by Alan Sefton
Rick Dodson skippers Propaganda to a win in the 1988 One Ton Cup in San Francisco
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has started formalised planning for a One Ton Cup Revisited regatta in Auckland, in February/March 2015.
Its decision to proceed with the event is based on a strong international expression of interest in competing. That response includes 16 would-be entries and 4 would-be charterers, from NZ (9), Australia (4), Sweden (2), UK (2), Canada (2) and the USA (1).
'That is a highly promising outcome,' says RNZYS commodore Steve Burrett 'good enough for us to start planning in earnest.
'We set ourselves a conservative target of a minimum 10-boat fleet if we were to stage the event. Based on the reaction to date, we are confident enough to proceed with formal planning, convinced there will be an even stronger uptake as word of the regatta spreads further'.
An interesting element of the response so far has been has been the goodwill factor from owners, designers and crew alike who are keen to see a revival of what used to be the Formula 1 class of offshore racing, much like that being experienced by the Half and Quarter Ton fleets in England and Europe.
Rainbow II crossing the line in the fifth and final race of the 1969 One Ton Cup to take the premier individual trophy of ocean racing
The man who came up with the idea of a One Ton Cup Revisited, Rainbow II and Wai-Aniwa skipper Chris Bouzaid observed: 'Who knows, this could well be the start of a revival of One Tonner racing, not just in New Zealand but around the world. We just have to be sure that there is no scope for anyone to get cute and start equipping boats with canting keels, water ballasting, foils or other go-fasts because that would defeat what we are trying to achieve. That should be easy enough'.
The immediate next steps for the Squadron will be to identify the most appropriate February/March 2015 window for the regatta. It will be a busy season for Auckland, on and off the water, including the arrival and departure of the 2014-15 Volvo Round the World race fleet and the 2015 World Cup of Cricket.
Once that window is clear, the Squadron will then produce and disseminate a Notice of Race for the One Ton Revisited. The target timing for that is early March 2014 – a year out from the proposed regatta.
Rainbow II sailing of Heligoland, Germany on her way to winning the One Ton Cup, New Zealand’s first major international yachting victory
The Squadron reconfirmed today that the event would be open to the full range of 'modern' One Tonners (1965 to 1994* inclusive).
The event will use the IRC Rating Rule with the eventual fleet racing as one, but also in three divisions - possibly 'Division One' (boats built post 1983), 'Division Two' (boats built 1973 to 1983 inclusive) and the 'Classic Division' (boats built 1965 to 1972 inclusive).
Bouzaid reconfirmed: 'We will do everything possible to ensure everyone has an equitable chance of success on the race course, regardless of the vintage or size of their boat. We are seeking expert advice on how to divide the potential fleet into divisions to ensure best-possible competition. The objective will be that everyone will enjoy the experience of racing these boats as a class again. A lot of us will have been lucky enough to have experienced that already, when One Tonners were the hottest offshore racers around'.
NB: * 1994 was the year of the last One Ton Cup regatta that we have been able to identify. In 2001, the Cup was presented to the winner of a Farr IC45 regatta in Pwllheli (North Wales) but we have not seen this event recognised as a One Ton Cup regatta and nor is the Farr IC45 considered an appropriate contender for the proposed 'Revisited' regatta in Auckland.
For further information or to lodge expressions of interest, please contact: Alan Sefton at firstname.lastname@example.org