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18ft Skiff National Championships at GJW Direct SailFest

by Brenda Hoult 12 Aug 2014 17:32 BST 22-25 August 2014
The 18ft Skiff Nationals will be held at GJW Direct SailFest © UK 18ft Skiff Association

Venue change brings the Skiffs to Calshot

SailRacer and Calshotcats SC extend a warm welcome to the 18ft Skiffs to hold their 2014 National Championships within GJW Direct SailFest at Calshot. A late change of plans by their original hosts left them without a venue so, after consultation with PRO Peter Knight, it has been decided that a variation to the course for the Skiffs, keeping them away from the mixed fleet of slower boats, means they can be ably included in the event.

The Skiffs are no strangers to Calshot which, since the decision was made to hold SailFest at this Solent location, has been warmly referred to as a 'forgotten venue' on many an occasion. The sailing area of the Hill Head Plateau is the preferred race area of numerous fleets throughout the year, from the Hamble Garmin Winter Series to the Blaze Nationals, Warsash SC's recent Optimist Open meeting (of over 70 young competitors) and this year the Royal Southern YC's internationally star-studded Match Cup.

Matt Kiddle, secretary of the UK 18's Association, is delighted that they have found a solution "This event is set to be better than we originally had planned!" The skiff sailors will be taking advantage of the accommodation, activities and meals as a total Nationals package - just turn up and race.

Coaching is a strong element of SailFest, a training day with coaches from Fareham based North Sails One Design on Friday 22nd and ongoing coaching throughout the weekend with the North guys and Laser/Byte specialist coach James Royston. North Sail equipped boats have already taken titles in various classes in 2014, from the Fireball Euros and Solo Nations Cup and Nationals to the 420 Worlds, Dragon Edinburgh Cup and J70 Nationals. Coaches will be giving a morning briefing and video debrief daily using footage from the Garmin VIRB cameras around the course and on boats.

Nutrition guru and sailing fanatic Gareth Edwards will be giving seminars after racing, his approach based around consuming the natural foods available to energise our bodies for optimum performance - be that sporting, mental or simply fulfilment of everyday tasks with energy. With everyday news increasingly focussing on what we eat, this is a fantastic opportunity to hear the views of a nutritionist who has been studying and prescribing performance related eating plans for over 20 years, unaffected by fashion and whims.

Not only does SailFest offer a total package for the sailor, but accommodation, meals and activities are equally available for those not intending to compete in the sailing regatta. The accommodation packages start from 3-nights with a sea view to every room and a full breakfast included - and can be booked to any length up to 9 nights from Thursday 21st to Saturday 30th August to enjoy an extended break on the southern shore of the New Forest, with all that this stunning area has to offer. With activities available through the four days from Friday to Monday you can tailor a total adventure sports package and enjoy your own time in the New Forest, on the water or on the beach.

Calshotcats SC is a cruising club with a strong emphasis on haring around the Solent trying out the best ice-creams on offer. For anyone who would like to join them, and as a pilot for including Catamarans in the racing regatta in 2015, there is a special cruising catamaran entry fee to the event of £49.

Also making the most of the 'turn up and race' Nationals experience are the Bytes, ISOs and AltOs. The ISOs are now up to 7 entries, some regulars yet to get their entry in and with rumours of dust-sheets coming off others to celebrate the class's 21st Anniversary in style. If they make it to 15 the fleet prize is yet another of Garmin's VIRB Elite cameras - which applies to the first placed boat from any fleet, or club with 15 or more members at SailFest. Colin Snook, ISO class secretary, is looking forward to the event "The ISO is thriving with reliable parts supply from Vantage and Rooster, choice of Hyde or Rooster sails and new boats about to go back into production at White Formula via Vantage Sailing, we are set for a spectacular nationals as part of SailFest."

As the final round of the Garmin Summer Series, the traditional early entry prize draw will take place after 10th August - so just 3 days to go. Enter here by midnight on Sunday for your chance to win the first Garmin VIRB Elite camera of the event: SailFest Entry. Winner of SailFest will take another of Garmin's cameras, with of course additional VIRB Elites for the first placed boat from any club or class with 15 or more entries.

GJW Direct SailFest runs from Friday 22nd to Monday 25th August 2014, with the regatta racing from Saturday to Monday. The regatta represents forms the final round of the Garmin Summer Series, also supported by Gul and Trident. Find out more and enter at

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