Day 4 – Report

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Day four’s Long Inshore Race at the Half Ton Classics Cup 2018 in Nieuwpoort, Belgium, proved to be both an incredibly closely fought battle between the top boats and a game changer in the overall standings. With the race carrying a weighting of 1.5 points and being non-discardable, and with only two further races still to sail the pressure was on everyone to achieve good results.

The morning dawned overcast once again, but as the boats arrived in the race area the wind was already at 8-10 knots from the south west and building. Race Officer Paul Charlier set a course which would take the boats back and forth along the Belgian Coast going as far west as the Nieuwpoortbank Buoy and as far east as the Binnenstroombank Buoy off Oostend, giving a course of 32 miles, which took the leading boats over five and a half hours to complete.

DT2C4865Having started cleanly at the first attempt and with only a short distance from the line to the laid weather mark the fleet converged in a tightly bunched pack. Philippe Pilate’s General Tapioca had a small lead as they approached, but underestimated the tide and understood so had to tack onto port to get round. Behind them David Cullen’s Checkmate XV had judged the starboard layline perfectly and Tapioca had to tack back before she had really got pace up to avoid them. Tapioca just made it round the mark by bearing away hard to keep their transom clear, but then made the mistake of staying low when in fact the tide made the leg a starboard one tack beat. Checkmate held high, rapidly rolling Tapioca with Toni Stoschek & Janne Tukolas’ Superhero, Albert Pierrard & An Callens’ A+ and Jonny Swan’s Harmony right on their tail, followed by a big gaggle of boats including Patrick Dubus’ Ballarine (who hit the laid mark), Tom Florizoone’s Red Cloud and John Hicks’ Rampage.

DT2C4941Those who spotted Tapioca’s mistake and held high on the short second leg made it across to Westroombank in one starboard tack, but those who went low were forced to tack in on port making for plenty of excitement in the final approach. Checkmate had a couple of boat lengths lead and was followed round by Superhero with Tapioca now down to third, Harmony fourth, Robbie Tregear’s Per Elisa fifth and A+ sixth.

The next leg was a tight reach to Middlekirkbank with the building ebb tide making it tighter still, and judging the compromise between hight and pace was the key to success. While Checkmate hit the middle ground to defend her position Harmony, Tapioca and Per Elisa stayed low as others went high. As they came round Middlekirk Checkmate had successfully defended her narrow lead, but the decision to go low had paid off and Harmony was right behind her with Tapioca third and Superhero fourth. Red Cloud had sailed an excellent leg to pull up into fifth with Per Elisa sixth and A+ seventh.

DT2C4800Next up was a port one tack beat to D1 where they tacked round onto a predominantly starboard tack beat over to Neiuwpoortbank. Choosing where to put in the short tacks on the leg to Nieuwpoortbank was critical with a number of boats loosing out and others gaining significantly. As they turned downwind A+ had picked the tacks perfectly to lead, but with Tapioca, Checkmate XV and Harmony yapping at their heels.

On the leg to D1 Rampage was making good time until their guard wire snapped and all the hiking crew found themselves taking a surprise dip. Fortunately everyone managed to hold onto something so no one lost contact with the boat and they were rapidly able to self recover and continue racing, although General Tapioca and several others were in immedate radio contact and standing by to offer assistance if needed.

DT2C4771From Nieuwpoortbank the fleet bore away onto a fast reach for WK3 before bearing away again onto a long run back past Nieuwpoort to Binnenstroombank off Ostend. With the wind now gusting up to 20+ knots it was a spectacular surfing leg with a few thrills and spills along the way. One unexpected thrill and near spill happened to Jan-Jakob Muyls’ Farther Bruin (Farr 1977) as they came to the leeward mark. A tourist boat had come out from Ostend and decided to watch the racing, but got a little too close to the mark blocking their way and avoiding action had to be taken. Quite what the tourists all thought of the mad Belgian’s apparently piroueting in front of them we do not know, but for sure they were not happy with the ferry captain!

The final beat west back to finish at the Westroombank against the tide gave the option of sailing up the middle of the beat over the bank or going left and hitting the shallows inshore. A+ chose the shore and more than 20 gruelling tacks later they had passed five boats.

