National 12 - find out more...


Gul Series 2017 - Event #1

Nearly 20 boats turned out for a warm but windy open meeting at Burghfield Sailing Club in March. Once again we shared the short-sharp race format with the OKs and had some tremendous fun on the water, with 4 different race winners from 8 races.


Close racing at the windward mark!

Tom Lee's summary of the event is below:

Eight visitors came to join nine of the local National 12’s at Burghfield sailing club. The sailors were greeted with an 18kts westerly gusting 25kts, as forecast. Race officer Ian Bullock set a trapezoid course with an inner loop and outer loop in order to keep the 2 fleets separate. With the National 12s racing on the outer loop and Oks on the inner loop. The aim was to run as many 15-20 minute races as possible

Race 1 started without incident with Tom and Robert Stewart taking the win. On the second start, the fleet was a bit more eager to go causing a general recall which gave the race officer the opportunity to get the new ‘U’ flag out the fleet then got off cleanly. Races two and three where won by Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne, race four saw Tom and Robert back at the front. 
After four morning races, Tom and Robert Stewart were leading by three points with John Meadowcroft and Sam Brown in second and Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne in third.

After an excellent lunch, a slightly depleted fleet returned to the water for four more races; this time the N12s were sailing the inner loop of the trapezoid which had the effect of keeping the fleet compact for longer. John and Sam took the win in race 5, Graham and Zoe won races 6 and 7 while Nick Copsey and Rosie White took the gun on race 8 propelling them to 4th overall. By the end of the afternoon, Burghfield sailors Graham and Zoe had done enough to win the event by two points from Tom and Robert with John and Sam in third. Jon and Maya Brown were first ‘non foiler’ and Bim Daser and Katie Meadowcroft were first Admiral’s cup boat (non self-draining boat).

Many thanks to Ian Bullock and his race team for running some fantastic racing, to the safety teams who where kept busy throughout the day, the club managers and of course Gul for their sponsorship of the series.



Salcombe Open - 2017

The next round of the Gul Series continues over the first May bank holiday weekend, from 29th April - 1st May.

Check out Chris and Sophie Day's preview:

Are you ready for the one of the best National 12 open meetings of the year? Here is a 10 point checklist to make sure.

  1. Book accommodation for the May Bank Holiday weekend (ideas, there's a campsite and youth hostel not too far away)


  2. Enter online via the Salcombe Yacht Club website, – by 22nd April for the early entry discount!


  3. Know the exciting racing schedule: one race on Saturday start time 14.40. Two races on Sunday with a break for lunch, start time 11.00. One race on Monday start time 11.00. Start flag T – full NOR on the SYC website.


  4. Book in for the tasty National 12 BBQ on Saturday night, starting at 7pm– email the yacht club -


  5. Book pasties for the beach for Sunday lunch (pre-order at the bar on Saturday)

  6. Know which way round to put your cream and jam for the cream tea after sailing on Sunday.


  7. Know where you're launching (boats should be left at Batson Boat Park). There will be a briefing here at 12.30 on Saturday.


  8. Check tide times.


  9. Pack suncream (for the sunny Salcombe weather)


  10. Know the fastest way round the estuary - if you do please let us know!

Ticked all of the boxes? Excellent news – we'll see you there. You'll find us on the beach or at the bar.

Not ticked all of the boxes – there's still lots of time! Email us if you have any problems,


Something New?

Tom Stewart recently sent this photo in.........

We are very happy to report that a new Dead Cat Bounce is currently being built in Suffolk - hopefully one of many!

Check our Facebook page for more updates on the build as they come!


Carnac 2017

For those that don’t know, three years ago 77 boats went over to Carnac for a four day event in the sun. The venue is ideal with all the usual you could want from a club, plenty of space, easy launching, a great sailing area and a very professional team used to running major events. Unusually for a club of this size they are also incredibly friendly and welcoming. It’s also walking distance to the town, beaches and easy access to the surrounding area for those coming for a holiday.

