International Catamaran Challenge Trophy

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The International Catamaran Challenge Trophy is the formal name for the more familiarly known Little Americas Cup modeled loosely on the Americas Cup series for yachts, and started in 1961 as a match racing series between two catamarans. Rod McAlpine-Downey, a catamaran designer in the UK became aware of a challenge from America that claimed they had "the fastest sailboat" Rod answered the challenge and simple rules were agreed.

The challenge had to come from a recognized yacht club and consequently was taken up by John Fisk on behalf of the Chapman Sands Yacht Club of which he was Commodore and friend of Rod. The challenge was successful and the trophy went to the UK where it stayed for 8 years.The simple design rules were formalised, overall length of 25 feet, beam of 14 feet and total sail area of 300 square feet to be sailed by a two man crew.These were then adopted and became the rules for the International C-Class Catamaran.


The early years saw major participation from amateur designers including Rodney March, who went on to design the Tornado which was adopted as an Olympic class for competition. His most radical contribution at that time was a wing mast/soft sail combination una-rig which was untouchable particularly in light airs. Further development of this concept led to the solid "Wing" mast as used by "Oracle" in the recent 2010 America's Cup successful challenge.

Interest in the Cup waned in the UK when "Thunder" failed to gain the right to defend the challenge against the Australian, "Quest" in 1965. The decision to continue with the aging "Emma Hamilton" and Reg White, sponsored by A.R.(Bertie) Holloway almost cost the UK the Cup then. Only the brilliance of Reg White kept him level with Quest and in the final decider, with the Australian challenger in the lead a strong squall caught Quest on a broad reach and she capsized.

White and Holloway went on to develop the wing and soft sail combo for Lady Helmsman, sponsored by the paint company but by now the "amateurs" had dropped out. The best thing to happen to the Cup was loss to Denmark and then their subsequent loss to Australia. Challenges between Australia and America continued for several years and during this time the solid Wing mast gained supremacy.

However costs were escalating and the America's Cup was swallowing sponsorship funding. Attempts in America to revive the event finally killed it. The proposed commercialization of the event together with the removal of any design development together with the particular design chosen for the event F-18HT Beach Catamaran guaranteed that anyone who had had earlier participation and motivation would walk away. There has been no racing since. The Little America's Cup has joined the Dodo. However, a reborn event with similar philosophy may take the "name" to a renewed interest. [1],

Race results of the original series

Races dwindled. They were held 12 times between 1961-1973, eight times between 1974-1989 and only twice in the old C Class format since 1989.

Year Winner, Crew
and Nation
Opponent, Crew
and Nation
1961 Hellcat II, John Fisk, Rod McAlpine-Downey UK Wildcat, John Beery & John Hickok, USA 4:1 Long Island Sound, MA (USA)
1962 Hellcat, Ian Norris & Nocky Pope, UK Beverly, Billy Saltonstall & Van Alan Clark, USA 4:1 Seacliff YC, USA
1963 Hellcat III S, Reg White & Rod Mac Alpine Downie, UK Quest, John Munns & Graeme Anderson 4:0  
1964 Emma Hamilton, A. R. Holloway & Reg White, Chapman Sands SC, UK Sea Lion,Bob Smith & Jerry Hubbard, Eastern Multihull Association, USA 4:1 Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, UK
1965 Emma Hamilton, Reg White,[2] UK Quest II, Australia 4:3 Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, UK;
1966 Lady Helmsman, UK Gamecock, Bob Shiels & Jim Bonney, USA 4:2  
1967 Lady Helmsman, UK Quest II, Australia    
1968 Lady Helmsman, UK Yankee Flyer, USA    
1969 Opus III, Denmark Lady Helmsman, UK    
1970 Quest III, Australia Sleipner, Denmark 4:3  
1972 Quest III, Australia USA    
1974 Miss Nylex, Australia Miss New Zealand    
1976 Aquarius V, Alex Kosloff and crew Robbie Harvey Cabrillo Beach YC, CA, USA Miss Nylex, Sorrento Yacht Club in Australia   Australia
1977 Patient Lady III, USA Quest, Australia   USA
1978 Patient Lady IV, USA Miss Lancia, Italy 4:0 USA
1980 Patient Lady V, USA Signor G (for Signor Gividi), Italy 4:0 USA
1982 Patient Lady V, USA Signor G 4:0 USA
1985 Victoria 150, Australia Patient Lady VI, USA   USA
1987 The Edge, Australia The Hinge, UK   Australia
1989 The Edge II, Simon McKeon & David Churcher, Australia Wingmill, USA   Australia
1991 The Edge III, Simon McKeon & David Churcher, Australia Freedom's Wing, USA   Australia
1996 Cogito, Duncan MacLane
Yellow Pages The Edge III,
4:0 McCrae YC, Australia
1997 onwards No races held in this format under this name. Please see ICCC from this point forward

While the ICCT has changed in format, C Class match racing continues on with the International C-Class Catamaran Championship, and the race results continue there.

Race results of the current series

Year Winner, Crew
and Nation
Opponent, Crew
and Nation

See also

External links


  2. Reg White later represented the UK sailing the Tornado in the Olympic Games, winning Gold