DT2C4727At the line General Tapioca led the fleet home followed by Checkmate XV and Harmony, but on corrected time Checkmate XV had taken a comfortable victory by a minute and fifty two seconds. It wasn’t until the boats were ashore that second place could be confirmed with Harmony beating General Tapioca by just two seconds. The stonger winds suited the Vintage IOR boats which still sail in close to original IOR configuration and despite their encouter with the tourist boat Farther Bruin sailed a superb final leg to take fourth place overall and first Vintage from Jacques Lemaire’s Waverider in fifth. Red Cloud was sixth, Superhero came home seventh and overnight leader Per Elisa was eighth, her worst result of the regatta.

With the Long Inshore having a points weighting of 1.5 its results have shaken up the overall leader board.  David Cullen’s Checkmate XV now moves into the lead with 18.5 points. Tied on 23 points are yesterday’s overnight leader Robbie Tregear’s Per Elisa and Jonny Swan’s Harmony with Per Elisa taking second place on count back. Jacques Lemaire’s Waverider is just 1.5 points behind them in fourth with Tom Florizoone’s Red Cloud in fifth on 27 points and Toni Stoschek & Janne Tukolas’ Superhero now dropping from second to sixth on 28.5 points, still well within striking distance of the podium.

DT2C4673In the Vintage Divison for boats still sailing in largely IOR format (limited modifications to their rigs and foils are permitted) Waverider continues to lead the fleet and now has an almost unassailable lead of 9.5 points. Ian Van Burm’s Fantasy is in second place, 3.5 points ahead of A+ and four ahead of Nicolas Lejeune’s Skippy’s Ton. The Vintage fleet is newly introduced for 2018 and is proving a popular new addition with some terrific racing amongst the fleet and a super camaraderie amongst these owners who enjoy the challenge of maintaining their boats as close to original as possible.

After racing the crews came together for the traditional Half Ton Classics Cup Gala Dinner at the  Koninklijke Yacht Club Nieuwpoort. But before that they all took part in another Half Ton favourite – The PopPop Boat World Championships. PopPop boats are traditional little tin boats which are steam driven using a tealight to heat a tank of water to drive a propeller. They get their name from the distinctive noise that the tiny single cylinder engine makes and they race along a special twin track course. Despite nearly eight hours afloat today the teams threw themselves into the competition and the usual attempts at cheating ensued, but ultimately fair play was achieved and the Rampage crew narrowly beat the Checkmate XV crewed to be declared 2018 PopPop Boat World Champions.

P1040205The championship concludes tomorrow, Friday 24 August. Although technically three races remain to be sailed, the fact that racing can’t start before 10.30 and that there is a final race start cut off time of 13.00 means that in reality only two races are really possible to decide this closely fought series and decide who will take home the Half Ton Classics Cup this year.

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Images From Guest Photographer batur.be

Thanks to batur.be for these great images from the regatta. Please visit Jerard’s website and Facebook pages for more images.

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Photos Day 4

Here are some photos from the early part of today’s seventh race. More images will be uploaded to www.fionabrown.smugmug.com at the end of the regatta.

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Day 4 – Results Published

The results of Race 7 and the overall standings are published and we can confirm that today’s race was won by Checkmate XV with General Tapioca second by two seconds from Harmony with Farther Bruin fourth.

With Per Elisa finishing 8th in the race it’s all change at the top of the leader board where Checkmate XV now leads from Per Elisa who is tied on points with Harmony. Waverider is fourth, Red Cloud fifth and Superhero sixth with all six boats still firmly in contention for a podium finish with two races still to go.

Click the links below to see the results for yourself.

Overall After 7 Races
Vintage IOR After 7 Races
Race 7

 

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Long Inshore – Updates

After a quick chat on the dock we’ve established that General Tapioca was first home followed by Checkmate, Harmony and Red Cloud, but Waverider was up in about 7th on the water and has probably done enough to win the race (we await confirmation on this).

On the long beat west towards the Dover Straights Waverider took the right side and made big gains. Red Cloud led around the western most turning mark having also taken the right side.

It was a really close race the whole way and the fleet was constantly changing positions through the race.

