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North Sails Contender UK National Championships - Form Guide

by BCA 27 Aug 2021 15:56 BST 3-6 September 2021
Contender Nationals at Broadstairs © Nick Champion / www.championmarinephotography.co.uk

By some accounts this will be the 50th UK Contender Nationals, same as last year, but this time with some actual sailing planned. From the 3rd to the 6th of September the Mountbatten centre in Plymouth will host the Contender class in what will no doubt prove to be the greatest sailing event held at the venue this year.

The Contenders will naturally resist organisation in all its forms as they are by nature solitary and odd individuals who gravitate toward glamourous international events, rather than the drudgery of the domestic competition that normal classes must endure.

Even with those limitations in play, 40+ riders have entered the event, so who knows how many will actually pitch up.

The nationals title remains the premier event of this year that only a few will get close to. Here are some made-up predictions that have no bearing on real events...

3/1 Stuart Jones - Datchet - 2019 result 1st. How and why does he keep doing it. Seemingly getting worse and worse starts and finishes events with a string of 3rds, but he's not actually bad at anything. When will the attrition end?

3/1 Graeme Wilcox - Netley - 2019 result 4th. Getting better and better, fast in all conditions and nailing downwind. Inland Champ and the North sails rider at their own nationals. No pressure then.

4/1 Nick Noble - Castle Cove - 2019 result 5th. New boat this year and new approach to his rig seems to have given Nick a new upwind poke. Destroyed us at Castle cove, but yet to live with waves.

4/1 Gary Langdown - Weston - 2019 result 2nd. New boat, new Gary, same as last time, but now back in the familiarity of a Bonezzi, Will be quick in the light to mid-range and can hang in there in breeze. Always performs at the big events.

5/1 Simon Mussell - Weston - 2019 result 8th. Keen as mustard this year, boat is holding together, or at least nothing new has fallen off. In any amount of wind and waves is hard to beat.

6/1 Ben Holden- Halifax- 2019 result 7th. Hardly sailed again this year but will always perform better on the sea so can't be ignored.

6/1 Rob Smith - Castle Cove - 2019 result 3rd. Another strong year for Rob. Good off the line and upwind, his hatred of pumping might be a factor in the breeze.

6/1 Ed Presley - Castle Cove - 2019 result 12th. The newly minted Northern champ from the south, decent results all year but never gets it right at the nationals.

6/1 Iain Horlock - Exe - 2019 result N/A. Always sails well, top ten at the worlds in 2019.

7/1 Thomas Hooton - RYA - 2019 result 16th. Where has he been? Last seen in 2019 winning the Inlands, could do anything.

There are of course many other likely challengers and one who will no doubt be on form if he makes it to the start line is Graham Scott, not sailed for a while but if he attends put him to the top of this list. Tim Holden is another ex-champ who might attend again will demand attention if he does. Mike Murley will be hard to beat in medium winds but with a few injuries recently may not get to the start gun.

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