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Supernova National Championship - Runners and Riders

by Chris Hawley 9 Jun 09:48 BST 28-39 June 2019
2015 Supernova Nationals at Paignton © Limitless Imagery

With just under a month to go until the Supernova National Championships it is time to analyse the fleet and see who might be in the running to take the crown (note this is just for fun so please don't take offence!).

The event has attracted 103 entries, so looks to be one of the largest single handed events in the UK for the fourth year running demonstrating the strength of the Supernova Class. This year it is even more impressive as the Supernova Association has managed to generate interest to pass the 100 mark without any external sponsorship - wow.

We thank all of our members for their continued support and particularly those who are attending the event.

Bronze fleet

This year we are launching a new improved Bronze fleet, developed by our new fleet co-ordinator. This will be a wide open championship for those who have submitted their nominations for Bronze fleet. Anyone else who wants to be entered for the Bronze fleet should let Paignton know at the event registration.

Silver Fleet

This is also wide open, but with some excellent sailors in the silver fleet some of the names will definitely be towards the front end of the overall results. Names to watch include:

  • Jon Pebody - Previous gold fleet member, a new boat last year, expect to be on the pace in stronger winds?
  • Ellen Clancy - Had her boat tweaked at last year's nationals by a gold fleet tech guru, now stunningly quick, particularly on the beats.
  • Tom Chadfield - One of Blithfield's finest, particularly quick in a blow.
  • Bob Horlock - Comet Trio national champ (maybe it was all his crew's work), very savvy sailor, always gets the shifts in the light stuff
  • Jeremy Higson - Untested in a supernova other than last year's nationals. A quality sailor and he certainly knows which way to point a laser - definitely one to watch, this year in a Mark2e
  • Ian Moodie - A gent on and off the water. Showed blistering pace at some opens, prefers the wind a bit lighter. Missed the gold fleet cut off last year by 0.5 of a place.
  • Jonny Everett - Mental this guy isn't in gold fleet. Jonny is a great sailor and is always first (to the bar).
  • Frank Mc Mullen - You can always hear when Frank is near, particularly when he is in the lead - we all remember that race in the Cotswolds where he beat Cliff and Gav....

Gold Fleet

There are 26 boats entered in our Gold fleet - many of which have a chance of the overall win. This year let's break down the contenders by club:

Team Bartley
Chris Hawley:
Odds of winning - Hell freezing over
2018 result (out of 114) - 15th
The best thing about the Chairman's sailing is his boat - certainly one of the best looking boats that has been made. The fluorescent orange and black machine is sure to be spotted on the race course. Chris is never going to win the event and if it is more than a force 3 - 4 is likely to be propping up the gold fleet table.

Steve Hawley:
Odds of winning - "Worth a quid"
2018 result (out of 114) - 20th
Will 8 spin classes a week win you the nationals? No. But it might win you a race or two. Even more determined than ever and king of the ridiculous commitment to an outside "bang the corners" approach. On form following a strong performance at Carsington last weekend.

Garry Butterfield:
Odds of winning - Needle in a haystack?
2018 result (out of 114) - 18th
The Bartley fleet captain and the 2018 Noble Marine travellers champion. Currently in the top 2 in the travellers and winner of one open this year. Keeps himself out of trouble on the racecourse, despite sailing an "Aquafresh" coloured boat.

Mike Gibson:
Odds of winning - I wouldn't bet against him
2018 result (out of 114) - 12th
Previous national champion and multiple inland champion. Known as Mr Consistent and always in the mix, less so on the sea though. If Mike gets his head in gear has the potential to leave the fleet standing. Best performance usually in the mid-airs when the sea is flat.

Sam Knight:
Odds of winning - Roll of a dice?
2018 result (out of 114) - 1st
Sam rocked up last year, won, then left again. A talented sailor and winner of several prestigious events (Steve Nic etc). Sam has once again borrowed one of the newest boats in the fleet and will be looking to defend his crown. Sam weighs less than a gnat, will he be on form if the wind gods get fruity.

Chris Bownes:
Odds of winning - Untested!
2018 result (out of 114) - DNA
Chris is brand new to the fleet, but has been performing well this year at club and open level. You can liken him to the Big Friendly Giant, and wears has a signature rash vest over 3 or 4 buoyancy aids to make himself look tough. Will absolutely be at the sharp end of the results if it blows - the only discretionary boat in the Gold fleet.

Team Bolton

Mike Critchley:
Odds of winning - Don't rule him out
2018 result (out of 114) - 7th
Mike continues to be in form and a definite contender for the title if the wind stays around F2-3 all weekend. Mike's big smile and pure white boat can be seen from miles around. A real contender for the Master's trophy even if the overall one might be a stretch too far.

Tony Critchley:
Odds of winning - Outside bet
2018 result (out of 114) - 14th
Tony is affectionately known as 'the quick old guy in the front', now in the Veteran age category. Fortunately for Tony he definitely still has 'quick' in his title. Had a couple of shockers (for him) last year, but also some top 5 finishes - how consistent will he be this year?

Andy Flitcroft:
Odds of winning - Blood moon?
2018 result (out of 114) - 24th
Andy is one of the Class' original stalwarts - he loves the big breeze and waves. Andy does make the odd mistake though so expect to see the bottom of his boat more than once over the weekend! Last year some very inconsistent results - 77th to 12th....

