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New Morrison National 18ft prototype

The National 18ft class is experiencing a revival of interest with publication of a new book about the class - The History of the National 18' Dinghy written by Brian Wolfe - and a new Phil Morrison design recently launched at the Royal Cork Autumn racing. Built by Ian Teasdale in Devon the new hull has been described as a cross between an RS400 and a Mark 8 International 14. Along with other recent innovations, such as carbon rigs, the the prototype is to be trialed and a decision taken at the next AGM on her future!

The National 18’ began in 1938 following a design competition organised by the then YRA (now RYA) and Yachting World magazine. The well-known designer Uffa Fox won the competition (over the Laurent Giles submitted version) with his ‘Ace’ design for a clinker-built wooden boat.

Although most boats were built to the ‘Ace’ design, the class had always been ‘restricted’ rather than ‘one-design’ and boats with a reduced number of wider planks were built when glued plywood construction was adopted and even one moulded carvel boat was built.

In 1967 the Class voted to allow grp construction and commissioned Ian Proctor to design a new 18’, with the informal brief that these should not outclass the wooden boats overnight. By 1969, the plug and mould had been produced and the first grp 18’ built.

In practice, all new boats have come out of the Class mould to the 1968 Ian Proctor grp hull design, with further tweaks to the rules allowing a full top batten, a single trapeze (though remaining a three person boat), a longer spinnaker pole, air-tanks for buoyancy, and a lighter centreboard.

Phil Morrison prototype

The new Morrison design, if accepted, will be another step in the continues update of one of the very few three-person racing centre-boarders still available. Many 18’ sailors today are the third generation of families who have long appreciated both the rather special boats and the lifetime friendships within the Class.

The 2013 Championships were held at Hayling Island SC, won by Tom Dwyer, Peter Hassett and Willie Healy of the Royal Cork YC.

National 18 Class Association