17 September 2017

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2017

Winds ranging from 5 knots to 27 knots provided a thorough test of competitors at this year's Coutts Quarter Ton Cup, held in Cowes on 13-15 September. Few teams were able to maintain consistent performance across such a wide range of conditions and for most it was a very high scoring series.
Some of the 2017 Quarter Ton fleet assembled on the hard (above) and in the marina (below) at Cowes
However, Sam Laidlaw's Aguila dominated the front of the fleet throughout the championship and put up an impressively flawless performance on the last day, winning all three races. Laidlaw's team of Brett Aarons, Dan Gohl, Tom Forrester-Coles and Robbie Southwell, finished the series as overall winner, counting just nine points from seven races.


Speaking after racing Sam Laidlaw was delighted to have finally got his hands on the legendary Quarter Ton Cup, "I'm really excited, because we've had a number of attempts at this and been in the top three on several previous occasions. The crew have been fantastic. Brett has done a great job of looking after and preparing the boat and has been sailing with me for a long time now. With Dan on the bow, Tom on the jib and Robbie too we've got a very solid team.

Cote approaches the top mark during racing on the second day of the 2017 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup (photo Paul Wyeth)
"We couldn't have had two more different days. It's been a really well run regatta. It was a pity there was no racing on Wednesday, but I think it was the right call. The courses were very good and Rob Lamb did a great job, particularly in getting 4 races in on Thursday which was a real triumph.
The fleet gets underway during the second day of the 2017 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup (photo Paul Wyeth)
"We haven't really made any changes to the boat for this season. We lost our mast in Cowes last year so had to replace that, but otherwise we've just had a lot of time in the boat, working on our crew work and making small tweaks rather than anything major. It's the crew who do all the work, I just sit at the back and steer!"
Winner of the 2017 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup - Aguila (photo Paul Wyeth)
Apart from a shocker in the final race, Ian Southworth's Whiskers also sailed a consistent regatta, counting predominately first and second places to finish in second overall on 14 points. Third overall was taken by Mark Richmond's Cote on 29 points and fourth by Paul Gibbons' Anchor Challenge on 32 points.
Pinguin Playboy - the winning Corinthian entry (photo Paul Wyeth)
Pierre Paris's Pinguin Playboy is the winning Corinthian entry, ahead of Robbie Stewart's Hellaby and Jeff Dakin's Flashheart
As well as the main prize for the overall winner of the Quarter Ton Cup, the event also awards a raft of other prizes. The Roger Swinney trophy for boats other than the winners of the Open and Corinthian Divisions rating lower than 0.910 was won by Whiskers.

Terence Dinmore's Captain Moonlight won the prize for the oldest crew, with a combined age of 334 years, and Willie McNeill's Illegal the youngest (167 years). The oldest bowman, winning the walking stick, is 59-year old Led Pritchard of Whiskers. The concours d'elegance for the best-presented boat went to Lincoln Redding's Lacydon Protis.


Report by quartertonclass.org and full results are here.


9 September 2017

Phoenix (Beneteau One Tonner)

Phoenix was a Fauroux/Finot/Berret design from Beneteau (a development of Fair Lady and sistership of Coyote), and had a starring role in the 1985 Admiral's Cup. She was sailed by Graham Walker and Harold Cudmore, who had actually started their 1985 campaign with Walker's fourth Indulgence, a Daniel Andrieu-designed One Tonner. However, on Indulgence's first offshore race, the RORC's De Guingand Bowl, they sailed too close to Bembridge Ledge and in the early hours of the morning she hit an old shipwreck (the 1916 wreck of the Empress Queen) - while initially the boat seemed sufficiently intact to sail on, further inspection just half an hour later found that the boat was filling up fast.  The crew were taken off the boat by other competitors, and the boat was written off. 

Walker chartered Phoenix from the boat's owner, an American based in London, and sailed well through the British Admiral's Cup trials. Phoenix joined two other One Tonners, Jade and Panda, to make up the British team for the 1985 series. The boat's owner shared time on the boat with Walker, while Cudmore put together a strong crew, and signed up new British J-24 champion Eddie Warden-Owen to helm the boat. 
The sad sight of Indulgence being lifted from the water after her collision with a sunken wreck off Bembridge Ledge
Phoenix in fresh downwind conditions on the Solent

Hull profile of the Beneteau One Ton design of 1984/85 - the design was relatively short, light, beamy and well-canvassed, and with a high prismatic coefficient

Phoenix
Results in the 1985 One Ton Cup, held in Poole, were perhaps as expected for a crew that were still getting to know the boat, and she finished 13th in a hot 38-boat fleet, including many One Tonners that were using the event as a warm-up for the Admiral's Cup. Her team-mates Jade and Panda finished first and third. Experience from the One Ton Cup was used to tune Phoenix, with adjustments made to the ballast, deck gear and sails to trade some upwind speed for better reaching and running form.
Phoenix crosses behind Australia's Drakes Prayer in light upwind conditions during the 1985 Admiral's Cup
Phoenix in close company with the much higher rating Almagores (ITA, centre) and Jade (inshore) in the stampede to the finish of the first inshore past Cowes Green during the 1985 Admiral's Cup
Phoenix and Jade finished fourth and fifth in the first race of the 1985 Admiral's Cup, giving the British team the early overall lead in the series. That was short-lived, however, after Panda and Jade finished 29th and 35th in the second race, with only Phoenix able to post a decent place of fifth, and the team slumped to fourth, and Germany jumped into the lead. But they bounced back in the fast and fresh reaching conditions of the third race, the Channel Race - Jade, Panda and Phoenix finished first, second and eighth to bounce back into second overall.
Phoenix in fresh conditions during the 1985 Admiral's Cup (photo is possibly before the start of the Fastnet Race)
While the fourth race, inshore on Christchurch Bay, saw the bigger boats into the leading positions, Phoenix took the race win. While Panda was the winner of the Fastnet, Jade lost her rig and although Phoenix finished fourth to take out the top yacht of the series honours, the German team put in a consistent effort to win the series comfortably.  

Port Barcelona comes back into the marina during the 1986 One Ton Cup in Palma de Majorque
Phoenix later became Port Barcelona and finished third in the 1986 One Ton Cup, held in Palma de Majorque (with placings of 4/12/6/5/16/3), and 10th in the 1986 Sardinia Cup (13/15/16/9/11).
Port Barcelona soon after a start during the 1986 Sardinia Cup, with Germany's Diva G ahead and to leeward

Port Barcelona during the 1986 Sardinia Cup