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UK Class News
UK 18ft Skiff Class at the RYA Dinghy Show
The class had a really busy weekend at the RYA Dinghy Show. It was great to show off Nick Murray’s immaculate example of an 18ft skiff to the sailing community.
The show team meet many faces, old and new. There was a really good turnout from sailors of all ages and it was great to talk to you all and how you can get involved with these awesome boats. Lots of people we spoke to have signed up for the 'Try an 18' Day at Grafham on the 2nd April. There’s still some spaces, so get in touch if you’d like to get involved.
It was great to be back at the show after a few years of being out of its limelight. If you didn't get a chance to come and see us, feel free to drop us a line at .
18ft Skiff National Championship at Sandbanks - Poole
What a treat!
The 18ft skiff class is, as far as I know, the only class that gets to sail off the beach at Sandbanks in Poole and you have to keep pinching yourself to remember you are in the UK. The event is hosted by the water sports academy and run by Parkstone Yacht Club, which makes such a location possible so let's start with the praise for them.
With a solid turnout of eight boats and a couple of boats out of hibernation the scene was set for a great event. You do not need many boats in the 18ft skiff class to make it seem very busy, with very high closing speeds, even in 8 knots of a breeze, and boats 20ft wide when the crews are trapezing.
Race 1 got underway in light puffy conditions. Pica made the most of the start by pulling off port end flyer to lead at the top mark from Hyde sails and LED. At the final downwind mark Hyde Sails had pulled right back up to Pica and opted to roll the dice on the next beat in search of victory, this proved to be very stupid and it eroded their margin over the 3rd place boat Nene Outdoors, who had overhauled LED and then Hyde Sails, due to their risky strategy. Final placings 1.Pica 2. Nene Outdoors 3rd Hyde Sails.
Race 2 saw chaos at the start. Pica and Nene outdoors, thought they would try for a port end flyer again, however with the fleet now back in touch with their time and distance was not going to let this happen. It resulted in some serious avoiding action from the fleet to dodge the bad mannered boats. Pica managed to do their turns and were left at the back, however a bang the corner approach paid and it got them back up to 4th by the top mark. Leading at the top mark was Hyde sails, followed by LED and FP. The positions stayed the same for 1 lap until a big puff on the downwind saw a complete reshuffle – Pica now in the lead and staying there to the finish followed by LED and Nene.
Race 3, now with more breeze the crews were 3 stringing up and down the course. At the top mark Hyde sails again were leading, however Pica and LED got through on the run. By the top mark second time positions were same but down the run Hyde sails were coming to the leeward mark in new pressure flying, however with a gybe drop on the cards with not much room they went swimming, the middle man missing his trapeze after the gybe and therefore leaving 2 on board, which resulted in the inevitable swim. This allowed FP to take the position. Leaving 1. Pica, 2. Led, 3. FP.
With the sun shining and it looking like the Med in summer the fleet rigged on big rigs and got out to the start line in the lightest wind possible.
Race 4. Hyde sails made the most of a port end start, before tacking on to starboard and heading towards to the pressure which was coming from the land, during this Pica hit Hyde resulting in more turns for Pica. At the top FP lead after a solid beat followed by Hyde Sails and English Braids the positions stayed the same until the next beat where there was some placing changing Pica made ground but then got the wrong side of the shift and ended up really deep. FP extended and LED came from nowhere up the middle to round 2nd. Leaving FP to win followed by LED then Hyde. Pica came in 5th putting a blip in their faultless performance so far.
Race 5, after an aborted race due to no wind the sea breeze kicked in and it was perfect sailing. All boats behaved and started well all on starboard! Half way up the beat pica tacked and ducked the 3 leaders, which were FP, Hyde and LED. However the right seemed to work with the wind being steady this may have been a tide related gain, which allowed Pica and Nene to lead at the top, leaving the others well behind. LED managed to pass Nene to claim 2nd from Pica.
Final race was held in glamour conditions again. The start was clean Hyde sails opted to start on port to get out to the right where the tidal gain seemed to be, this paid dividends they crossed everyone once they had tacked back but where just too tight on their lay line and managed to catch the top mark which put them out the back of the pack. LED and pica then ensued in a race long battle with Nene, with Pica coming good and taking the title too, from LED and Nene.
