Now is the time of reckoning for the 2001 One Ton Cup competitors. Under a drizzly rain, the 6 big boats left Pwllheli's harbour to meet the racing area in Cardigan Bay.
The rain was immediately replaced by a 8 to 10 knots wind blowing West-South-West, and the first start happened on time at 09:30 hours
New Zealand helmsman Gavin Brady is the man of the day. Two races competed, two races won, already 4 points ahead of the second place in the overall ranking. Atalanti X was obviously above the other boats today. "The boat has received the best possible preparation." explains Gavin Brady, before tempering : "This was a real advantage today, but it will be less and less true as races go on." American tactician Robbie Haines confirms : "We have got a good preparation before the race and today, we made less mistakes than the others." That is the key point in one-design racing. And a game in which even the best skippers can do the most basic mistakes. Ben Ainslie can testify. He made a pretty good first race at the helm of David McLean's Babbalaas right behind unbeatable Atalanti X ; but in the second race, he refused the way to Faster K-Yote I and had a penalty : a 320° which was quickly done, but could not prevent the Welsh boat from being passed over by all the other boats. The boats are so close one to each other that you do not have a second chance.
Today was a hard day for tacticians. With wind going up and down, left and right, it was difficult to "guess" the best way within the contradictory unwritten rule : "Stay with others and try to reach a better spot before them." American Dawn Riley, the skipper of Faster K-Yote I all-women crew states : "Our first start was in the average, the second one was pretty good. But each time we were trapped in shifty conditions. The tactics was difficult today." French helmsman Laurent Delage from Faster K-Yote II agrees : "We made good starts, but we concentrated too much on wind, not enough on control. And we did not find the good spots."
As Babbalaas experienced in the second race, it is easy to move down in the ranking. The reverse is true. Competitors stay confident for the coming races and are more motivated than ever. Gavin Brady knows his advantage is real but fragile. Ben Ainslie wants to forget the second race. Jeremy Robinson on Bounder and Nigel Bramwell on Hawk showed how regularity could help a crew mainly composed of amateur sailors to compete with the world élite : Bounder and Hawk are equal second overall.
Thursday 6th : 3 races schedules. First start at 10:00 a.m.
Results, After 2 Races:
1 Atalanti X GRE George Andreadis Gavin Brady 1 1, 2 pts
2 Bounder GBR Chris Little Jeremy Robinson 4 2, 6 pts
3 Hawk GBR Nigel Bramwell Nigel Bramwell 3 3, 6 pts
4 Babbalaas GBR David McLean Ben Ainslie 2 6, 8 pts
5 Faster K-Yote II FRA Stephen Kandler Laurent Delage 5 4, 9 pts
6 Faster K-Yote I GER Ortwin Kandler Dawn Riley 6 5, 11 pts
Wales is hosting the One Ton Cup for the first time since 1899
From Auckland to San Francisco, from Sydney to Oslo, from Napoli to Rio-de-Janeiro, the One Ton Cup has been contested everywhere around the world for 102 years. The United-Kingdom ranks amidst the cup's favourite destinations in the seventeen countries which hosted the event : Cowes and Ryde on Isle of Wight, Torquay and Poole in England, Great-Britain appears about ten times in the list of places where the prestigious trophy has been brought into play. But Wales never hosted the One Ton Cup ; a gap filled at last.
Pwllheli has become a very fashionable venue for sailing races lately. Located on the Cambrian Coast (North Wales) by the Bay of Cardigan, this sea resort emerged from anonymity with Manchester's candidacy for 2004 Olympic Games. Pwllheli would have hosted the sailing events if the English town had won in the place of Athens. Far from being a failure, the Olympic campaign had the sailing world become aware of this great playground the Cardigan Bay was, well sheltered from tough weather conditions ruling Irish Sea and Celtic Sea. And although not for a gold medal, many Olympics regulars shall compete in Welsh waters, including British Ben Ainslie, Laser Olympic Champion and New Zealand Gavin Brady, World Vice-champion in another Olympic class, the Star.
One Ton Cup 2001 is for the Pwllheli Sailing Club the grand finale of a season including four National and two World Championships organized by the Welsh club. For sure, the holding of an event which contributed the make Cowes, Kiel or Newport regatta sanctuaries will help a lot to consolidate international recognition.
The One Ton Cup was founded in 1899 by the Cercle de la Voile de Paris and is therefore the oldest French trophy in yachting. It used to reward the winner of the first real time regatta for "one ton" boats and consecrates the IC 45 World Champion since 1999. The competition gathers a dozen of boats representing about ten countries and draws the team racing world élite. William K. Vanderbilt, Ted Turner, Willy Illbruck, and more recently Paul Cayard or Russell Coutts count among the legendary skippers who lift the so coveted 10kg-weighing solid silver trophy. The 79th edition will be held from September 3rd to 8th, 2001 in Pwllheli, Wales.
As an international event, the One Ton Cup is run under ISAF (International Sailing Federation) rules. The layout is the most technical one, that is a windward-leeward circuit between two buoys. Two or three legs are run every day, points being given according to the finishing order (1 point to the first, 2 points to the second, etc.). The final ranking is set up after the last leg, the winning boat being the one with the lowest score.
Since it was created in 1899, the One Ton Cup has been disputed 78 times. All winners from Belouga (1899) to Cavale Bleue (2000) are listed at: www.onetoncup.com/pges/bref/winners_us.htm