Press Release 22 May 2015

New Phil Morrison Designed National 18 Completes
Sailing Trials With Flying Colours
Press Release
(For Immediate Release)
22 May 2015
Since being introduced to the public at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show in March of this year, the first of the new Phil Morrison designed National 18s has been undergoing sailing trials and completing the required EU stability tests.  From the moment she hit the water for her inaugural sail at Brightlingsea it was clear that the boat was something special.
British Olympian Rob White, whose company White Formula builds the boats, was among the first to helm her and couldn’t keep the grin off his face. “She’s seriously slippery,” said Rob immediately after sailing “she feels really responsive and accelerates instantly in even the lightest puffs.”

As well as impressing with her sailing performance the new National 18 also passed her EU RCD stability tests with flying colours. Named Hurricane after the very first ever National 18 launched in 1938, she is now on the South coast and has so far been seen in Lymington, Keyhaven and Poole Harbour. First impressions have been very favourable, and she has turned heads both in the dinghy park and on the water.
Production is in full swing on the dozen boats already on order.  The next batch of four will go to Cork in June to start the Irish fleet with further boats following shortly thereafter.
A programme of test sails is currently being set up and further details of how members of the press and those interested in sailing the boat, including the more than 40 people who signed up at the Dinghy Show, can get involved will be published shortly.
Looking ahead, there will a National 18 English Championship at Bosham during the weekend of 4th and 5th July 2015.  This will be followed by the British and Irish Championship, hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club from to 26th to 31st July, where 12 of the new boats will be competing alongside some 30 GRP Proctor 18s, and a fleet of wooden classics.

Current orders for new boats will keep builders White Formula busy through until late summer and those wishing to order a boat for delivery for the 2016 season should reserve their build slots as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
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About The National 18 Class

The National 18′ began in 1938 following a design competition organised by the then YRA (now RYA) and Yachting World magazine.The original idea was that of Frank Knowling of Whitstable YC (later to be known as the father of the class) for an 18-foot sailing dinghy, suitable for day sailing, yet fast enough to be of interest to racing sailors and at a reasonable cost. (The first rather hopeful restriction of the original class rules was “Price not to exceed £125 complete with spars, all equipment and designer’s fee but not including sails”). The plan was to produce an affordable national alternative to the many local one-designs of about this size to be found right round the coast of the British Isles.  Many of these local estuary classes survive today, for example the Mermaid in Dublin, Thames Estuary OD, Chichester Harbour 18 etc.

The well-known designer Uffa Fox won the competition (over the Laurent Giles submitted version) with his ‘Ace’ design for a clinker-built wooden boat. National 18′ number 1, ‘Hurricane’, was owned by Stanley Beale and sailed at Whitstable, with No.2 ‘Gust’ and No.3 Foam”.

Initial enthusiasm was held back by the effects of World War II but a good deal of 18′ building got underway soon afterwards, when mahogany was again available for boat-building and the class became active especially in the Thames Estuary area.  By 1950, fleets had appeared at clubs dotted all around the British Isles and Ireland, the Class Association having been formed in 1947.

Although most boats were built to the ‘Ace’ design, the class had always been ‘restricted’ rather than ‘one-design’ and boats with a reduced number of wider planks were built when glued plywood construction was adopted and even one moulded carvel boat was built (252 ‘Sabon’).

Several of the wooden 18’s, now called ‘Classics’ are still in commission, and regularly race, principally at Bosham SC. They include No15 Tinkerbell, built in 1938 and still very competitive.

With the advent of GRP and the rising costs of hard woods, the Class asked Ian Proctor in the late ’60’s to design a fibreglass hull that would not outclass the existing boats. In this he was successful and it was some time before a Proctor hull won the championships. The first new Proctor, ‘Genivieve’ was exhibited at the Crystal Palace Dinghy Show of 1970 when a bare hull cost £153. Since then the Class has progressively reduced minimum hull and centreboard weight, and introduced a single trapeze. Also a restriction which requires all new hulls to come from the class mould so they are in effect one-design. Rigs have been optimised and more recently carbon spars introduced.


These changes produced a boat known in the Class as an ‘Ultimate’ which is fast and exciting to sail and which has provided close and competitive racing for fifteen or so years, both locally and at the annual National Championships. The Royal Cork Yacht Club has the largest fleet.

The class strives to be inclusive in providing heathy competition for all generations of 18s through handicaps and separate starts. Thus though the major trophies at National Championships are awarded in the Ultimate class, there are trophies also for the Pen-ultimates (heavy GRP) and the Classics.


In 2012 the class mould was declared unservicable, and there was much debate about what to do next. This culminated in a request to Phil Morrison to design a hull that was sleeker, lighter, faster and safer, and in so far as reasonably possible within the existing measurement restrictions.


The Morrison prototype was financed by supporters of the Class and built at The Boatyard at Bere in 2013. Named ‘Odyssey’ and trialled extensively, she ticks all the boxes, is a pleasure to sail and has proved a great success. This development will undoubtedly give the Class a new lease of life, and production of new boats is already under way at White Formula in Brightlingsea.


For more information please visit

About White Formula UK

White Formula UK is one of the UK’s leading producers of Hi-Tech Fibre Glass, Kevlar and Carbon mouldings. They have over 40 years experience in moulding composite materials. Their mouldings have reached the depths of the oceans on military submarines and the limits of the skies on British made Helicopters.

The company has an extensive knowledge of the marine sector. It has an entire division dedicated to Boat Building, Research and Development, Modifications and Refurbishing.

White Formula manufacture boats on behalf of many well known companies in the UK.  They also sell complete packages, some of which have been designed and developed by their in-house marine team.  These classes include the Challenger, Brightlingsea One Design, SB20, SL16, SL5.2, Sprint 15, Dart 18, Spitfire, Shadow, Shockwave, Alto, Breeze 6.0, Vortex, Blaze, ISO and Buzz.

For more information please visit