During the week commencing the 27th July, the National Eighteen Class British and Irish Championships were held at Abersoch in north Wales for the first time. The host club, South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club provided everything that was required to run the championships. The Class was made very welcome and the facilities were first class.
The sailing programme was a Practice race on Sunday with 2 races each day from Monday to Friday. The race course was about 2 miles offshore – principally to lessen the effects of the various headlands on the offshore winds. The forecast for the week was for the wind to start fairly strongly and then diminish towards Thursday and Friday, but, as is frequently the case, the forecast was not totally accurate and the winds, if anything, were stronger at the end of the week.
The Class raced in 2 fleets, the Ultimate and Penultimates and the beautiful Classics – the wooden boats which have been restored to their former glory and enjoy competitive racing in all ranges of wind.
The racing was very competitive and close. Sunday’s practice race was won by D’Good, D’Bad’n’D’Ugly RCYC – E. Barry, S. Browne, D. Barrett.
On Monday races 1 and 2 were won by Howlin Gael from Royal Findhorn Yacht Club with S. and R. Urquhart and R.Young.
Tuesday and race 3 was won by Howlin Gael and race 4 was won by D’Good, D’Bad n’ D’Ugly.
Wednesday and race 5 was won by Jafiica with P. Hermiston, M. Cruden and I. Underwood from RFYC and race 6 was won by Howlin Gael.
Thursday race 7 was won by D’Good, D’Bad n’D’Ugly and race 8 won by Sellulite RCYC with T. Crosbie, P. Crosbie and B. O’Meara.
Going into Friday, the Championship winner could be from 3 different crews. Race 9 and 10 were won by Aquaholics RCYC with C. Chapman, B. Bearla, and M. O’Sullivan. The consistency of Ewen Barry and crew in D’Good,D’Badn’D’Ugly from Cork proved to be the winning formula finishing 1st overall with Aquaholics 2nd and Howlin Gael 3rd.
In the Classics, the racing was thoroughly enjoyed by all with Nimrod 18/233 from Cork with C. Garvey, R. Darrer and R. Levis winning all but 2 races. The other winners of races were Toucou 18/368 from Bosham Sailing Club and Finola 18/225 also from Bosham Sailing Club.
During the Ultimate and Penultimate racing, the new Eighteen Foot National prototype – Oddysey – sailed the race course displaying the new lines and performance.
At it’s AGM on the Thursday of the Championship Week, the National 18 Class Association approved – by an overwhelming majority – the adoption of the new Phil Morrison designed hull as standard. We understand that there will be orders for 12 or so boats in 2015. The Association plans to exhibit the first production boat next March at the London Dinghy Show.
The Class have recorded some reactions to the new design and can be seen on http://www.youtube.com/user/Nat18Prototype
South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club provided us with first class facilities where we could hold our social programme. On Sunday evening in the main bar we received a very warm welcome from the clubs Vice Commodore. On Tuesday night our resident game show host Hugo Berney along with his assistant Willie Healy entertained the class with their own version of the popular ‘Catchphrase’. On Wednesday we had our Class Dinner. The meal was served in the ‘Cove’ restaurant ran by Dave Smith and his team. The food throughout the week was superb and very reasonable on price. On Thursday Susie Davidson and Stephen Laurie put the great sailing minds of the class to the test with a table quiz. This was followed by our annual National 18 sing song (something we are sure the staff of SCYC will never forget). Friday evening saw Ewen Barry and his crew lift the Cork Harbour Trophy at our prizegiving. The facilities, location and staff of SCYC made it the perfect location for our Class Championships. We will certainly be back.