Getting there is surprisingly simple with multiple flight and ferry options and Brittany Ferries are kindly offering a discount for competitors and supporters. The format for the sailing will be similar to last time with handicap races on Saturday that don’t count to the main series in case anyone can’t get over there in time and then fleet racing on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The main changes are the addition of a pursuit race on the Saturday before a back to back handicap race and the option to run sprint races on the Monday. Target length for these will be 15 minutes so if someone makes a blinding start then there’s less chance for it all to go wrong and anyone making a bad start is quickly into another race so no need to spend a long race trying to catch up again. 

The event is happening 27th – 30th May so it’s a bank holiday weekend and half term. It means it can be done with only 1 day off work if you want. Cost wise will depend on your circumstances and how many people you are bringing, as open meetings go it is quite expensive, as holidays with your mates go it’s an absolute bargain.
More info can be found at or feel free to e-mail if you can’t find the answer there. Tom will also be around the dinghy show on Saturday.
SMELT 2017 @ Carnac – sponsored by Allen Bros., Brittany Ferries, Coast Watersports, Dinghy Rope, Les Menhirs campsite, North Sails and True Start.


Tuning Tip - When It Blows - Part 1

Even though Storm Doris is well behind us as we head into a season of champagne sailing conditions, we thought it wise to review Tom Stewart's guide to sailing in a breeze - just in case we experience similar conditions to Burton Week 2016!

"The Surf's up, the breeze is on, BRILLIANT! National Twelves are probably the most exciting boats to sail in a blow. Difficult upwind and downwind can scare you silly!

Try the beat, not just to check your compass, but to find out how your rig is, and how it needs to be. Typically we ease the forestay about an inch and probably crank the shrouds down about two in a serious blow.

As the wind increases we pull on more and more shroud (the lighter you are the more you will need to de-power). This induces more bend into the middle of the rig flattening the mainsail, as well as maintaining the jib luff tension. (Otherwise the jib luff would sag, effectively making the jib fuller and spoiling your pointing ability).

Due to the bendy characteristics of most Twelve masts you should find that as soon as you are both fully hiked the leeward shroud will always be panting (just slack). This is fast!

Try to have the rig set correctly when the gun goes, otherwise you will find yourself with your head down when you need to be concentrating 100%. Hike hard! The harder you hike the faster you will go! Most people tend to edge towards the front of the boat upwind.

This is not fast in a blow. The thwart (if you have one) is generally a good indicator of where to put your feet. Helmsman just behind and crew just in front, be friendly- stay close together, it reduces the energy wasted in pitching. If your boat builder forgot the foredeck you may need to be even further back to keep the sea on the right side.

Try not to let waves break over the bow, going round or over is faster than under. This is a matter of practice. When you arrive at the windward mark make sure you have an easy rounding. Crash tacking in a force five or six is a skill best practised somewhere else.

Ease the kicker before you attempt to bear away, it might save an embarrassing broach. If you have the opportunity to get the board up before the mark this will also help. The most important thing in achieving a broach/capsize-free windy bear away is making sure that both of you, (crew and helm) stay on the side until you are properly born away.

Well done, you are now on the way to the gybe mark. The reach is where the fun really starts...... be continued


National 12s For Sale

There isn't a boat that is better value for money! Currently there are a number of National 12s for sale on the NTOA website & Apollo Duck, including:

N3514 - Feeling Foolish
N3404 - Freak Out
N3496 - Numinous
N3495 - Big Issue 2
N3286 - Design 8
N2411 - Design Unknown

This year first time helms at Burton Week get half price entry, so lets try and bring as many new faces along as possible!


New Members

We welcome these new members to the NTOA:

  • Kyle Carruthers of Barnhill, Dumfries with N 1992
  • Will Burges Watson of Salcombe, Devon with N 3517

Upcoming Events

29th April - 1st May - Salcombe Yacht Club - Gul Series #2

27th - 30th May - Yacht Club de Carnac - Carnac 2017

4th June- Yorkshire Ouse Sailing Club - Gul Series #3

10th - 11th June - Royal Harwich Yacht Club - Gul Series #4

15th - 16th July - Rutland Sailing Club - 12 Fest & Coaching

5th - 12th August - North West Norfolk Sailing Week

13th - 18th August - Salcombe Yacht Club Regatta

19th - 22nd August - Weymouth Sailing Club - Burton Week 2017