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Hornet Nationals at Netley Sailing Club - Preview

by Thomas Guy 9 Aug 2011 16:31 BST 13-16 August 2011

Only 4 days to go before the start of the RYA National Hornet class championships hosted by Netley Sailing club in Southampton Water (13-16th August).

This year promises to be a tight affair with many past champions and top sailors competing for the crown of National Champions.

In addition to the top prize, the fleets will be competing for an extensive list of trophies including the famed Haggis trophy (mixed crew), the Tiger’s head (Juniors), the 4-pint Contech Tankard (Comination series) which will generously filled to the brim with the winners favourite tipple (better than yellow jersey any day!). Last but not least the infamous “alternative” prizes awarded for misdemeanours or deeds unbecoming of a Hornet sailor as nominated by the sailor we know as 'Strangler'. This year it is rumoured that due to high inflation each prize may exceed the £1 ceiling. Lucky we didn’t have US Congress voting on this one.....

Amongst the many contenders a few stand out (and not only for their sailing ability, but that’s another story):

Peter “Gordon” Bennett and John Shelton
After last year’s close run finish with Tricky Dicky (aided by some dubious race management decisions) can the 2009 national winners get their revenge?

Richard Garry and James Beer
Current Europeans champions, top boat at the this year’s Exe regatta. Always consistent across the wind range

Dave Edge and Martin Armison
Twice runners up in recent years, always quick around the course but the Championship has so far eluded them. Will home advantage play its part or will too much I14 sailing affect their performance?

'Strangler' and Pippa Rogers
One-time championship winner, but many times runner up. Always seems to manage to sniff out that extra little breeze on the opposite side of the course to you! Never to be written off!

Toby Barnsley-Dale
Strangler’s arch-rival in the FD fleet. Can he surprise the seasoned Hornet fleet in his first championship?

Tim Coombe and Jane Smith
Another duo with a good record of championship race wins but to date the title has been beyond their grasp.

Harry Ashworth and Ruth
During his last visit to Netley, class chair Harry dominated in the breezy conditions. With the relatively short courses and lighter crew, he may have an edge.

Roger and Jack Kelleway
Worlds winner in 2090! First crack at the champs since 2003. Sporting new North sails on a replacement Selden D mast (it’s a long story...) and a fresh new crew, could he be a dark horse?

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