Another year another postponed National 18 Championships in Cork, again due to the pandemic. We look forward to heading to Cork next summer, and to celebrating Royal Cork Yacht Club’s 300th anniversary, but in the meantime Jeremy Vines, and co-host Max Vines, put on an alternative of equal importance… the newly formed ‘New Forest Rally’, with the coveted ‘The New Forest Pony’ trophy up for grabs.
Sailing out of Lymington Town Sailing Club, the format was several races on Monday 2nd August, a cruise to Newtown Creek on the Island of Wight Tuesday, more races in the afternoon on Wednesday, and then taking part later that day in Lymington Town’s evening race.
The racing was in the most part between N18s 421 Optimus Prime (a.ka. OP) – Matt PJ (helm), Pete Impey (wire), and me (middle) – and 424 Ace – Ollie Houseman (helm), Steve Watton (wire), Jeremy Vines (middle, tactics, wisdom, guile, hiking, approvals, disapprovals, local knowledge, some rope work). For the Wednesday evening race we were joined by some good local friends of Jeremy’s sailing N18 400, Odyssey, which having been looked after with great care by Jeremy was sailing well.
Great Monday racing between OP and Ace out in the Solent, with Ace taking 3 of 4. In charge on the committee rib – ‘Chutney’ – were Carolyne Vines and Henry Defries who joined for the day and evening meal. Big group dinner in the Mayflower pub later.
Tuesday’s cruise to the Newtown River was just fantastic, and probably our only ever experience of sailing an N18 to actually get somewhere, although light winds meant we required a tow from Jeremy’s Dufour 34, ‘Pickle’. Pulled boats up on to the beach and had a beer and picnic lunch. Sailed back to Lymington when wind picked up. Saw seals, sun shining.
Wednesday racing between OP and Ace went to Ace again. Evening race Ace was out of sight of OP and Odyssey, but fantastic to join other Lymington dinghies out in the Solent, with start and finish lines almost directly in front of the clubhouse. When adjusted for handicaps, Ace came 3rd out of 12 Lymington boats. Great result.
With points collected, Ace were crowned New Forest Rally champs, with the ‘Pony’ as their prize.
There was much chatter about how a weekend trip to Lymington could form part of a yearly schedule of England National 18 events. Was a brilliant trip, extremely well hosted by Jeremy and Max, and of course sailing out of the Lymington River in to the Solent on a National 18 is always quite something. Hoping to return next year.
Thanks again to Jeremy and Max, and close relatives, for putting on a great event and providing places for us all to stay.
N18 421, Optimus Prime