It was a fantastic event - it always is. It was the classes 3rd time to Sandbanks. Next year it may be run as a European GP event (watch this space) so it will be even bigger, it could not be better. The class's health is great. We have 2 new boats arrived from Australia and also people wanting to come into the class. The classified boats currently on the market are of the highest standard and would make very viable boats for competing at the top level in Europe. The class will be at the dinghy show and offering a try and 18 day next year.
We would love to see some new faces. Get 3 of your mates together, each pay for a third, and come enjoy the friendly atmosphere and fastest Skiff racing out there.
UK Grand Prix Series Round 2 - 2015
The fleet travelled to Grafham Water Sailing Club this weekend for Round 2 of the UK Grand Prix Series. Both days were forecast to be light winds, so all the small rigs stayed very much in their bags.
After a brief postponement to wait for the wind to settle down, the skiffs launched to get racing underway. The score line for the day would tell the tale of a dominant Graham Bridle and his ChameleonI skiff team, but the patchy breeze made place changes inevitable. Some new teams had their turn at the front and all teams at some point found themselves fighting it out from the back. The end of the first day had ChameleonI in front with 3 bullets and The Rutland Chandlery Skiff Team in second place.
The second day was much more consistent with the breeze gusting up to 17 knots. The Rutland Chandlery Skiff Team took the first 2 races to bring them right back into contention after ChameleonI ran over the final windward mark to let them through and capsized over the line trying to gain the place back. Other teams enjoyed the breeze and the extra challenges it brought, sometimes ending up in a quick dip!
This brought the last race to a showdown between the two leading boats, where whoever won would take the win for the weekend. As with the whole weekend, the start was hotly contested and The Rutland Chandlery Team managed to hold the lane out to the left hand side of the course, whilst others tacked off into their own breeze. A big left shift made its way down the course, leaving ChameleonI and the rest of the fleet trailing The Rutland Chandlery Team around the first top mark. That was how the next 4 laps continued, leaving The Rutland Chandlery Skiff Team to take their third bullet of the day and, on countback, first place for the weekend event.
The fleet would like to thank Grafham Water Sailing Club for being so accommodating to the fleet and putting on some great racing. The Third and Final round of the UK Grand Prix Series and UK National Championships are to be held at Sandbanks in a months' time (5th and 6th September) with many teams in contention for both titles.
UK Grand Prix Series Round 1 - 2015
Perfect last minute race training prior to the Garda Worlds.
5 teams were met with a good forecast for a last minute event hosted by Stone Sailing Club. The conditions provided teams with perfect conditions for boat preparation and training before all teams headed off for the Mark Foy Trophy in Torbole, Lake Garda (Club Area of Circolo Vela Torbole - northend of Lake Garda) starting on Friday, 29th May 2015.
2 new boats from Australia provided much interest in how boat speed would match up to the regular boats. Steve McLean’s LED team recently purchased the very well finished ‘Appliances Online’ hull but would the spectacular paintwork match the looks? Graham Bridle and his Sail 4 Cancer team also recently purchased the ‘Fisher and Paykel’ boat to improve on his starter boat that also attended this weekend with it’s new team.
Saturday’s conditions made for tricky decisions on rig calls, with a fleet split on different rigs. The new boats showed their pace with the original 'Sail 4 Cancer teams' brand new small rig keeping up with an overpowered Pica in most races, only to find some boat handling let Pica run away with 3 bullets. The new team showed good promise managing the bigger rig in challenging conditions.
Sunday showed a much lighter forecast and all boats launched on the one rig in glamorous sunshine. Three races were held in a mixture of breeze strengths causing a lot of position changes. Pica dominated by getting their nose in front and being able to sail their own race. The Rutland Chandlery Team managed to post some good results, fending off LED and the huge single spreader rig of Sail 4 Cancer. The race committee did a good job of getting three fair races in on a constantly shifting breeze.
The boats were packed up after the weekend to make the long trip to Garda to face strong competition from teams travelling from all over the world.
by: Tom Hill / Stewart Mears
Final Day of UK Nationals & EU Grand Prix
And what a day it was. With a building south westerly and a report from PRO Mike Johnson on the race track that it was already blowing 15 to 19 kts. out in the sound, it was an easy decision to opt for the smaller no.2 rigs. Although more stable than the westerly and north westerly direction there was going to be more chop and with a big wind forecast it only means one thing …. plenty of swimming.
