Peter Morton's Espada has won the three-day, Coutts Quarter-ton Cup in Cowes 11/6/07

Espada sailed by Peter Morton, Kelvin Rawlings, John Newnham, Stuart Childerley and John Kemp have won the 2007 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup which concluded yesterday.

Designed by Bruce Farr in 1980 Espada has undergone extensive restoration work in the past two years, virtually all of it undertaken by Morton and his crew. Morton was delighted to finally win this illustrious trophy, more than 30 years after he first challenged for it.

The three-day regatta hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes, concluded with a final day of superbly competitive racing that brought the best conditions of the series for the 26 competitors. Race Officer Bob Milner initially held the crews ashore for an hour as the sun burnt off the mist and his team kept an eye on the evolving conditions around the Solent. Before long the first signs of a south-easterly breeze were developing and the fleet was off across the Bramble Bank and preparing to set up for the final three races of the nine race regatta. Two windward/leeward races were followed by a final romp around the cans home to Cowes which brought both the strongest winds of the day in the mid teens and the lightest when the wind dropped off to almost nothing at all as the boast struggled to cross the line against the tide off Cowes.

Tom Bombadil, designed by Doug Peterson in 1980, owned by Chris Frost and Kevin George with Kevin at the helm, also showed great form in races seven and eight scoring two thirds. They were looking set for another good result in the final race until the closing moments when the fleet compressed as the wind ran out on the final approaches to the finish and they ultimately scored an 8th, their worst result of the regatta.

The Christie/Layton/Crawford/Paul owned ASAP, designed by Fauroux in 1989 was the top performer of the day coming home with a win and two second places. Espada’s 4, 1, 1 score put them second in the individual day’s scoring. Darren Marsten’s Catch, designed by Philip Briand in 1984, was ultimately Espada’s closest challenger overall but their 2, 4, 3 final day score just wasn’t quite enough to snatch the crown.

No matter the age, design or condition of their Quarter Tonner every crew was caught up in individual battles around the race course and great fun was had by all. Two performances of particular note are Roger Swinney’s Ayanami, a 1979 David Thomas Bolero design, sailed by a crew of old friends who came 11th overall and SJ Rees’s Throbber, a 1972 Mk2 Robber design, who finished 13th and came all the way from Wales to compete.

Although lovingly maintained these boats have not yet been restored or optimised and are the ultimate embodiment of the Quarter Ton Class’s claim that you don’t need to spend a fortune to have great fun and really close racing. Also of note was the French crew of FarrNiente, a 1977 Farr 727 owned by Olivier Hays, who had sailed all the way from Le Havre to compete. “We’ll be back!” declared Olivier as they enjoyed a final Pimms on the Royal Corinthian’s terrace as the sun set on a glorious weekend.

At the prizegiving 68-year-old Pete Bryant of Alice won the oldest bowman prize. The Red Funnel Trophy for the youngest crew went to Captain Moonlight, a 1973 Paul Whiting design owned by Tye Shuttleworth, and Tony Dodd and the legendary Purple Haze crew won the oldest crew award. Ollie Ophaus was the very proud recipient of the Marine Ware Concourse d’Elegance Tropphy, awarded for the fantastic refit job he has done on the 1978 Ed Dubois-designed Supernova. The Ron Holland Eygthene Trophy for the first production boat went to Chris Frost and Kevin George’s Tom Bombadil.

Overall Results

1st GBR50 Espada, Peter Morton, 2, 3, (21), 1, 1, 1, 4, 1, 1 – 14 points
2nd GBR502 Catch, Darren Marston, 1,2, 1, 7, (12), 2, 2, 4, 3 – 22 points
3rd GBR9999 ASAP, Christie/Layton/Crawford/Paul, 3, 8, (22), 2, 5, 7, 1, 2, 2 – 30 points
4th GBR7278 Tom Bombadil, Chris Frost/Kevin George, 4, 4, 2, 6, 3, 5, 3, 3, (8) – 30 points
5th GBR7055 Runaway Bus, Paul Kelsey, 6,1,3, 3, 10, 8, 6, 5, (15) – 21points
6th GBR7027 Super Q, Louise Morton, (16), 10, 6, 9, 4, 4, 8, 7, 4 – 52 points.