Please select your home edition
Grapefruit 2017 728x90

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup racing starts today

by Rupert Holmes on 13 Sep 13-15 September 2017
Ready for racing - the fleet lined up in Cowes Yacht Haven ready for launching at the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup © Rupert Holmes

A fleet of 23 exquisitely prepared classic race boats - along with some of the world's best sailors - have gathered in Cowes for the 13th edition of the revived Coutts Quarter Ton Cup.

With four countries represented, plus visitors from Scotland and Jersey, it will again be an international affair. As ever, there's a diverse variety of sailors, ranging from members of Ben Ainslie's 2017 Land Rover BAR America's Cup team, through seasoned trans-Atlantic solo racers, to long-standing Solent gurus. However, parachuting in a team of hot-shot experts is no guarantee of winning this event - it's often the crews that have practiced and raced together over a longer period that have the consistency to come out on top.

Louise Morton has won the event for the past three years in succession by adopting this strategy and will again be a formidable competitor. Her all-woman crew includes Olympian Kate Macgregor, plus match racing supremos Charlotte Lawrence and Imogen Stanley. "I'm really looking forward to this Quarter Ton Cup," Morton says. "Looking down the list of entries, the standard of the fleet is particularly high and there are some very good boats here, so the winner will need to show a lot of consistency."

Morton will need to keep a very close eye on the best-performing boat in the season to date - Sam Laidlaw's Judel/Vrolijk designed Aguila. Laidlaw goes into the event with the advantage of having sailed with exactly the same team at every regatta this year, which has already bagged him an enviable haul of silverware.

A winning format

The format of several 45-minute races each day is one that competitors love - it creates enormously exciting racing with heaps of potential for boat-on-boat contact. This works equally well for Coutts' guests, who will be watching the action on the water from the 72ft motor yacht Rum Jungle, with commentary from Land Rover BAR sailor Matt "Catflap" Cornwell.

With more than half the fleet having an IRC rating in the 0.910-0.915 range, and a further nine boats within four points each side, the rating difference between the bulk of the entries represents around 30 seconds over the course of an entire race.

There's only one boat that rates significantly slower than the rest of the fleet - the Everitt designed Magnum Evolution that's being sailed this week by Barry Dunning. She has a reputation as a rocket ship in heavy airs, which will surely have the faster-rated boats looking nervously over their shoulders on the windy opening day of the championship.

While the big names and immaculately prepared boats attract much of the attention, one of the keys to the event's long-standing success has been in the recognition of both Corinthian entries and the less well funded boats that are enticed by the closeness of the competition and the very real potential to beat some of the very best sailors on the planet.

The prospect of winds gusting more than 30 knots tomorrow morning will keep the fleet in Cowes Yacht Haven until 1200, after which it's hoped to get at least one race in while there's still fairly flat water before the tide starts to ebb. Given the renowned difficulty of keeping a Quarter Tonner upright while sailing downwind in a big blow the afternoon promises plenty of thrills and spills for competitors and spectators alike.

Revived Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Winners:

  • 2005 - Purple Haze (1977 David Thomas design) - Tony Dodd
  • 2006 - Enigma - (1977 Ed Dubois design) - Ed Dubois
  • 2007 - Espada - (1980 Bruce Farr design) - Peter Morton
  • 2008 - Tom Bombadil (1982 Doug Peterson design) - Chris Frost & Kevin George
  • 2009 - Anchor Challenge (1978 Bruce Farr design) - Peter Morton
  • 2010 - Cote (1990 Gonzalez design) - Darren Marston & Olly Ophaus
  • 2011 - Overall - Espada (1980 Bruce Farr design) - Louise Morton
    Corinthian - Tiger (1989 Fauroux design) - George Kenefick
  • 2012 - Overall - Bullit - (1978 Fauroux design) - Peter Morton
    Corinthian - Tiger (1989 Fauroux design) - George Kenefick
  • 2013 - Overall - Espada - (1980 Bruce Farr design) - Louise Morton
    Corinthian - Pinguin Playboy (1979 Fauroux design) - Pierre Paris
  • 2014 - Overall - Bullit (1978 Fauroux design) - Peter Morton
    Corinthain - Illes Pitiuses (1983 Fauroux) - Dominic and Jason Losty
  • 2015 - Overall - Bullit (1978 Fauroux design) - Louise Morton
    Corinthian - Pinguin Playboy (1979 Fauroux design) Pierre Paris
  • 2016 - Overall - Bullit (1978 Fauroux design) - Louise Morton
    Corinthian - Pinguin Playboy (1979 Fauroux design) Pierre Paris

Related Articles

Belfast Lough Autumn Series 2017
Storm Brian puts paid to the final day's racing The Mackey Opticians sponsored Belfast Lough Autumn Series came to a sad finale yesterday with Storm Brian hanging around long enough to put paid to the morning's racing. Posted on 24 Oct
Coutts Quarter Ton Cup overall
Sam Laidlaw's Aguila claims the trophy Winds ranging from 5 knots to 27 knots provided a thorough test of competitors at this year's Coutts Quarter Ton Cup. Few teams were able to maintain consistent performance across such a wide range of conditions and for most it was a high scoring series. Posted on 15 Sep
Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2017 day 2
Three different race winners The second day of the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup delivered spectacular, though challenging, racing on a glorious day that saw three different race winners and six boats scoring at least one podium result. Posted on 14 Sep
Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2017 day 1
High winds stop play in the Solent The opening day of the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup dawned with blue skies and a brisk 20-25 knot westerly breeze. However, with the wind forecast to increase during the morning, the fleet was held ashore while two mark laying RIBs ventured out at 1100. Posted on 14 Sep
Lendy Cowes Week day 8
Whooper confirmed as the overall winner Giovanni Belgrano's 38ft Laurent Giles Whooper, which was confirmed yesterday as overall winner among the Black Group yachts, has also been announced as overall Lendy Cowes Week winner. Posted on 5 Aug
Lendy Cowes Week day 7
Return to gloriously sunny weather The penultimate day saw a return to gloriously sunny weather, with a west south westerly breeze of 15-22 knots. Today saw a change of start lines for many classes, with most Black Group yachts starting on the inner Royal Yacht Squadron line. Posted on 4 Aug
Lendy Cowes Week day 6
Big winds for the largest yachts Today delivered big winds to the largest yachts at Lendy Cowes Week, which have been competing in the Sevenstar Triple Crown series over the past three days. Posted on 3 Aug
Lendy Cowes Week day 5
Fast, furious and wet action in the Solent Today was one of fast and furious action at Lendy Cowes Week. "On the way out to the start it looked like the Apocalypse was coming, and with a short course, there were a lot of corners coming up really fast," said John Hamilton. Posted on 2 Aug
Annabel Vose scoops ELEMIS Ladies Day Trophy
At Lendy Cowes Week 2017 Annabel Vose, has been announced as the winner of the ELEMIS Ladies Day Trophy at Lendy Cowes Week. The trophy recognises the outstanding contribution, commitment, or achievement of women in sailing. Posted on 2 Aug
Lendy Cowes Week day 4
Racing in a classic south-westerly breeze A ridge of high pressure over the English Channel brought more bright and sunny weather, with a classic south-westerly breeze, to day four of Lendy Cowes Week. Posted on 2 Aug