UK F18 Nationals 2014 champs Rupert White & Tom Phipps steal the show

Rupert White & Tom Phipps in action (Photo credit: David White)

The UK F18 Nationals had their nationals last weekend at the Brightlingsea RegFest. The leaving Chair (William Sunnucks) and new Chair (Simon Flack) created a nice report of their event.

Day 1 – Friday
A keen fleet of F18s, Tornados and a multitude of handicap cats went on to the water just after lunch with and light variable breeze from the NW. Bright and clear conditions broke late on in the afternoon as race one got underway – nip and tuck and some near protest snapped through the fleet at breeze was in short supply and the pack broke left and right up the first beat. The F18 fleet battles are never exclusively at the front and day one was no exception with four ties for position through the ranks.
Brightlingsea SC locals and Olympic GBR stars Rupert White & Tom Phipps clocked a bullet and a second with Grant Piggot & Simon Farren matching these results to leave them tied on points. Lurking in the background with some astonishing upwind speed William Sunnucks & Freddie Whites in third by the end of the day. The phrase of the day was ‘if in doubt go right’ as big gains happened under a dark costal cloud with Simon Flack & Neil Green breaking off the pack at the start of race two and banging right with two other followers and going from zero to nearly first round the windward mark!

Day 2 – Saturday
The band was booked, the food and bar was ready, but unfortunately the wind was Missing In Action! Race team looked on as the tide rose and fingers were crossed and all preyed for breeze with lots of crazy conversations about foils and boat speed claims! Without warning at about 1315hrs the breeze started to fill in, conversation ceased and the race to launch began.

With lots of tide, a squeezed start in light shifty stuff we began, boats underestimated the big skew on the line and it took a long time get going after the gun. Lottery conditions saw Piggot & Farren points pile up and White & Phipps maintain with Northrop & O’Brien getting to it and posting a much improved 2nd. Sunnucks & White really fattened up with a 7th and ultimate discard. A hungry pack, floundered with drifting conditions and as the mid fleet boats struggled across the line the race team canned it for the day.

The party started with a packed club house enjoying a fully stocked bar and a fantastic sit down meal, and then the band was in full swing late into the night. Apparently there seemed to be a bit of a heat wave that night as the dancing got underway, all I’m saying is it was getting a bit hmmmm sweaty !!?  

Day 3 – Sunday
The fuzzy heads and stories from the party before began to reveal over a full english breakfast prepared by the lovely galley crew yet again who were the engine behind the whole weekend – Thanks Boys n Girls for all the hard work!

Race officer rallied early shouting ‘50mins till the first race, get a move on your way too relaxed!’ over the dinghy park getting teams motivated knowing full well the wind was due and he didn’t want to miss a knot of it. Wind, sun and a spectacular reach blessed the competitors on their way out for the final days jousting. Breeze was almost dead ESE at 8 knots and building race 1 was on. Port end flyers lined up as starboard boats mentally sharpened up their poles. Away they went with Henry White & Ed Redfearn posting a blinding 4th well done chaps.

It was all about the lads on the C2 though White & Phipps and they shot three bullets and one capsize still finding a third place (soz lads had to mention it, nice to know it happens to the best of us…!) Notable performances of the day were Matt Young & Sam Barker, Dave White & John Payne and super girl crew Chelsea Furber sailing with John Tuckwell on another C2 !!

F18 Sailing is all about fair inclusive, exciting racing and its great to see a podium with three different designs manufactures on it namely AHCP, Nacra & Windrush. Lots of designs throughout the fleet and many, many tight battles that keep our fleet alive and kicking.

So the kids did good, good luck at the Olympics lads you’ve got a great heritage behind you with Reg watching and encouraging from ‘up there’ and no doubt having a chuckle !!

Cheers everyone, another great nationals at a fantastic club with a very warm welcome.

Simon Flack