Alex Collins:
Odds of winning - Pick a spade from a deck of cards
2018 result (out of 114) - DNA
The Bolton Boy Wonder - learnt everything he knows from Frank. A real contender a few years ago, but time at college means time out of the boat. You wouldn't know it though from Carsington when he was in the mix with Cliff and finished 2nd overall. Helped along by his limited edition Robert Schidt Zhik branded hikers.

Ian Wilson:
Odds of winning - Supernovas start foiling
2018 result (out of 114) - 23rd
Iain is tough and powerful - upright rig and max power at all times. A top guy who likes a beer or two, which only seems to make him go faster the following morning.

Team Cotswold

Cliff Milliner:
Odds of winning - Red vs Black
2018 result (out of 114) - 3rd
Previous national champion and current inland champion. Cliff will be at the business end regardless of the conditions. A really natural sailor and always has the ability to step up a gear or two to cut through the fleet. Joint leader in the overall national championships league table. His new boat is going well, 3 bullets at Carsington in a strong fleet.

Ray Workman:
Odds of winning - Snow in June
2018 result (out of 114) - 17th
Master or reading the clouds and as a result always on the right end of the big shifts. Hikes hard, goes quick, what's not to like. A tad inconsistent last year 50th to 7th.

Gavin Young:
Odds of winning - Toast landing butter side up
2018 result (out of 114) - 8gh
Affectionately known as the Bridesmaid of the class. Cliff's training partner, but make no mistake this guy doesn't play second fiddle to Cliff. Winner of countless open meetings (and destroyer of glass trophies). Gav is probably the nicest guy on the circuit and always willing to offer help on and off the water. Association technical adviser.

Paul Undrell:
Odds of winning - Struck by lightning
2018 result (out of 114) - 32nd
Paul doesn't count himself as a gold fleet member, but he is wrong, although not going to win the nationals. A solid sailor and in the breeze definitely one to watch. Going much quicker now he has moved on from his "interesting" dehydrated yellow coloured boat. Organised this year's nationals.

Matt Williams:
Odds of winning - Finding buried treasure
2018 result (out of 114) - 19th
Matt "suns out guns out" Williams is a king of the first beat. A great starter, probably favours line starts to gates, but sure to be in the top few at the windward mark. Question is whether he will be in the top few at the leeward mark....

Robin Kirby:
Odds of winning - A Brexit deal to be struck by end of June
Last Nationals in 2017 - result (out of 101) 32nd
These days Robin is usually found trying to be a yachty on the Solent on his SB20 with the William brothers but after a year away from Supernovas he's making a comback appearance! Look out for him on the water, usually wearing something in fluorescent green!

The Rest

Steve Mitchell:
Odds of winning - Disney stop producing Star Wars films
2018 result (out of 114) - 16th
Don't write off Steve - a very savvy and experienced sea sailor. He knows how to sail the waves and get the maximum speed out of the boat. Not been seen on the circuit this year so maybe light on time in the boat?

Richard Pakes:
Odds of winning - Roulette Wheel
2018 result (out of 114) - 10th
Richard is a machine - not just on cider drinking - he seems to have an ability not to tire when hiking. Pioneer in the raking rig, you can see Richard's trademark extreme mast rake from the shore. Special sail number 666 is always at the front.

Alex Horlock:
Odds of winning - Finding a fiver in an old pair of jeans
2018 result (out of 114) - 6th
2017 national champion - races against Sam Knight in the RS400s - some say even idolises Sam;). Lives in the gym and when he isn't there he is praying for wind, wind and even more wind. With the energy of a Duracell bunny, can this guy be beaten in windy wavy stuff? Holder of the best ever result of the Supernova Association in the Endeavour trophy.

Tony Bleasdale:
Odds of winning - More likely to win the lottery
2018 result (out of 114) - 66th
Tony has a new Mark2e and won his first open meeting this year. Seemingly much improved in pace and very fast in the light stuff. We don't expect Tony to win, but do expect the odd impressive performance.

Alistair Goodwin:
Odds of winning - 2 heads in a row
2018 result (out of 114) - 2nd
Alistair is a fantastic sailor and runner up last year. A laser pro, winner of the Sailjuice series and an RYA race coach. He will be doing the class coaching at Bowmoor later this year. A great all rounder, will be at the front all weekend.

Mark Hartley:
Odds of winning - Lives of a cat
2018 result (out of 114) - 13th
Previous national champion and the other joint leader in the overall national championships league table. Mark builds them and certainly knows how to sail them. Has a penchant for a big night in the bar and has been known to sleep in his boat when it's been really "big"! Being 7 foot tall will help if the waves get big.

Richard Lambert:
Odds of winning - Birmingham city winning the Champions League
2018 result (out of 114) - 31st
Winner of the Bough Beech open a few times, his home club. A solid sailor, and in 2017 popped on a small sail and found his way to the front. Sadly not going to win the event, but don't write off Richard, a solid performer.

Colin Anderson:
Odds of winning - Unknown
2018 result (out of 114) - DNA
Taking part in his first Supernova nationals. One of the hardcore crew from Blithfield who showed us the way round at the Inlands last year. Colin comes from good stock in the Merlin fleet and is one to watch in the windy stuff.

Matt Biggs:
Odds of winning - Ronnie O'Sullivan winning the Masters
2018 result (out of 114) - DNA
Matt "Merlin" Biggs is a legend on and off the water. Seen flat in a force 6 overtaking people whilst casually having a quick smoke. Winner of open meetings, Merlin and Supernova alike, definitely has the potential to be at the front at the end of the weekend. Didn't quite set the world on fire as expected in his last Supernova nationals.

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