Reviving years of misspent youth

Published on June 23rd, 2014

Before the International Offshore Rule (IOR) imploded in the 90s, the handicap rule was used to define level rating classes, where each class had a maximum IOR rating. Within each class – Mini Ton, 1/4 Ton, 1/2 Ton, 3/4 Ton, One Ton and Two Ton – boats raced level, like one design.

The IOR era is mostly now a dusty chapter in sailing’s history, but a decade ago the revival of the Quarter Ton Class in the UK has evolved into the highly successful Coutts Quarter Ton Cup, which this year enjoys its 10th Anniversary. Here’s the backstory…

Eleven years ago Peter Morton and Tony Dodd, two of British yachting’s most revered senior members, were enjoying a cooling ale together and found themselves reminiscing about their misspent youths in the Quarter Ton Class. After a few more ales they decided that, despite now being old enough to know better, they would like to go Quarter Ton sailing again.

They started chatting to their old mates about this crazy idea and discovered they weren’t the only ones who had a special place in their hearts for the Quarter Tonners. And the revival Quarter Ton Cup was born.

Before long a small army of Quarter Ton enthusiasts had been mobilised and fourteen boats came to the line for the first revival Quarter Ton Cup in June 2005. It was to be a wet and windy regatta but that didn’t put anyone off and the movement rapidly gained momentum with more boats joining the fray each year.

As anyone who has ever sailed one will tell you, there is nothing quite like a Quarter Tonner for giving you bang for your sailing buck and hours of endless fun afloat. Like vintage cars, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about these funny little boats, many of which were truly extreme designs of their day. Owners lavish their time and hard earned money on them, crews both young and old love racing them, and the viewing public have taken these quirky boats and their equally quirky crews to their hearts.

This year’s tenth anniversary celebration will feature a record entry of more than 30 boats travelling from across the UK, Europe and as far afield as Hong Kong. Some of those competing have raced in all of the revival events, whilst others will be making their maiden appearance. There will also be a strong entry for this year’s Corinthian Quarter Ton Cup for teams sailing with all ISAF Classification 1 amateur crews. The Corinthian teams race within the main fleet and their results are extracted.

The familiar faces include Peter Morton sailing Bullit (1979 Fauroux), Howard Sellars sailing Bullet (1978 Fauroux), Roger Swinney sailing Innuendo (1986 McIlraith), Rob Gray aboard Cote (1990 Gonzalez), Louise Morton in Espada (1980 Farr), Willy McNeill with Illegal Immigrant (1991 Ceccarelli) and Eric Williams in Love in a Mist (1974 Kremer).

While the new faces include Robbie Stewart who recently purchased Enigma (1977 Dubois), Ian Gibb’s Doom Bar (1979 Giles) and Jamie McWilliam who is bringing Sai Kung Belle (1981 Fauroux) all the way from Hong Kong for the event. Other international competitors include Swden’s Rickard Melander sailing Alice II (1990 Morrison), Berry Aarts from The Netherlands sailing The Itch (1979 Mohnhaupt), the French team of Pierre Paris aboard Pinguin Playboy (1986 Castro) and Ireland’s Diarmuid Foley with Anchor Challenge (1979 Farr).

As always the racing will be fast, furious and fantastic fun and the partying will match the on the water activity. The sailors’ enthusiasm for the class and the event is summed up perfectly by Geoff Gritton, owner of Panic (1984 Gimpel), who comments “Thirty years ago I had the pleasure of sailing on and against the Quarter Tonners and longed to own one. Buying Panic in 2011 made that dream come true and I have loved every minute of our adventures with the boat since. The Quarter Ton Class is something truly special and I’m thrilled to be a part of it and can’t wait to hit the starting line for the tenth anniversary edition. It’s going to be epic!”

A special Souvenir Programme has been produced to mark the tenth anniversary event with contributions from Class Patron Bob Fisher, Class Chairman Peter Morton, designers Bruce Farr, Ron Holland, Tony Castro, Rob Humphreys and Phillippe Briand, owner Roger Swinney and many others. Copies are available from the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.

Hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes, a record entry of 30+ boats will race over three days from Wednesday to Friday, June 25-27, with a mixture of windward leeward and round the cans courses in the central Solent area.

Event websiteClass website


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

Source: RCYC media

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