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Home / Fleet reports / 2023 Dart 18 Nationals and World Championships Recap
Home / Fleet reports / 2023 Dart 18 Nationals and World Championships Recap

2023 Dart 18 Nationals and World Championships Recap

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As you will know, the 2023 Dart 18 Nationals were held alongside the World Championships at Blyth Park last August. This event marked a milestone with over 100 entries for the Nationals for the first time in over 20 years, featuring five former champions.

The Worlds attracted participants from three continents, including former South African champions and competitors from New Zealand, as well as representatives from across Europe. With over 140 entries, a unique starting system was implemented, using the committee boat in the centre with two separate line segments. This allowed everyone to race together without splitting the fleet, a method last used in 1991 for the massive Dart 18 fleet in Abersoch.

Two practice races were held: one with a conventional line and another with the double segment line. Both systems worked well, giving the PRO flexibility for the week. Unfortunately, former champions Vincent Bouvier and Fanny Merelle suffered a broken mast but were able to replace it thanks to class supplier Windsport.

The opening ceremony was impressive, with sponsors and the Mayor present. Following a minute's applause for the late Bob Fletcher, a former National and European Champion, the event kicked off with a live band and free BBQ.

Race day arrived on Sunday, but so did the wind! With forecasted gusts of over 30 knots, racing was postponed. Monday saw three races to make up for the lost day, with French sailors Herve LeMaux and his daughter Milania winning the first race after a battle with Mike Moruzzi and Max Spedding. However, they were black-flagged in race 2, allowing Grant and EllaMay Piggott to dominate with superior downwind speed in their 44-year-old Yellow Dart, still featuring many original parts.

Tuesday's single race was plagued by light winds that shifted 180 degrees, ending in just 3 knots. The Piggotts continued their winning streak, followed by former World Champions Dan Norman and Alyesha Monkman, with the LeMauxs in third.

Wednesday, initially scheduled as a lay day with a Champagne Cruise, turned into a race day due to delays. However, another 30-knot day forced the lay day to proceed, and the cruise was cancelled.

Thursday saw intense racing with full-on breeze. After multiple recalls, local boat Matt and Jacob Exon won the first race, with Norman in second. The second race was a battle, but David Lloyd and Jojo Trafford faced equipment failure, allowing Bouvier and Merelle to take the win. Due to substantial damage and high winds, only half the fleet finished, and no further races were held that day.

Friday's two races brought the total to eight, allowing for two discards. Bouvier shone, winning the first race, with Tom Kelley and Rosemary Crinion leading most of it. The second race saw Norman and Monkman narrowly defeating the new World Champions, who won the event by just two points. The Piggotts' consistent performance earned them the National title, finishing 7th overall.

Sponsorship was evident throughout the event, with food provided most evenings and several live bands entertaining the fleet. Key sponsors included Noble Marine Insurance, Hyde Sails, Windsport International, UKIDA, and others.

Next year's Worlds will be in Tarquinia, Italy, followed by Zaandvort on the Dutch coast. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all members who contributed their time to make this event a success. Your efforts have truly put the RYYC on the map, attracting inquiries from other sailing committees about hosting future events. Stay tuned for more exciting opportunities!

Last updated 3:33pm on 8 July 2024

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