1989: The Zenith of the International Offshore Rule

Excerpt from "Champagne Mumm Admirals Cup" by Timothy Jeffery

It was in 1989 that the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup reached its zenith under the International Offshore Rule. The fourteen-team entry was of exceptional quality, the racing was superlative with just 18 points dividing the Danes from the winning British team, and the decline which was beginning to affect parts of IOR racing had not shown itself among the Admiral's Cup fleet.

An important change for the British was to place one of their best sailors ashore. Harold Cudmore had been a leading light since 1975 for various Irish and British yachts from Irish Mist to Indulgence, but for 1989 he was given the budget and power to mastermind things from the dockside. 'For 1989, the relative sizes of the three boats were going to be decisive, because of the combination of the development of the bigger boats and the changes to the TMFs,' Cudmore explained.

So it proved. To curb the ascendancy of the one-tonners, the RORC shifted the TMF curve again in favour of the larger sizes, because the minimum-raters still appeared to be enjoying a disproportionate level of success. In 1985 it was obvious that an all one-ton size was the way to go. For 1989 the balance of power had shifted so much that an all-50ft team was the ideal combination, but few appreciated that fully before the series - except perhaps the Danes, who fielded two of them in their team.

At first the changes seemed slight. The redrawn TMF curve would give a 50-footer an extra forty seconds per hour over a one-tonner compared to the 1987 values. These would work out at something like an hour during a four-day Fastnet race, whereas in 1987 the top one-tonners had beaten the best 50s by about four hours.

The British team was chosen only after the most acrimonious of selections. It was thought all along that the team would comprise Graham Walker's Andrieu one-tonner Indulgence, Mike Peacock's Castro 45 Juno IV and Alan Gray's Farr 50 Jamarella, for these were the only new, specially built boats and the calibre of the alternatives was moderate. But in reaching the point where the team was named, Cudmore travelled the bumpiest road imaginable.

Gray built Jamarella expressly to try out the newly established 50ft World Cup circuit and because he felt that the TMF changes could produce a 50-footer which was not just a useful team yacht but potential series top scorer. 'Bruce Farr, Morgens Brinks (the Danish manager) and myself were the only three people in the world who thought a 50 could do it,' claimed Gray a London haberdasher, at the end of the series.

Peacock was drawn to the mid-size because it was the vacant slot, for beneath him Graham Walker already had a well-advanced plan to try to win the One Ton Cup in Naples. It was a case of unfinished business for Walker, who had been twice runner-up and once third in the event. Absences in France for tuning up with her hull-sister CGI and for the Italian event meant that Indulgence VII was unavailable until very late in the UK trials.

The selectors told Walker this was risky, but that if Indulgence finished in the top three of the fourteen-nation, twenty-eight-boat One Ton Cup fleet she would probably have earned her place. This caused much hue and cry over supposed secret deals. With Cudmore and Walker close from America's Cup and Admiral's Cup campaigns in the past, it was the simplest charge to level but the hardest one to answer. If people chose not to believe the denial, there was nothing Cudmore felt he could do about it.


CountryBoat NameOwnerTotal (Overall Points)Overall Total (By Country)
Britain Jamarella A Gray 321
Juno IV A M Peacock 209
Indulgence IVV G Walker 217 748
Denmark 4K F Thomsen 185
Andelsbanken IV V Greulich 263
Stockbroker's Container J Host 281 730
New Zealand Librah D Richwhite/M Fay 285
Fair Share J Benton 203
Propaganda T Bailey 179 667
France CGI TF/B-Decre 190
Xeryus de Givenchy B Trouble 165
Corum 89 P Briand 267 622
Australia Madeline's Daughter P Kurts 201
True Blue L Klopper 175
Joint Venture III R Elliott 240 617
USA Great News Calvert-Jones 226
Sagaciouso V D Allen/G Appleby 202
Bravura I Loube 171 600
Japan Will R Oda 308
Arecan Bay Nippon Challenge 143
Turkish Delight Nippon Challenge 101 552
Germany Rubin XI H Schumann 177
Pinta W Illbruck 144
Beck's Diva P Westphal-Langloh 215 537
Italy Madrake Krizia G Carriero 219
Bellatrix Marina Militare 126
Aria C Bixio 153 498
Netherlands Mean machine P de Ridder 232
Amsterdamed J Visser 56
Pro-motion VI J Dolk 110 399
Norway Elkem Yeoman XXVII T Knutsen 81
Hydro P Lunde 128
Fram XI HH Crown Prince Harald 178 387
Sweden Kiwi A Lonnqvist 132
Greve Duckula J Norman 71
Full Pelt B Bemholm 77 280
Ireland Platon Finans II J Neilsen 102
Citroen W Borel 51
Hitchhiker III P Briggs 103 256
Argentina Daphne G Frers 29
Jockey Club A Urani 78
Tango Too Schmiegelow/Haymes 96 203

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