Rampage broke a guard wire lashing but fortunately all crew stayed in touch with the boat and were able to get themselves back on board without outside assistance. General Tapioca and others in the fleet were in radio contact with them on stand by to assist if needed, but no help was needed.

 

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First Boats In From Long Inshore

The leading three boats, Checkmate, Harmony and General Tapioca have just returned to the harbour. We hope to have updates about the race for you shortly.

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Long Inshore – Update

IMG_1689By now the fleet are well into their long inshore. Sorry for the lack of updates but we had no 4G (joys of going offshore!).  The race got underway on time in a nice south westerly of about 12-15 knots.  Initially tide was against the wind which made for some big chop, but about an hour in the tide turned and the sea has flattened out a bit.

The first two legs were a short beat to a port hand laid mark and then a fetch to the Weststroom Bank buoy, followed  by a tight reach out to Middlekirk Bank before then turning west towards the Straights of Dover.

With only a short distance from the line the fleet converged on the first mark in a pack. General Tapioca looked to have small lead as the approached the laid mark, but they underestimated the tide and had to tack over onto port to get round. Behind them Checkmate XV had judged the starboard layline perfectly and Tapioca had to tack back to avoid them before she had really got pace on. Tapioca just made it around still in front but made the mistake of treating it like a windward leeward spreader leg and immediately went low.  In fact the tide made the leg a starboard tack beat and Checkmate held high, rapidly rolling Tapioca. Superhero, A+ and Harmony were right on their tail  and then a big gaggle of boats including Ballarine (who hit the mark and had to do turns), Red Cloud and Rampage.

Those who spotted Tapioca’s mistake and held high on the short second leg made it across to Westroom Bank in one starboard tack, but those who went low were forced to tack in on port making for plenty of excitement in the final approach. Checkmate had a couple of boat lengths lead and was followed round by Superhero with Tapioca now down to third, Harmony fourth, Per Elisa fifth and A+ sixth.

The next leg was a tight reach to Middlekirk Bank with the building ebb tide making it tighter still and judging the compromise between hight and pace was the key to success. While Checkmate hit the middle ground to defend her position Harmony, Tapioca and Per Elisa stayed low while others went high. As they came round Middlekirk Checkmate had successfully defended her narrow lead, but the decision to go low had paid off and Harmony followed her round with Tapioca third and Superhero fourth. Red Cloud had sailed an excellent leg to pull up into fifth with  Per Elisa sixth and A+ seventh.

From there the fleet turned towards the Dover Straights and that is where we has to leave them to wend their way up and down the coast.

We’ll have more for you later.

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Day 4 – Long Inshore Race

Good morning and welcome to day 4 at the Half Ton Classics Cup in Nieuwpoort where we are just getting set up for the long coastal race which will take the Fleet uo and down the Belgian coast. It’s overcast but we have a great sailing breeze in the mid teens so we should be in for a good race.

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Day 3 Report

IMG_1308What a difference a day makes! After the grey skies and light winds of the first two days, day three of the Half Ton Classics Cup 2018 in Nieuwpoort brought a distinct change of pace for races four to six in the series. Whilst skies were still overcast for the first two races of the day, the wind had already begun to pick up. Race four offered up a fairly consistent five to six knots, for race five it was building to 6-8 knots and by race six the sun was out and the breeze was edging into double figures for a glorious finish to the day.

IMG_0716The change of pace brought some new faces to the front of the fleet and gave others a challenge. Jonny Swan’s Harmony hit the front for the first time up the first beat of race four and then hung onto her lead all the way to win by forty seven seconds on corrected time. Toni Stoschek & Janne Tukolas’s Superhero and Tom Florizoone’s Red Cloud had a superb battle for third which Superhero won by a single second. Overnight leader Robbie Tregear and his crew sailing Per Elisa took fourth with Ian Van Burm’s Fantasy fifth.

Race five was Superhero’s from the off. They came off the line with pace, shot up the first beat like a scalded cat and finished the race with a two minute and eight second lead. There was an all Irish dog fight for second and third between David Cullen’s Checkmate XV and Harmony. These two are old rivals and with two superbly drilled crews they clearly enjoyed sparing at close quarters. Checkmate eventually got the upper hand by fourteen seconds. Per Elisa was fourth again with Jacques Lemaire’s Waverider fifth.

