The 8th edition of the Half Ton Classics Cup will take place in Nieuwpoort, Belgium, which since 2002 has been the new historical homeport of the Half Tonners. After the excellent Half Ton Classics Cups in Cowes (2011), Boulogne-sur-Mer (2013) and Saint-Quay-Portrieux (2014), the Half Tonner fleet will meet again for a week of sailing and celebrations.
After the first edition of the Half Ton Classics Cup in 2003, which started the Ton Cup revivals across the world, a growing interest in Half Tonners has been noticed, causing quite a rush by various teams to acquire a good boat. Some of them have travelled as far as some isolated Greek islands in order to resuscitate an old abandoned boat (but one with a good pedigree). A well maintained Half Tonner easily keeps its value throughout the years and can be raced at the fraction of the cost of a new boat with a crew of 6 to 7. The Half Ton regattas attract a variety of teams : youth teams, teams of older sailors who sometimes remember having sailed in the IOR-era, mixed teams.
This growing interest in the Half Tonners is particularly evident in Belgium, where a fleet of almost 20 boats is frantically preparing to welcome the foreign visitors. Latest additions to the Belgian fleet are The Red Duke (Golden Shamrock), M’Half’Raz (Joubert/Nivelt 1977 prototype), Farther Bruin (Farr 1977 design) and North Sea Three (Gahinet 1981 design). This last boat is a club boat bought in France by the Royal North Sea YC from Ostend for their ‘Start2Race’ program. The boat will be sailed by a team of young club sailors for a period of 3 years.
The organising team is counting on a 35 to 40 boat fleet to line up alongside the pontoons of the Koninklijke YC of Nieuwpoort, who already hosted the event in 2003 and in 2009. The KYCN is one of the only clubs in the world to have hosted an edition of all Ton Cups : Quarter Ton Cup, Half Ton Classics Cup, Three Quarter Ton Cup and One Ton Cup.
As in previous editions the local fleet will meet a growing foreign armada from Ireland, France, the UK and Finland. This year it is likely that for the first a Dutch team will enter the series. The strongest contenders for the much coveted Half Ton Classics Trophy, awarded to the series winner, are the Irish team from Dave Cullen sailing on the newly acquired Checkmate XV, the French teams of Jean-Philippe Cau on Sibelius, Nicolas Nadaud on Half Red, and finally Finland’s Toni Stoscheck & friends on Superhero. The biggest surprise however could come from a well sailed series boat, in the shape of David Evans’ venerable Stephen Jones’ designed Hullabaloo, which in 2009 was a very strong runner-up.
However the main prize of the Series is not going to the best overall on the water performer, but to a team selected just because it is best representing the ‘True Half Tonner Spirit’, which is quite undefinable but well known to the attending teams. This year the winner of the Half Ton True Spirit Trophy will be decided by the organisation’s shore crew team.
The Half Ton Classics Cup can count on the support of various partners, like the KYCN, the Brussels Royal YC, the City of Nieuwpoort, and commercial sponsorship from Ecover, Patagonia, Kleen Kanteen and Euro Car Parks. Other agreements are in the course of being finalised.