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National 18 & Chichester Harbour 18 English Championships at Bosham Sailing Club

by Andrew Young 28 Aug 2023 05:32 PDT 19-20 August 2023

The National 18 & Chichester Harbour 18 English Championships were held over the weekend of 19th & 20th August 2023 at Bosham Sailing Club.

Bosham SC welcomed four visiting N18's, three Ultras:- Jeremy Vines's n18/424 'Ace' helmed by Rob Gullen; Rupert Henderson-White's n18/429 'Kokomo' from Brightlingsea, Mathew Jones's n18/421 'Optimus Prime' and his crew from Tamesis Club and Trevor Chanter's Ultimate, n18/373 from Bough Beech SC.

They joined with four local Classic N18's & two Chichester Harbour 18's for a testing series of 5 handicap races over the 2 days, in breezy conditions.

It's worth bearing in mind that as a development class, the National 18 is now 85 years old. The oldest surviving is 85 the year old n18/15 'Tinkerbelle' still races at Bosham, but was sadly unavailable for this year's event. The newest Ultra, Rupert Henderson-White's n18/429 'Kokomo' was built only three weeks ago by White formula in Brightlingsea. Sadly the weather forecast discouraged some of Bosham's wooden classics.

The first race was AP'd a few times by RO Dick Pratt due to challenging wind & tide conditions as evidenced by a massive shift at the start and all boats missing the opportunity for a port flyer.

It was a long hard beat to Dunes with some respite on the downwind legs but tricky, with winds averaging over 18 kts and peaking just short of 22kts.

The testing conditions resulted in a few gear failures, capsizes & a couple of retirements.

Needless to say the new Ultra's lead the fleet around the course but the breezy conditions suited the two Chichester Harbour 18's, Bellatrix and Deja Blue, especially upwind.

On R1 the Ultra's took 1st & 2nd followed by the two Chi 18s.

The wind eased slightly for Races 2 and 3 with an average of about 17 kts gusting 20 kts, with the two ULtra and the two Chi18's consolidating their hold on the top places.

After a hard afternoon afloat, there were some tired but relieved crews who came ashore to enjoy a sunny Saturday evening on the new elevated terrace and to effect some running repairs.

Day 2 saw an easing of the wind, to an average of 11 kts gusting 13 kts for the final 2 races.

Race 4 saw the boats having to beat out to Treloar near the entrance to Chichester Harbour. Both Kokomo & Ace sensibly over stood the mark along the Wittering shore, so as to be swept down to the mark by the strong flood tide. Kokomo rounded the mark first by only a boat length or so, hoisting her kite and planing off towards the next mark before realising they had rounded the wrong way, only to struggle beating back against the fierce tide to unwind. Meantime, ACE got away and probably secured the Championship as a result.

The last race saw some places traded after the gybe mark at Deep End, on the reach coming down the channel to the finish on the Quay Line.

Commodore Paddy Mirams handed out the prizes, with the National 18 English Trophy being awarded to the winners N18 Ultra - 424 'Ace' helmed by Rob Gullen, crewed by Jeremy Vines & Steve Watten. In 2nd place was n18/429 'Kokomo' helmed by Rupert Henderson-White, crewed by Maria & Rob Henderson and in 3rd place was Chi 18, 'Bellatrix', helmed by Finn McCormack and crewed by Frank & Maddie McCormack (and Henry Nelson on day1). 'Bellatrix' also won the Tinkerbelle Trophy for the 1st Chi18 in this handicap event.

Thanks as usual to the people who make these events work including the RO Dick Pratt and his team on the committee boat, the patrol boat volunteers, our tea team and of course the club staff afloat and ashore.

Detailed results can be found within the event results page on the Bosham Sailing Club website.

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