast skies and a few showers so whilst suntans might not be on the agenda some great racing should be. Up to four races will be sailed tomorrow with a mixture of windward leeward and round the cans racing. The regatta continues until Friday 11 July with racing each day including a 25-mile offshore race on Wednesday. Racing is being run under IRC handicapping to allow for the fact that the regatta incorporates Half Tonners of many different generations (please note this corrects inaccurate information given in yesterday’s press release).