As reported by Sail-World.com
With revolutionary wave-piercing hulls, twin trapezes, a high aspect square-top mainsail, asymmetric spinnaker, plus carbon-fibre centreboards and rudders, the flying F18s can reach speeds of over 25 knots (46 km/h), making them one of the world’s fastest racing classes.
There’s close tacking and gybing duels aplenty as the windward/leeward courses are relatively tight and each race takes approximately 45 minutes for the first boat to finish.
Race organisers are expecting around 35 entries for the national titles, which are being hosted by Mannering Park Amateur Sailing Club. Included are international competitors from Oman, Italy and New Zealand, along with interstate crews from Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory.
Josh McKnight, fresh from a podium finish at the recent Australian Moth Championships, will climb back aboard an F18 to defend the Australian title he won as a for’ardhand … this time he’ll be on the tiller. Jason Waterhouse returns with a new crew, as will America’s Cup sailor Adam Beashel and two-time A-Class catamaran world champion Steve Brewin.
As with F1 racing cars, the international regulations encourage rival manufacturers and designers to compete under a 'box rule' governing dimensions like length, width, weight and sail area. It adds spice to the racing while ensuring a ready second-hand market.
Among the production classes represented will be the Hobie Wildcat, Nacra Infusion, along with the Australian designed C2, Windrush and a few Capricorns.
The fleet in the John Cootes Furniture Warehouse F18 National Championships 2013 put on a fine spectacle for Australia Day in a building nor'easter, sailing from the Mannering Park Amateur Sailing Club on the southern end of Lake Macquarie, NSW.
The 36 boat fleet which included crew from Italy, Oman and New Zealand was peppered with same major names from the sailing world, some more normally associated with the monohull scene (Nina Curtis, Adam Beashel, Sean Langman and Krystal Weir to name a few).
Jason Waterhouse (2011 National Champion) and crew Brett Goodall provided a masterclass in heavy air sailing, taking a 1,2,2 in the three races of Day 1 run by the race committee, before racing was called off for the day with gusts regularly hitting 25 knots.
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