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North Sails 2022 Contender Nationals Form Guide

by BCA 20 May 11:49 BST 2-5 June 2022
Strong winds for the Contender Open at Hayling Island © Peter Hickson

Once again, the Contender class has chosen a stellar venue to host its annual shoot out to decide the UK champion for an enforced 12 month sentence.

This year with the reintroduction of travel to other countries the nationals have been brought forward to June to avoid clashing with the European Championships that will take place on Lake Attersee in August.

The Contenders' as always want to trot the globe to sample new things, the draw of events in France, Italy, Austria and Australia in the year, will be focal points for the very keen, but can the competition and hospitality possibly be better than the UK nationals? I think not. With that in mind an entry 40 boats are expected. The nationals title remains the premier event of this year that only a few will get close to. here are some odds derived from many hours of statistical analysis:

  • 2/1 Graeme Wilcox - Netley - 2021 result 2nd. So close to glory in 2021 and so far undefeated in 2022, fast in all conditions and nailing downwind, clearly the man to beat. North sails rider at their own nationals again.

  • 3/1 Stuart Jones - Datchet - 2021 result 3rd. once again grinding out results with consistent if not perfect tallies, this sort of relentless form will be extra valuable at a 10 race event.

  • 4/1 Rob Smith - Castle Cove - 2021 result 5th.There s no denying Rob knows how to manage a big event, always starts well and stays out of trouble, his rise to the top has been gradual but constant, will a dodgy knee effect a extended race series?

  • 4/1 Gary Langdown - Highcliffe - 2021 result 15th. A year of equipment issues has dented Gary's usual record but flashes of excellence have been seen, who would bet against him.

  • 5/1 Simon Mussell - Highcliffe - 2021- result 22nd. Simon's new slimline stature can only improve his consistency across results, not only that but the boat has had a full make over too.

  • 5/1 Adrian Smith - Hythe and Saltwood - 2021 result 8th. Adrian's speed in middling conditions is disconcerting, knows how to defend a lead, and so given the right wind will be very strong.

  • 6/1 Ed Presley - Castle Cove - 2021 result 10th- Results are up and down but has shown he can do it when conditions are right.

  • 6/1 Nick Noble - Castle Cove - 2021 result 17th Nick has been at the front all year, but do all his other interests distract over the course of a long event?

  • 7/1 Ben Holden - Halifax- 2021 result 23rd. Hardly sailed again this year but will always perform well on the large stretch of water.

There are of course many other likely challengers and one who will no doubt be involved is Tom Hooton, an unknown quantity, could be first or last depending on mood, and Carl Tagoe who's niche appears to be appalling survival conditions, if it blows hard he will perform. The U25s prize will be hotly contest this year with 2 former winners returning in Ben Hawkes and James Daniel. Similar close battles are expected in both the bronze and sliver fleets.

The event will be very kindly support by our headline sponsor North sails who are becoming a strong presence at the front to the fleet, as well our builder Hartley boats with Kingfisher ropes, Carlsberg and Essex rigging.

Entry to the event is still open, if you have a Contender and want to join in with this friendly and relaxed event please go to You will be very welcome.

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