Today (Fri) was the final day of the 2011 Half Ton Classic Cup supported by South Boats in Cowes. Conditions were grey, windless and a little bit wet this morning. However while not as wet as yesterday morning there was a forecast for some wind late later so the committee boat and fleet headed afloat to await developments. The latest start time permitted today was 14.30 hrs and with two potential races to sail the pressure was on.
By 10.10 the wind was obviously trying to fill in but could not quite get there. The tide was ebbing and the boats still sailing down to the racecourse were only just making it over the tide so a postponement was inevitable.
Never ones to sit around feeling sorry for themselves, the Half Ton fleet kept themselves entertained on the water while they waited for the wind to arrive to enable racing to go ahead. Having sailed away from the fleet a little, Bert Jansen aboard Envol radioed the rest of the Half Tonners to tell them that the first boat to sail to them would win a round of Belgian Beers! The flurry of activity and the attempts to make the most of the tiny zephyrs of wind to claim those beers apparently were highly entertaining to watch.
At 11.55 am Race Officer Rob Lamb radioed the competitors to update them on the weather situation which was that there still was not enough wind for racing but they were continuing to hope for the best of any wind that might arrive. However,if it did not fill by 13.00 they would make the decision to abandon racing and send the boats in to begin hauling out and packing up. At 12.40 pm the Race Officer was forced to abandon any hope of racing today and sent the fleet home. Michael Kershaw’s Chimp was therefore declared the 2011 Half Ton Classic Cup winner with Philippe Pilate’s General Tapioca second and Insatiable, owned by Tim and David Cunliffe third.
Michael Kershaw had put together a strong young crew for Chimp at this event and the following excerpt taken from the official blog of the event shows the esteem in which they are held. “On the helm is Ireland’s George Kenefick, winner of a gold medal at theWorld Youth Games and one of Ireland’s top young sailors. For George IOR sailing is in his blood (his father is the legendary Neil Kenefick of Quarter Ton Cup winner Manzanita fame) and he has been sailing Quarter Tonners and Half Tonners for several seasons. Also on the crew is Roger Merino, well known as one of the top Etchells crews and a regular member of the Chimp team. Graham Love and Ed Fitzerald who both have previous Half Ton Classic Cup experience and Ian Brown of Quantum complete the crew.” What an all round achievement and here it must also be pointed out that Chimp did not in any event even have to race today as with her points tally she could not be beaten.
Congratulations to all the crew and of course in particular to Royal Cork’s own George Kenefick who has chalked up another major triumph to add to his sailing CV. And what a work up this was for him before he will shortly be competing at the Student World Championships with CIT in La Rochelle, France.
The fleet had a lengthy wait this morning (Thurs) before racing could get underway. At 10.44 am the sun was trying to make an appearance but the forecast for wind still had not materialized. At 11.15 the competitors were again updated to advise the wind was still a little unstable but there was around 7 knots from 140 degrees expected to go around to 210 degrees. The boats were instructed to leave the marina and head to the race area and finally the wind swung round to the south west and racing got under way.
During this race there was a ding dong battle between Sibelius and Chimp with George Kenefick helming and with the result on corrected time going to Chimp. Dave Cullen’s King One was doing well but apparently was involved in an incident which resulted in damage to their rig and they were forced to head home.
Race 9 was a windward/leeward course with six legs but it became something of a processional with Sibelious and Chimp match racing at the front of the fleet with Chimp emerging the winner on corrected time.
The last race of the day saw a fourth place result for Michael Kershaw’s Chimp leaving her going into racing tomorrow (Fri) for the final two races as the leader on 20 points followed by the current holder of the Cup, Phillipe Pilate, in General Tapioca on 34 points and in third place Francis Marshall’s Concorde on 52.3 points.
One is always nervous of speculation but assuming that there are not any protests pending against Chimp, then it would appear that she cannot be beaten on the present points because she is currently carrying two discards of 4 points each and with a 14 point margin need I say more. General Tapioca a 1978 Jean Berret design, who also won the event in 2003, had very consistent scores with the exception of the non discardable Round the Isle of Wight Race costing her 20 points that have to count.
Racing continues tomorrow (Fri) with Races 11 and 12 to conclude the event.
August 24th, 2011
George Kenefick in the lead in Chimp after seven races
The 38 strong fleet assembled in Cowes for the 2011 Half Ton Classic Cup, supported by South Boats, are certainly enjoying exciting and varied condition racing. The entry list represents a true cross section of the original Half Ton fleet with the oldest boat being the 1977 Davidson designed Waverider, owned by A Delvaus of Belgium, a double winner of the Half Ton Cup in 1978 and 1979 when skippered by Laurie Davidson himself. The newest boat in the fleet is the 1992 Caccerelli designed Per Elisa, owned by Britain’s Robbie Tregear, which was the last of the grand prix Half Tonners ever built, launching in 1992.
George Kenefick of Royal Cork Yacht Club is helming Michael Kershaw’s Chimp and is leading the series on 18 points. Seven races have been sailed, one discard has been applied and race 4 around the Isle of Wight counted for double points. This race was not discardable. His nearest rival is defending champion Phillipe Pate’s General Tapioca (BEL) on 29 points and in third place Tim and David Cunliffe’s Insatiable (GBR) on 40 points. The sole Irish entry David Cullen in King One is lying in eleventh position on 66 points and had an excellent win in race 7 today.
Racing continues tomorrow (Thurs) with races 8, 9 and 10 scheduled and the regatta concludes on Friday 26th with the final two races of the series scheduled for that day.