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National 18 UK and Irish Championships at Royal Findhorn Yacht Club

by Stuart Urquhart 11 Aug 2016 23:33 BST 31 July - 5 August 2016

The National 18 UK and Irish Championships kicked off on the 31st July, hosted by the Royal Findhorn Yacht Club located east of Inverness with racing in the Moray Firth.

The event consisted 10 scheduled races over 6 days across 2 fleets, the first fleet consisting of 14 new Phil Morrison designed boats (referred to as National 18 Ultras) racing for the overall championship and a second of 7 older Proctor boats.

Going into the event Ewen Barry, Stan Browne and Dion Barrett in 414 were firm favourites to retain their title for a 3rd consecutive year. With local Scottish Champions Stuart Urquhart, Richard Urquhart and Martin Cruden in 407 also showing good pace during the season. With previous champions Colin Chapman (404), Colin Barry (415), Tom Crosbie(403), Nick Walsh (405) and Tommy Dwyer (402) all expected to challenge.

Race 1 started in 20 knots with heavy wind specialists Colin Chapman (404) and Nick Walsh (405) setting the pace reaching the windward mark in 1st and 2nd. During the race and after several capsizes, 414 came through to win with 407 in second place. Race 2 started in less breeze with 414 dominating again, with 404 taking 2nd and 405 3rd. 407 having ripped out their spinnaker halyard sheave on lap 1 of the previous race sailed to get a result and finished in 7th due to retirements after race 1.

Day 2 started with lighter winds and a new race winner, 403 leading from start to finish. Followed by 405 and 414. Race 4 saw a return of 414 dominance in a lightening wind. 407 recovered after a poor start to take 2nd. After 4 races 414 had established a 10 point lead from 407.

Day 3 started in a fresh easterly breeze, and this time 407 lead from start to finish with 414 making an unusual mistake of being OCS. The breeze built further for race 6 and 404 showed their pace followed by 403 and 407 (finishing inches apart).

After 6 races, the championships paused for a day off. The standings were 414 leading by 3 points from 407 and 404 close behind.

Race 7 started in a northerly breeze with 407 leading from start to finish, 414 2nd. Race 8 saw 403 win with 414 and 407 back in 4th and 5th.

With 2 races remaining and with 2 discards starting to come into play. The championship was reaching the critical stage, with 2 points separating 414 and 407. Race 9 started with 403 taking an early lead, followed by 404, 407 and 414. Heading into the final lap 414 and 407 closed in on the race leader but 407 made a mistake hitting the windward mark and almost capsizing, dropping them to 9th, meaning 414 were confirmed as champions with a race to spare.

Race 10 started in almost no breeze, but 414 showed their championship winning credentials and won the final race.

Overall Results:
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Fleet 1: National 18 Ultras (including Overall Championship)
1st 414 "D'Good, D'Bad & D'Blaster" E Barry, S Browne and D Barrat
2nd 407 "Howlin Mad" S Urquhart, R Urquhart and M Cruden
3rd 403 "The Good Wife" T Crosbie, P Crosbie and B O'Connor
4th 404 "Aquadisiac" C Chapman, A Walsh and M O'Sullivan

Fleet 2: National 18 Ultimates
1st 319 "Red Eye" H Myles, C Bremer and J Karran
2nd 338 "Wavebreaker" M Slack, S Macbeth and C Morrison
3rd 305 "Miss D'Meanour" P Barlow, N Collins and R Cowell
4th 341 "HiFlyer" I Underwood, R Cross and M Jones

Throughout the week the class lived up to its social reputation, with excellent entertainment though out the week including the class dinner, quiz night and live music after the prize giving.

Next year the championships will return to Hayling Island (23rd to 28th July) and the class hopes to continue to attract more new boats to the event.

For more information on the class and events, please visit www.national18.com.

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