A total of 70 Dart 18s travelled to Netley S C on the Solent for the 2003 Dart 18 Nationals held over the Bank Holiday weekend

A total of 70 Dart 18s travelled to Netley S C on the Solent for the 2003 Dart 18 Nationals held over the Bank Holiday weekend. The field was very competitive with six Previous European or world title winners competing. Nine races were held over the three days with conditions varying from almost calm to Force 5.

Saturday was a cold day with a moderate south-westerly. The tide although neaps was holding the fleet back from the start and so race one got away cleanly with ‘Red Insurance’ leading at the windward mark and fellow Stokes Bay members Chris Moore and Jess Walton, and Team ‘Typhoon’ David and Sam Lloyd close behind. There was place changing when Stuart and Sandie Sly stormed through to win with Typhoon second and Red insurance hanging on to third.

Race two once again Red Insurance led having port-tacked the fleet at the start but again they were overhauled by team Typhoon who won with David and Jo Bartlett chasing hard until a severe collision with an Etchells, which was racing on an overlapping course. It tacked as they gybed and ended their race on the last run. This left Grand Prix champs Dan Norman and Mel Rogers to take second. The final race of the day and Typhoon led from start to finish with Grafham water sailors Stuart Snell and Bettina Harvey second and Norman and Rogers third.

Day two was day with a light north-westerly which kept shifting to the south-west and back again with heavy rain showers and squalls passing through the race course. The fourth race had a port biased line and saw the first general recalls of the championship as the tide was now pushing the fleet across the line. A slightly more port-biased line saw several port-tackers getting through and the right-hand side was paying with slightly more pressure.

Former world champion, Gareth Owen crewed by Joanna Jones-Pierce established a good lead and then tacked across to the left as a squall came through and had a 200yard lead at the end of the first lap from Norman and Rogers. The tidal stream against the fleet was stronger offshore but on the second lap it also had more wind. First to spot this were Team Typhoon and Mark Howell and Martin Stevens who jumped into the second and third places, by carefully sticking to just left of the middle of the course as the far left was in a very adverse tide and the far right in very little wind. Howell and Stevens just nicked second before the race was shortened to two laps.

In race 5 and Red Insurance port-tacked the fleet again but this time held the lead to the finish, as they had just managed to avoid a pile up at the pin end with Herve Lemaux and Robbie John Garcka sinking Owen and Jones Pierce on the line. As the race went on the Slys finished second and father and son team Joffan and Stuey Garcka holding off the challenge of Norman and Rogers for third.

The final race of the day and Owen and Jones – Pierce took out their frustration by winning in a borrowed boat with Norman and Rogers second and newcomers to the fleet, Matthew Pullen and Deborah Rickard a creditable third. This left Norman and Rogers leading by a point from Team Typhoon going into the final day with Owen and Jones – Pierce and the Slys still very much in the running.

The final day and the Solent blessed the fleet with clear Skies and warm sunshine, the breeze stayed in the south-west all day but started as a Force 2. The tide was holding the fleet back from the line but further out in the channel at the windward mark it was about half a knot in the other direction. This meant that a large proportion of the fleet overlaid the windward mark. Chris Moore and Jessica Walton led from start to finish with Team Typhoon going left on the second beat to get back to second place with LeMaux and Garcka in third. Race 8 and the tide at the windward mark had changed to be the same across the whole course. All the top overall contenders fared poorly as they were so busy covering each other. The race was won by Lawrie Draper and Estelle Derville who were one of the most consistent boats in the series, keeping all their results in the top ten. Le Maux and Garcka were second with Snell and Harvey third.

This meant Team Typhoon was firmly in the driving seat going into the final race with only Norman and Rogers able to beat them. The black flag was in and the race got away cleanly. Typhoon shadowed Norman and Rogers down the line as they just had to finish within six places of them The sea breeze had filled in and with negligible tide or wind shifts and a perfect start line they fleet stormed off cleanly first time, with Norman and Rogers leading , Owen and Jones – Pierce and Team Typhoon just behind. Typhoon gained second on the first run and then these three extended their lead to the finish.

David and Sam Lloyd won the event In Typhoon. David had previously finished 2nd, 3rd 4th and 5th but finally took the title at the 17th attempt.

Overall Results

1st ‘Typhoon’ 7724 David and Samantha-Jayne Lloyd Stokes Bay SC

2nd 7722 Dan Norman and Mel Rogers Sheppey YC

3rd 7749 Gareth Owen and Joanna Jones-Pierce Dee SC

4th 7652 Stuart and Sandie Sly Restronguet SC

5th 7677 Lawrie Draper and Estelle Derville Stokes Bay SC

6th 7700 Stuart Snell and Bettina Harvey Grafham Water SC

7th ‘Red Insurance’ 7738 Alan and Fiona Kernick Stokes Bay SC

8th 7382 Chris Moore and Jessica Walton Stokes Bay S C

9th 7753 David and Jo Bartlett Starcross Y C

10th ‘Fluid’ 7683 Paul Wakelin and Jo Coe Mumbles Y C

Personal Handicap

1st 7678 Richard Pierpoint and Sue Grey Parkstone Y C

2nd 6734 Craig Brown and Joanne Abel Restronguet S C

3rd 3333 Jim and Hannah Mundy Weston S C

Exe Plate, British Open Cup, Saab Cup, Garcka Trophy

‘Typhoon’ 7724 Lloyd and Lloyd

Peter Whitfield Cup Sam Lloyd

SW Water trophy 7652 Sly andSly

Masters Trophy 7700 Snell and Harvey

Lady Helm 2183 Abby Ledger Whitstable Y C

Youth Helm 7267 Shaun Pollard Hastings S C