Coutts Quarter Ton Cup next week
The 2012 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup kicks off on Monday 25 June and will feature three days of close quarters racing plus three nights of relaxed, fun filled partying for the 30+ boats and crews taking part in this revival event.
This year's regatta has attracted a record number of overseas entries including Rickard Melander's Alice II from Sweden - fresh from victory at the recent Vice Admiral's Cup, Pierre Paris's Pinguin Playboy from France, Theo and Andre Bakker's Freres-sur-Mer from the Netherlands and George Andreadis' Atalanti IV from Greece, who makes a most welcome return to the class after 21 years. Reigning Corinthian (all amateur) Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Champion George Kenefick and his young crew from Ireland will be back once more aboard Tiger to defend their Corinthian title.
New teams racing in the event for the first time include four more Irish boats - Paul Colton's 1979 Alain Jezequel-designed Cri Cri; Jason and Dominic Losty's Fauroux-designed Illes Pitiuses; Diamund Foley who now owns the Bruce Farr-designed Anchor Challenge; and Ian Travers with Per Elisa. Travers can't attend the regatta personally as his wife delivered their first baby last week, but he has lent the boat to his crew for the regatta. Olivia Chenevix-Trench has just taken delivery of Catch Me from France and all the way from Holland we have Joker, owned by the White/Byrne/White syndicate, who will be hard to miss in her distinctive orange livery.
Joining the overseas visitors will be lots of familiar faces although some of those faces will be in new boats, including revival Quarter Ton Class founder Peter Morton. Morty will be racing his newly refitted 1977 Fauroux-design Bullit and will be hoping to take the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup for a record third time in three different boats (his first victory was in 2007 in Espada and his second in 2009 in Anchor Challenge). Morty's crew are just as dedicated to the Quarter Ton cause as he is and this is ably demonstrated by Jules Salter, who is so determined not to miss the event that he is flying in from the Lorient stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race, in which he is competing aboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, just to take part.
Rob Gray also has a new boat in the shape of the 1976 Laurie Davidson-designed Blackfun, which arrived here from New Zealand last year. During his first outing with the new boat, in the Vice Admiral's Cup in May, Gray had a few teething problems, but finally found his form winning the final race of the series. Having spent some time sorting the boat he will no doubt be hoping for better luck and a more consistent performance at this regatta.
Thanks to a broken leg Quarter Ton Class Secretary Louise Morton missed last year's Cup but she will be back at the helm of her beloved Espada this year, hoping to retain the overall Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Trophy which her team won by a whisker in her absence last year. "I am thrilled to be back on board Espada. It was agonising to have missed the event last year, and I am very much looking forward to it this year with the same crew"
For those of a certain age the entry list reads like a Who's Who of British yachting. Watch out for Ian Southworth and Led Pritchard aboard Whiskers, Richard and Anne Thomas sailing the evergreen Sergeant Pepper, Graydon Dawson in Diamond, Willy McNeill and Mike Pascall in Illegal Immigrant, Derek and James Moreland and Tim Rees in Menace, Darren Marston and Olly Ophaus aboard Cote, the Welch/Fulford/Manser/Fleming syndicate sailing Phoenix and Eric and Philip Williams on Love in a Mist.
Registration for the event opens on Sunday 24 June and championship racing will take place in the Central Solent from Monday 25 to Wednesday 27 June. Nine races are scheduled with a minimum of three races being required to constitute a series. If six or more races are sailed one discard will be applied.