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What is coming in 2020 for the National 12s?

by George Finch 9 Jan 19:08 GMT
The National 12 class is set for 2020 © Kevan Bloor

The National 12 class was founded in 1936 as a development dinghy class. 84 years later and the National 12s are getting ready for another action packed season of interesting development, exhilarating sailing and extremely close racing.

The class has quite a few events lined up to suit all types of 12 sailor, including those who have a strong connection with the class but no longer sail as much as they'd like to.


Firstly, the N12 class is very pleased to announce a new partnership with Dinghy Shack. For 2020 and beyond, Dinghy Shack will be the title sponsors for the National 12 Circuit, now called the N12 Dinghy Shack Series. We are very thankful to Dinghy Shack for their generous sponsorship and look forward to working with them over the coming years!

The class is also pleased to announce that for 2020, Burton Week will be sponsored by Allen. Allen have donated a number of prizes for the event and we are very grateful to them for supporting the class in this busy year for sailing.

New Boats

Synergy Marine have offered to make a new mould for the Dead Cat Bounce and have reduced the price of a bare glass/foam hull to just £3950. Carbon options are available too, just get in touch with Simon at Synergy!

The Dead Cat Bounce is the first National 12 design from Jo Richards since Bouncer in 1981. Jo has added many innovations to this design - the hull has a lot of rocker and a fine rounded transom with a winged rudder to generate lift. The centreboard incorporates trim tabs for added lift upwind. Since the original DCB launched in 2009 the design has won every National Championships since.

Synergy will be refining the construction of the boats with a view to providing ultimate performance at a competitive price. It is now time to get your order in! N3549 was built by Synergy Marine in 2017.


The N12 season really begins this Saturday with the Bloody Mary at QMSC. A few N12s have already entered with more expected to arrive on the day, but will Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne repeat their performances of 2007 and 2014 by winning? Before Graham and Zoe's victory in 2007 the only other winner of this event in a National 12 was the absolute sailing and yacht designing legend, Jo Richards in 1978.

The next big event for the class is the revived Mid-Winter Championships at Royal Harwich Yacht Club on 9th February, with a dinner the evening before for N12 sailors past and present. Entry will be available soon, however you can book in for the dinner now.

In another revival, the N12 Class will be re-visiting the Waldringfield Easter Egg, which is certainly a welcome return to the River Deben for the class on April 10th & 11th. These two events form two of the six part eastern series, for the "East Anglian Estuaries Trophy".

Once again Trent Valley Sailing Club, the home of the first ever N12 Open, will be hosting the Vintage Championships on May 16th & 17th, with boats available to borrow for competent helms! The class are looking to build on the success of last year so this is certainly one to put in the diary!

The class will, as usual, have a fleet start at North West Norfolk Week and the Salcombe Yacht Club Regatta.

The class will also run a number of coaching events across the country throughout the year, with the annual 12 Fest event (a relaxed weekend of coaching and fun games) set for 18th & 19th July. N12 novices are welcome at all coaching events, or just come along to have a go in a N12 to see whether you'd like to join the class.

The full list of 2020 events is available here.

N12 Dinghy Shack Series 2020

The 8 events that contribute towards 2020's N12 Dinghy Shack Series are:

  • Burghfield Sailing Club - 14th March 2020
  • Salcombe Yacht Club - 8th - 10th May 2020
  • Brightlingsea Sailing Club (Burton Week 2021 venue) - 6th & 7th June
  • Royal Harwich Yacht Club - 4th & 5th July
  • Shoreham Sailing Club - 28th-31st August - Burton Week 2020 - Sponsored by Allen
  • Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club - 13th September
  • Ripon Sailing Club - 3rd October
  • Northampton Sailing Club - 7th & 8th November

Junior section

The junior section of the class is going from strength to strength with a number of junior helms and crews competing successfully on the N12 racing circuit as well as the RYA promoted junior classes.

With a small jib, the N12 is ideal for younger crews to learn the ropes, with many juniors starting out crewing for a parent before stepping into the back of the boat.

The flexible rig controls and winged rudder keep the more experienced junior sailors interested. Follow the new junior Instagram page [@nationaltwelvejuniors] for more information.

RYA Dinghy Show

The National 12 Class will once again be at the RYA Dinghy Show this year. Aside from a number of younger crews handing out sweets, on the stand will be the latest boat in the fleet - N 3551, a Simon Hipkin built 4 Plank Dead Cat Bounce, with a full Allen fit out.

This N12 is a Keith Callaghan modification of Jo Richards' original Dead Cat Bounce design, with 2 inches extra freeboard and a hull made of 4 glass/foam planks.

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