Parkstone Yacht Club, Poole, Great Britain is hosting the second Formula 18 World championship over the period 14th to 20th July this year.
It is anticipated that over 100 Formula 18 category boats will compete in this championship with a large number coming from France, Holland, Italy and as far a field as Australia, including recent Olympians. Sailed by helm and crew, Formula 18's provide a spectacular display of modern twin trapeze asymmetric catamarans and the last World Championship, held at Erquy in France hosted 140 boats.
Already the entry list reads like a sailors who's who, with Australians; Gavin Colby, Darren Bundock, Mitch Booth (World Champion). French; Yves Loday, Emmanuel Boulogne, Fred Le Peutrec Dutch; Gunnar Larsen, Gerard Lous, Italian; Pierre Sicouri and Alberto Farnesi. Germans; Martina Beyer and Jorg Gosche. Britains; Matt Eeles and Rob Garcka. GBR Olympians; Hugh Styles, Adam May, Rob Wilson and Will Howden. Just to mention a few competitors.
Local interest will come from ten F18's from Parkstone Yacht Club and will include Phil & Miranda Cotton, Matt Eels & Matt Hardy and Nigel Sandy & Tom Montgomery.
Hobbie, Nacra and Mystere Catamarans are all entering international teams, with support coming from Wadworth Brewery, CK Sportswear and Kritter off the water, and Royal Marines Poole, PHC and Borough of Poole on the water.
Racing will be in Poole Bay, which is an open expanse of water accessed from Parkstone Yacht Club through Poole Harbour. Outline Sailing Programme will be:
Sunday 15th - Practice Race (s)
Mon & Tue Fleet Qualification Race (s)
Wed & Thu Gold / Silver Race (s)
A maximum of three races per day will be sailed. All this should make a spectacular view from Shore Road beach and Baiter Park.
The F18 World Championship, hosted by Parkstone Yacht Club, got under way with a practice race on Sunday 15th July and racing will continue until Thursday 19th July.
At the Official Reception on Saturday evening, Parkstone Yacht Club Commodore, Mrs. Mary Reddyhoff, greeted competitors and distinguished guests in English as well as French. She thanked the Event's Sponsors and wished everyone a good week's sailing. She presented M.Olivier Bovyn President of the F18 Class, with a silver Cup to be raced for annually at the World Championships.
The Organisers having agreed to a request from the competitors that, as the entry was under 100, the boats will race as a single Fleet. Thus eliminating the need for qualifying (seeding) races on Monday and Tuesday and all races will now count towards the Championship.
Practice Race Sunday 15th July
Two races were scheduled, but with very little wind and what there was shifting between north west and south, the PRO (Ray Page) did well to eventually get the fleet away at 3.15p.m. on an extremely short course. Two previous starts had resulted in general recalls with the "Black Flag" Rule being implemented after the first. By the time a start was eventually achieved only 30 of the initial 60 boats presented themselves at the line.
The winner was the French Cirrus sailed by Emmanual and Vincent Boulogne. Hugh Styles sailing an Inter no doubt preferred to follow the superstition that the winner of the Practice Race never wins the Championship! The first ten or so boats were all snapping at each others heels and promise good racing for the rest of the Week.
1st FRA 718 Cirrus Emmanuel and Vincent Boulogne, Yacht Club Fravelimois
2nd GBR123 Inter Darran Bundock and Eddie Pool, TLMS
3RD 431 Hobie Tiger Gerard Loos and Esther Van Zeggeren, WVZ Zamvoort