In the first race of the day both Pica and Magic Marine had the best starts at the committee boat end with the rest of the fleet beneath them, Pica chose to tack first and take a Magic Marine’s transom, the rest of the fleet followed but Pica came back into the windward mark on Starboard forcing Magic Marine to take an early tack below the lay line. Pica could not capitalize on the small lead due to a cautious bear away allowing Magic Marine, Original Chia and Black Dog through to leeward. Queue the middle of the fleet and a 25kt gust. Hyde Sails and Eurolink made clean bear aways. The first casualty was TC-English Braids who just couldn’t get the boat flat enough to turn the corner. Team Gill went into the back of a wave and kept going under, forcing avoiding action from Team Rutland, who were chasing and to leeward, avoiding a collision but not a swim. LED, and Aftica flowed and somehow finding a passage through upside down boats. Hyde Sails were launching off waves in the gust that had flattened boats at the windward mark. The continued impact of landing off waves was too much for the carbon bowsprit which finally exploded abruptly ending Hyde’s racing. Some quick recovery skills by the crew managed to retrieve the kite without damage and lash the pole for a trip back to the dock without further incident. By this time the four leading boats had crossed through the gate together gunning down towards the bottom mark. With metres separating the boats it was all about who could hold their nerve. At the leeward mark Pica went for a late drop coming in on a starboard gybe in front of Black Dog who had dropped their kite already. Pica had too much on and capsized at the mark letting the other 3 boats through. It was experience that was showing in keeping the boat upright in the breeze. Black Dog, with Grant Rollerson on the helm, standing in for Jarrod Simpson, held the lead for the three laps of full on conditions and took line honours followed by other big breeze veterans on board Magic Marine and Original Chia. Pica finished 4th. A crucial result for regatta leaders Magic Marine (Eike Dietrich, Finn Mrugalla, Jan Peckolt), taking the pressure off a little from Pica’s bid for supremacy. In the conditions anything could happen and the regatta was by no means over.
The next start was similar with Pica taking again the transom of Magic Marine to be the first to the starboard lay line, coming in first to the windward mark but this time sailed into a convincing lead away from Magic Marine who were heavily involved in a close race with the Black Dog and Original Chia. TC English Braids were having a battle with Eurolink finally moving into 5th place leaving Eurolink and Aftica in 6th and 7th respectively.
With a decimated fleet and only five starters the battle was still on between Pica and Magic Marine to conclude the regatta in these awesome conditions. Despite the late charge and with four points adrift, Pica was running out of time to take the regatta from Magic Marine. It was Original Chia and again Pica who controlled from the Committee boat end, Pica 1st at the windward and kept control of the race with close tacks upwind with Magic who eventually capsized allowing the black dog. But with Original Chia and TC-English Braid throwing in the towel Eike Dietrich, Finn Mrugalla and Jan Peckolt's job was done as Team Magic Marine won the last event in the European Tour. Stewart Mears, Tristan Hutt and Jamie Mears of team Pica came a close second, and had to be satisfied with winning the UK National Championships and UK Grand Prix. Jack Bouttell, Adam Minter, Jarrod Simpson on Black Dog came a very respectable 3rd in the Event. Sam Caslin, Mike Banks and Jack Grogan of Hyde Sails in 5th had done enough to win the European Grand Prix overall all. Best newcomer of the UK 18ft skiff season was awarded to Dave Jobson who teamed up with Neil Harrison and James Hemmingway to pull off a great performance with one of the oldest boats and pin head rig. Furthest travelled for the event was awarded to the Eurolink team (Tom Eggersdorfer, Latzi Meissner, Friedl Renner) from Munich.
The final weekend in the UK Skiff calendar not only had enjoyed the biggest turnout and conditions for 18ft skiff racing on British water in recent years but also involved some of the closest racing throughout the fleet. This intensive season of 18 sailing has been fantastic preparation for four UK teams making pilgrimage to Sydney for the JJ Giltinan. It will be very interesting to see how they fair down under.
A massive thank you to Mike Johnson, Alan Nichols, James Bemridge and team at the Royal Western Yacht Club for hosting a fantastic event in coordination with the Mount Batten Centre.
Thanks also to Chris Davison at Ullman sails.