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Half Tonners
The vintage half-tonner 2Farr pictured racing in Calves Week 2023. The boat has recently been refurbished and optimised ahead of competition at July's Volvo Cork Week Regatta where she will face the ICRA Boat of the Year, the half tonner Swuzzlebubble
Competition in Volvo Cork Week 2024's IRC classes are shaping up with some interesting battles developing, particularly in the vintage quarter tonner and half tonner classes. The 2024 regatta intends to embrace its traditional format, with each fleet rotating through…
Dave Dwyer’s Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble crew competing at July's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta
Dave Dwyer’s success with Swuzzlebubble comes from a determination to acquire the classic Farr-designed half-tonner, which had been a wreck in Greece. He comes from a Cork family that has a four-generation sailing history. Dave Dwyer’s Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble competing…
Royal Cork Half Tonner 'Swuzzlebubble' (David and James Dwyer) is the ICRA Boat of the Year 2023
Following a busy and successful racing season of Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) events nationwide, the legendary Half-Tonner Farr-designed yacht, Swuzzlebubble, raced by David and James Dwyer under the burgee of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, was deemed the 'clear…
Sean Flood at the helm of Otto Glaser’s McGruer 47 Tritsch-Tratsch II with The Needles astern in the early stages of the 1974 RORC Cowes-Cork Race. Also just visible astern are Denis Doyle’s blue S&S 47 Moonduster, and Clayton Love’s Swan 44 Assiduous – they were still astern at the finish. Line honours and overall winner was Eric Tabarly’s then-new 70ft ketch Pen Duick VI, while Tritsch-Tratsch II was in the frame, and top Irish boat

Sean Flood 1932-2023

30th September 2023 W M Nixon
The life story of Sean Flood, who has died at the age of 91, is in many ways the story of modern Ireland as seen through a sailing and business lens. From a family of traditionally and strongly patriotic outlook,…
A Class One start at the 2023 ICRA National Championships at Howth Yacht Club
"Schizoid" or "Schizophrenic" are not words you'll find to describe weather conditions in any meteorological textbooks. But how else are we to convey the flavour of the racing situations which ran through the gamut of experiences in the three-day…
Royal Cork's James Dwyer, in the classic half-tonner Swuzzlebubble, leads Class Two of the ICRA Nationals at Howth Yacht Club
Half Tonners dominate the Class Two fleet in the ICRA National Championships in Howth. After no racing on the first day of the Championships, clouds cleared to allow a perfect sea breeze to develop, with four races completed on…
Howth Yacht Club's Nobby Reilly sailing Ghost Raider at Calves Week in 2022, the Half Tonner has since been sold to Norway, where she tops this week's 2023 Half Ton Cup as The Evil / Bagdad2 friends
The former Irish Half-Tonner Ghost Raider is performing well at this week's Half-Ton Classic Cup in Norway. As regular Afloat readers will recall, Howth's Nobby Reilly put Ghost Raider up for sale last season, and the eh, now uniquely named,…
The victorious Half-Tonner Swuzzlebubble crew from Crosshaven (James Dwyer, Royal Cork YC) celebrate IRC Two victory at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta
The ultra-veteran Farr Classic Half-Tonner Swuzzlebubble from Crosshaven (James Dwyer, Royal Cork YC) had the turbo boost of Olympian and World Dragon Champion Andy Beadsworth in the cockpit to help continue a string of firsts into the final day of…
The quirky Classic Half-Tonner Swuzzlebubble sailed by James Dwyer of RCYC leads IRC Two of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta
The quirky Classic Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble (James Dwyer, RCYC) may have found the ferocity of the winds in Friday's early races not quite to her taste, but with Olympian Andy Beadsworth on the mainsheet, she was flying today, winning everything…
Double British Olympic keelboat sailor Andy Beadsworth sailing at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta
Double British Olympic keelboat sailor Andy Beadsworth is on board Dave Dwyer's Royal Cork Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble for an IRC Two contest in this week's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, where strong winds are forecasted to get the four-day regatta off…
Last month's Sovereign's Cup Champion Swuzzelbubble is a favourite for Class Two IRC honours of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta starting on Dublin Bay this Thursday
From highly optimised Half Tonners from the '70s and '80s to the modern production boats from Corby, X-Yachts and J Boats, the fascinating mix of boats in Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta IRC Two appears to have it all.  Overall, this …
“Not a dry eye in the house….” James and David Dwyer and many others receiving the Sovereign’s Cup after a clean sweep in Kinsale
Boats may be inanimate objects, but those who sail them seldom see them that way. The classic Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble certainly arouses special emotions, for there are senior sailors in Ireland who sailed her to success as ISORA Champion in…
James and David Dwyer of Royal Cork Yacht Club on the Half-Tonner Swuzzlebubble have a perfect score after four races sailed at the 2023 Simply Blue Sovereign's Cup off Kinsale
Royal Cork Yacht Club's Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble prowess in Class Two IRC is not doubted after the second day of racing at Kinsale Yacht Club's 2023 Simply Blue Sovereign's Cup. James and David Dwyer have a perfect scoreline in the…
James and David Dwyer of Royal Cork Yacht Club on the Half-Tonner Swuzzlebubble took two wins from two races on the opening day of the 2023 Simply Blue Sovereign's Cup off Kinsale
Royal Cork Yacht Club's famous vintage Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble has a firm grip of Class Two after the first day of racing at Kinsale Yacht Club's 2023 Simply Blue Sovereign's Cup. James and David Dwyer took two wins in the…
Serious business. Patrick Boardman’s Classic Half Tonner King One (Rush SC) closing in on victory in August’s RORC Half Ton Cup 2022 in the Solent
They’re renowned for growing good things in the fertile hidden lands of Fingal up around the Rogerstown Estuary, and the local Rush SC is right on message with an expanding stream of talent in all branches of sailing. In 2022,…
All in a Rush together....Patrick Boardman's King One (Rush SC & Howth YC) on the way to overall victory in the RORC Half Ton Classics at Cowes
A breezy session to round out a rugged series today (Friday) saw Patrick Boardman's immaculate Classic Half Tonner King One from Rush SC and Howth confirmed as overall winner of the RORC Half Ton Classics 2022 at Cowes from a…

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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