The competition goes right to the wire in the final race

After nine races in conditions that tested the competitors to the max, the worthy and very popular winner of the 2010 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup is the 1990 Gonzalez designed Cote owned by Darren Marston and Olly Ophaus and crewed by Rob Dyer, Dave Lenz and Chris Cooper.

Long-term supporters of the Quarter Ton Class, Darren and Olly purchased Cote in a very sorry state in winter 09/10 and have spent many hours restoring her to concourse condition. At the prize giving Darren Marston thanked his fellow competitors for an outstanding regatta and made a heartfelt and emotional speech in which he paid tribute to the many people racing this week who had helped and supported him in his sailing career, to the organisers of the event, to the sponsor Coutts and to his crew.

Going into the final day Peter Morton’s Anchor Challenge, designed by Bruce Farr in 1980 and crewed by Kelvin Rawlings, John Newnham, Stuart Childerley and Jason Carrington, led the regatta by a narrow 1.5 point margin from Cote with John Greenwood aboard Rob Gray’s 1990 Vrolik design Aquila third, Louise Morton sailing Anchor Challenge’s sister ship Espada fourth, Bullet, designed by Fauroux in 1982 fifth and Ian Southworth’s Whiskers, a 1979 Joubelt Nivelt, in sixth.

The Race Committee delivered on their promise to run three final races – races seven to nine of the series – and laid on two excellent windward leeward courses followed by a final Solent round the cans course with a spectacular running finish off Cowes. With every race there were changes on the leader board. Cote opened with a win whilst Anchor Challenge took a second putting Cote into the lead by half a point. Espada came third in moving them up into third place overall with Aquila now fourth and Whiskers fifth.

Race eight proved to be the pivotal point in the regatta for more reasons that one. As the boats came round the second weather mark Cote led Anchor Challenge round the mark and the two boats had a comfortable lead on the pack. Anchor Challenge’s kite set went well and they were looking pretty confident until a massive gust came rolling down off the shore just as bowman Jason Carrington was tidying away the jib. Within seconds the foredeck was awash and the boys were on their way to giving the fleet a master class in how to complete the perfect Chinese gybe. With the exception of the ever canny John Newnham the entire crew ended up getting a soaking and crucially it was some time before they could get the boat righted and the kite down. They immediately re-hoisted and were back on track but those vital seconds meant that they could only manage a fourth place while Cote went on to win the race. Cote now led the regatta by 2.5 points from Anchor Challenge as they prepared for one last race.

Sadly bad luck was running in the Morton family in that penultimate race and Louise Morton found herself the wrong side of the line in the closing minute of the start and subject to a 20% Z flag penalty. Her 28 point score dropped her from third down into sixth, leaving Aquila in third, Whiskers four and Bullet fifth.

The final round the cans race was an absolute cliffhanger with tidal gates, wind shifts and velocity variations galore. For the leading pack it was perhaps one of the closest races of the regatta. At each mark competitors and spectators alike tried to calculate the corrected times and there was much worried glancing back over shoulders. The final run all the way from the Hill Head shore to the finish off Cowes was neck and neck and only feet separated the leading half dozen as the crossed the finish line. As they crossed they looked back to see the chasing pack coming down on a building breeze and the stopwatches were out in force. Once the calculations had been made Whiskers was the race winner with Tony Dodd’s Purple Haze second, Aquila third, Cote fourth, Anchor Challenge fifth, Bullet sixth and Espada seventh.

Cote were declared the worthy winners of the 2010 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup with Anchor Challenge second, Aquila third, Whiskers fourth, Bullet fifth and Espada sixth. At the prize giving Stephen Kemp of title sponsor Coutts presented the prizes and thanked the Quarter Ton Class for a wonderful four year partnership and looked forward to many more years of association with the Quarter Tonners.

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Provisional Overall Top Ten Overall

1 Cote – Darren Marston and Olly Ophaus – 17 points
2. Anchor Challenge – Peter Morton – 21.5 points
3. Aquila – John Greenwood/Rob Gray – 30 points
4. Whiskers – Ian Southworth – 37 points
5. Bullet – Howard Sellars & Mike Till – 48 points
6. Espada – Louise Morton – 58 points
7. Tiger – George Kenefick and George Kingston
8. Illegal Immigrant – Willy McNeill & Mike Pascall
9. Diamond – Graydon and Thomas Dawson
10.Sergeant Pepper – Richard Thomas