A total of 26 yachts line up for today's start of the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 8/6/07

Twenty-six classic quarter tonners, representing virtually all eras and design trends in its history will compete in this weekend’s Coutts Quarter Ton Cup. Starting today and hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes, competitors will race in the central Solent on windward/leeward courses.

Among the new faces at this year’s regatta will be Frenchman Oliver Hays in his Farr 727 Farrniente who has just arrived in Cowes after an 18-hour crossing from his home port of Le Havre. Representing Wales there are two Robbers – Steve Rees’s Throbber and John Griffiths’ Pindari.

The Cowes home fleet has also grown in numbers with Mike Till and Howard Sellars now owning the Fauroux-designed Bullet, while Paul Kelsey comes fresh from success at the Vice Admiral’s Cup in his Paul Whiting-designed Runaway Bus.

From Weymouth comes Captain Moonlight, designed by Paul Whiting and owned by a five man syndicate who each take turns to helm. Proving that Quarter Ton sailing runs in the blood Richard Thomas, son of designer David Thomas who has two of his designs competing this weekend, will helm the Bolero Sgt Pepper.

Ollie Ophaus, owner of Supernova, has clearly decided that his otherwise rookie team needs some experience and gravitas and is shipping in Tom Richardson of Elephant Boatyard and original era Quarter Ton fame to helm.

As well as the new faces we also have some old favourites too. Tony Dodd’s Purple Haze will hope to reprise her 2005 victory, but as usual they will face stiff opposition from Peter Morton aboard Espada, Graydon Dawson’s Diamond, Darren Marston’s Catch and Louise Morton and the girls in Super Q.

Another old face but with a new look this year is Kevin George and Chris Frost’s Tom Bombadil. The boys have spent the winter giving the boat lots of TLC and she’s now looking fantastic. Not only does she look beautiful but she’s also performing beautifully, as evidenced by her victory in last weekend’s Vice Admiral’s Cup.

Minx – Chris Hawkes – GK24
Super Q – Louise Morton – Farr 727
Lancelot – Matt Clarke/Tony Thackray – Fauroux
Espada – Peter Morton – Farr one off
Sgt Pepper – Richard and Anna Thomas – Bolero
Purple Haze – Tony Dodd – Bolero
Diamond – Graydon Dawson – Ed Dubois
Runaway Bus – Paul Kelsey – Paul Whiting
Bullet – Mike Till/Howard Sellars – Fauroux
45° South – Laurent Beaurin – Farr 727
Farrniente – Olivier Hays – Farr 727
Pindari – John Griffiths – Robber 3E
Full Circle – Robin Russell – Humphries one off
Throbber – Steve Rees – Robber Mk 2
Ayanami – Roger Swinney, David Thomas
Tom Bombadil – Kevin George/Chris Frost – Peterson
Merlin – Russell Peace/Steve Burton – David Thomas
Extension – Tony Monk – Jacques de Riddier
Olivia Anne VI – Jan Thirkettle – Peter Norlin
ASAP – Layton/Crawford/Christie/Churchill – Fauroux
Catch – Darren Marston – Briand
Odd Job – Paul Treliving – Stephen Jones
Supernova – Oliver Ophaus – Ed Dubois
Alice – Ken Bruneflod – Morrison
Captain Moonlight – Team Moonlight – Paul Whiting
Murphy’s Law – Nick Barker – Boyd