25 Half Tonners from five countries confirm participation in Dun Laoghaire Regatta 25/6/07

Twenty-five Half Tonners from five countries have confirmed their participation in Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta on 12 July by entering the Ecover Half Ton Classics Cup which begins on Dublin Bay two days earlier and then merges with the 440-boat Regatta until 14 July.

Revived in 2003, some years after the Half-Tonners dominant era, the Half Ton Classics Cup is now a biennial event following the inaugural championship in Belgium and then in France in 2005.

That 2003 event was won by Phillippe Pilate of Belgium with the timber-built ‘General Tapioca’. He’s back again and hoping for the heavy airs that suit the boat so well – either way, he will be considered one of the front runners.

Irish boat ‘Blue Berret Pi’ (Connellan/Madigan), one of the few carbon boats, has finished third in the two previous events and goes well in light airs that often feature in Dublin Bay in July. Howth’s Dave Cullen and Eddie Bourke have acquired Elvstrom’s 1971 Cup winner ‘King One’ and are working hard in the pre-event period to be competitive.

They are just two of a very strong local contingent. ‘Dick Dastardly’ (Kinnear/Cusack/O’Neill) generally perform well on Dublin Bay and won last year’s Cork Week. Jimmy Houston’s Hustler SJ30 ‘Misjif’ recorded a good 3rd place in a tough Scottish Series recently while Tino Hyland’s ‘Harmony’ is Rob Humphreys’ most successful Half Ton design.

Local boats should have some advantage in the long inshore race which will head in the direction of Lambay where difficult tides are a critical factor.

Cork’s George Radley is keeping his cards close to his chest and has not revealed what boat he will actually compete in but he renowned for being competitive, no matter what he’s sailing.

Another Belgian, Nicolas Lejeune (‘Skippy’s Ton’), is taking the event so seriously that he is coming over early to compete in some Dublin Bay Sailing Club races to get a feel for the local conditions.

As runner-up at the 2005 event, Jean-Francois Nouel and his crew of ‘Hakuna Matata’ from Saint Malo represent a serious challenge for the honours while the newest boat in the fleet, the 15-year old Italian-built ‘Per Elisa’, is being campaigned by Robbie Tregear and Paul Pullen of Royal Cornwall YC and is expected to go well in light airs.

The race schedule is a practice race on Monday 9th followed by up to three races on each of the next two days, two races on day three, a long inshore race on the Friday (13) and the final race on Saturday 14.