The National 18s were out in force on the wide Blackwater estuary during the week of 15th to 20th July. Winds were in the south and were reinforced by sea breezes to a steady force 3 to 5. Add plenty of sunshine and this was the recipe for great sailing each day. Hosted in splendid style by West Mersea Yacht Club and Dabchicks Sailing Club with local expert Paul Jackson as Race Officer, some were saying it was the best event ever.
Entries came from England, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and France. Predominantly they were Morrison 'Ultras', but there were also a number of 'Ultimates' which raced in a separate fleet. Noticeable this year was an increase in family crews.
On the water there were three back-to-back races a day over four days, making 12 good races in all. Courses were windward/leeward leading to much close and tactical sailing and place changing both upwind and downwind. Early on and with several first places, it seemed that 'Shark Too' (Charlo Dwyer) would come out on top. However, 'Second Wife' (Tom Crosbie) took charge in the latter races. They ended equal on points overall, but the Crosbies took the major trophy by two points when the worst two results were discarded. Third was another Irish boat 'Fifty Shades' (Nick Walsh) and fourth a Scottish entry 'Two and half men' (Richard and Stuart Urquhart).
"On the water there were three back-to-back races a day over four days, making 12 good races in all"
It was noticeable that the English are closing the gap with two boats taking several top three places and 'Hurricane' (Ollie Houseman) taking sixth place overall.
The 'Ultimate' prize was won by Crossfire (Antony Ellis) from the Isle of Man in fine style crewed by his son Nickolas who, at 11 years old, was much the youngest competitor.
Ashore there was abundant night life with various oysters, belly dancers from Southend, musicians from Mersea Island, the 80th Anniversary Dinner and two jolly sing songs ending in traditional style with Tom Dwyer's rendition of 'Paddy McGinty's Goat'.
Results Ultra Class:
1st Second Wife (Tom, Chloe & Patrick Crosbie) Royal Cork Yacht Club
2nd Shark Eleven (Charlo Dwyer, Johnny Durcan, Robbie English) Royal Cork Yacht Club
3rd Fifty Shades (Nick Walsh, Rob Brownlow, Eddie Rice) Royal Cork Yacht Club
4th Two and Half Men ( Stuart & Richard Urquhart, Martin Cruden) Royal Findhorn Yacht Club
5th Aquadisiacs (Colin Chapman, Morgan O'Sullivan, James McCann) Royal Cork Yacht Club
6th Hurricane (Ollie Houseman, Jeremy Vines, Steve Watton) Tamesis/ Chew Valley Lake SC
Results Ultimate Class:
1st Crossfire (Antony & Nickolas Ellis, Stuart Brew) Isle of Man Yacht Club
2nd Muc Dhoo (Trevor & William Chanter, Lucy Smith) Bough Beech Sailing Club
3rd Raffles (Mathieu, Stephan & Laura Peretti) Centre Nautique de St Pol