Coutts Quarter Ton Cup – Day 1 Report

Sadly strong winds and big seas stopped racing on the opening day of the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup hosted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, incorporating the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, in Cowes.  The event, which runs from 8 to 11 July, has attracted an entry of 21 boats from across the UK, Ireland and France.  At the opening skipper’s briefing Race Officer Rob Lamb warned the competitors of the impending strong winds, but declared his intention to run racing if at all possible with a first planned start time of 11.00.

The race committee went afloat at 09.00 and headed straight to the planned race area off Hill Head.  Sadly conditions there were extremely rough with strong gusty winds making sailing for the historic and relatively fragile Quarter Tonners impossible.  The committee then moved in towards Osborne Bay in the hope of achieving some shelter from the Island, but even there conditions were already marginal. Rob Lamb initially announced a postponement, but after an hour’s wait, with gusts well up into the high 30s and the forecasting promising even more wind, the decision was made to hoist AP over A and call off racing for the day.

Whilst disappointed not the sail, the fleet were in agreement with the decision and made the most of the unexpected free day ashore.  Whilst some took the opportunity to catch up on work, others created impromptu adventures including the crew of Alice II, whose owner Rickard Melander celebrated his birthday today with a delicious seafood lunch with his team at legendary Island eatery The Hut.

Four teams who perhaps were not disappointed to stay ashore were the four newest crews in the fleet, who had all be presented with a welcome bottle of Rum Jungle Rum at last night’s welcome reception.  Julian Metherell, new owner of Espada, Ben and Mike Daly who now own Cobh Pirate (the former Illes Pitiuses, winner of last year’s Corinthian Quarter Ton Cup), Rob Mclean of Spider Pig and Paul Gibbons, new owner of Anchor Challenge, were all warmly welcomed by the assembled fleet who explained that tradition demand they drink their bottle of Rum Jungle there and then.

One team that sadly cannot be here this year is Ian Southworth’s Whiskers. The Whiskers crew is as famed for their sailing talent as they are notorious for their lack of organisational and planning skills.  Typically they enter the event at the eleventh hour and finish preparing the boat on their way to the first start.  So disappointed are they not to be here this year that Whiskers’ navigator Lincoln Reading has been in contact to announce they are donating a very special prize for presentation at the final dinner.  The prize will be presented to the team who in the opinion of the race committee is the most organised and prepared for the regatta – in other words a boat that is the complete antithesis of Whiskers!

This evening the crews are enjoying a BBQ at the RORC/RCYC’s waterside clubhouse where the sailors remain enthusiastic to get racing underway tomorrow.  “There’s a very nice camaraderie around the event, but equally it’s a very competitive fleet. There are probably more than half a dozen boats capable of winning this year.” Noted Quarter Ton Class Secretary and past Coutts Quarter Ton Cup champion Louise Morton, who this year is racing FRA7891 Bullit, in which her husband Peter won last year’s event.

Race Officer Rob Lamb has confirmed that he intends to run up to four races tomorrow and with lighter winds expected this should be achievable.  The forecast anticipates a light North Westerly in the morning,which will swing South West later in the day with the promise of an afternoon sea breeze.  A total of nine races are scheduled, three races are required to constitute a series and if six races or more are sailed there will be a single discard.  The fleet will race together as one, but prizes will be awarded for three divisions – Open Division (for all yachts), Corinthian Division (open to all amateur crews) and Low Rating Division (for boats with an IRC rating of 0.899 and below.  The regatta concludes on Friday.

Revived Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Winners

2005 – Purple Haze (1977 David Thomas design) – Tony Dodd
2006 – Enigma – (1977 Ed Dubois design) – Ed Dubois
2007 – Espada – (1980 Bruce Farr design) – Peter Morton
2008 – Tom Bombadil (1982 Doug Peterson design) – Chris Frost & Kevin George
2009 – Anchor Challenge (1978 Bruce Farr design) – Peter Morton
2010 – Cote (1990 Gonzalez design) – Darren Marston & Olly Ophaus
2011 – Overall – Espada (1980 Bruce Farr design) – Louise Morton
Corinthian – Tiger (1989 Fauroux design) – George Kenefick
2012 – Overall – Bullit – (1978 Fauroux design) – Peter Morton
Corinthian – Tiger (1989 Fauroux design) – George Kenefick
2013 – Overall – Espada – (1980 Bruce Farr design) – Louise Morton
Corinthian – Pinguin Playboy (1979 Fauroux design) – Pierre Paris
2014 – Overall – Bullit (1978 Fauroux design) – Peter Morton
Corinthain – Illes Pitiuses (1983 Fauroux) – Dominic and Jason Losty

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