It was another fantastic National 18 Open at Blackwater Sailing Club this weekend, with a hot five way N18 Ultra battle for the coveted “National 18 English Trophy”.
Matt, Pete Impey, and I were hoping it was going to be a 6 way battle, but alas Tamesis Club’s latest N18 – 421 Optimus Prime – was not quite out of the builders in time to join in. That said, Matt got a middleman place on 417 Second Chance, and I got a bit of time on 401 Hurricane on the Sunday with Olly and Steve. It was also blowing pretty hard on the Saturday so perhaps getting a new boat and immediately smashing it in to the shallow waters of the Blackwater probably wouldn’t have been a great idea.
The racing was excellent with strong winds and an ever shifting tide providing plenty of opportunities to get ahead of the other boats. For instance, on the Saturday we all watched in awe from the committee boat as Jess Berney quickly gained several places by going up on to the plane while sailing close to the wind on the downwind leg to race past the others. However, the strong winds made for excellent viewing in the third race as Jess (in Panther) jibed and then capsized, only for Olly, Steve, and Jeremy to then jibe and capsize a few seconds later! This allowed 417 Second Chance to take over having chosen to drop their spinnaker before all of their jibes. That was wise and got them the win in the last race that day.
Although Olly, Steve, and Jeremy had recorded two wins on the Saturday, Sunday was still a challenge, and with only two races to battle it out. Panther won the first race with Hurricane coming second and for the second race Hurricane slipped back to fourth with Second Chance hauling in Panther to take the win. However, will all points, wins, and capsizes accounted for, Hurricane took the least points with Olly, Steve, and Jeremy duly picking up the trophy.
The weather, wind, and temperature were perfect, with Blackwater SC playing excellent hosts once more – and you really won’t get a bigger and better BBQ anywhere (apart from perhaps at a Tamesis Club open day!).
Thanks to Sheena and Juilan Berney for being such great hosts and ensuring a great turnout and great event.
We hope to get even more N18s to Blackwater SC again soon, and of course for next year’s Open.
Lastly, remember it’s the National 18 Champs at West Mersea starting from Sunday 15th July. Do come by to see the racing and of course enjoy the evenings 🙂