IMG_1179It took two attempts to get race six underway as the fleet almost universally preferred the pin end and there just wasn’t room for all of them so out came the general recall flag. Pretty much the only boat clearly not over the line was Per Elisa who had pottered gently in at the committee boat end all on her own.

Determined to get them away at the second attempt the race officer brought out his U Flag, meaning that any boat on course side of the line within the final minute of the sequence would be automatically disqualified from that start. Sadly Per Elisa was not as cautious on her second start and she and Father Bruin found themselves out of the race.

IMG_1172With the wind now into double figures Checkmate XV found her form and romped home for a win by two minutes and forty seconds. Once again the chasing pack had an increadibly close race and this time it was Harmony who bested the rest, beating Waverider into third place by eighteen seconds. Red Cloud took fourth, General Tapioca fifth and Superhero sixth.

IMG_1275In the overall standings with six races now completed Robbie Tregear’s Per Elisa retains her overall lead with eleven points, while four boats are separated by just a single point for second and third. David Cullen’s Checkmate XV and Jacques Lemaire’s Waverider both count seventeen points while Toni Stoschek & Janne Tukolas’s Superhero and Tom Florizoone’s Red Cloud both count eighteen points, with each pair only seprated on count back in that order. Two further points adrift and still very much in contention with up to three races still to sail is Jonny Swan’s Harmony.

IMG_1223In the Vintage IOR Class, which has been introduced this year to recognise boats still sailing in largely original IOR format, Jacques Lemaire’s 1977 Davidson designed Waverider continues to lead the fleet by four points from Ivan Van Burm’s Fantasy, a 1980 Humphreys. One point behind Fantasy and tied for third place are Nicolas Lejeune’s 1984 Briand designed Skippy’s Ton and Albert Pierrard & An Callens’ 1985 Nissan designed A+.

Thurday’s fourth day of racing will feature the long inshore race, which has a 1.5 points weighting, and with the forecast offering a good south westerly, which is expected to build from around 13 knots up to 17 to 20 knots by late afternoon, it should be a good day for some longer distance racing.

IMG_1126After sailing the sailors came together for the daily prize giving where the Harken Winch Handles and Spinlock Deckvest Lifejacket were presented to the race winners. Also presented was the Henri Lloyd Concours d’Elegance Trophy, which is presented to the boat deemed by a secret committee to be the most beautifully presented at the regatta. After much careful inspection of this year’s entrants, many of whom are looking absolutely spectacular, the committee awarded the trophy to Paul Wayte’s modified and meticulously maintained HB31 Headhunter.

IMG_1546Also joining the Half Ton sailors on day three was Belgian Laser Radial Olympic Bronze Medallist Evi Van Acker who joined the all girl crew of Half Duke to make a presentation promoting “Mothers & Midwives Support”, the charity they are promoting through their participation this week’s. Mothers & Midwives Support is gathering funds to finance an ambulance boat for the Monvu Hospital and the Idjwi Island in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their presentation included a short video on the work of the charity and the lives of the Idjwi Island community and the Monvu Hospital, for whom the ambulance boat will provide a vital lifeline. Evi is a patron of the charity and spent time speaking with the sailors and their families about the charity’s work and why this ambulance is so important.

IMG_20180822_1914392The evening continued with a delicious crew dinner of Belgian specialities Waterzooi, a stew of fish or chicken, and Stoofvlees, a beef stew, which were both declared to be delicious and were washed down with plenty of Belgian beer.

The championship continues until Friday 24 August and will feature a mixture of windward/leeward, short coastal and long coastal courses, with a maximum of three races being sailed each day.

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Day 3 Results Posted

IMG_1336The corrected Day 3 Results are now posted and show that Per Elisa retains the overall lead by five points. Checkmate XV is second and on equal points with Waverider in third on count back and Superhero and Red Cloud tied a further point behind them with Superhero taking fourth on count back. Waverider continues to lead the Vintage IOR Division.

Click here for the full and individual race results. Day 3 report to follow shortly.

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