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Musto 2023 Hikers LEADERBOARD

Musto Lark National Championships 2022 - Runners and Riders

by Nigel Hufton 23 May 2022 14:31 BST 1-4 June 2022
Musto Lark Nationals at Rock day 3 © Robert Deaves /

The Lark National Championships will be held over the Jubilee from 1st-4th June. Almost 40 boats are expected, including many new faces and a vibrant mix of younger and older sailors.

Sponsored by Musto, the Larks have ventured to a new venue - Pentewan Sands Sailing Club on a jewel of a sandy bay in East Cornwall. Anyone wanting to join in the fun can find out more at the Lark Nationals 2022.

As ever, competition at the top will be fierce, with eight previous Championship-winning helms (and seven winning crews) in the mix being challenged by some new-kids-on-the-block. We take a look at the Runners and Riders who might expect to be in the Top 10.

Challenging from the younger end of the fleet will be Samuel Bailey and Finlay Morgan - 2021 Travellers' Trophy winners and current 2022 Lark Youth Champion. Awesome speed and tactics inland but can they do it on the lumpy stuff?

Other extremely competent youthful challengers with race-winning potential are:

  • British sailing team 49FX sailor Megan Brickwood, sailing with partner Connor Dickson
  • Current 420 Youth National Champion and Youth Competition winners Alice Davis and Bettine Harris, using the brand new Lark Class Synergy Marine demo boat - Lark 2540.
  • Inland Legends Ollie Goodhead, sailing with John Tailby and Matt Shorrock sailing with Katie Kinver.

It will be fascinating to see how these young superstars transfer their skills into the Lark, taking on the established sailors at their own game.

Of the established contenders, Chris & Nic White are the current champions and will be difficult to beat. Chris is one of only two people to have won the Larks as both helm (2018/2021) and crew (2019). As a 3-time winner he is now officially a Lark 'God'. Back with past champion Nic, they are a formidable team. Likely to be good in all conditions and expect some race wins. Top tip for the 'Married Couples Trophy' (again)

Stuart & Nick Hydon - Twice winners (2016-17) and looking for that elusive third win to join the 'Gods'. Brilliant tactics and boat speed and an uncanny ability to thread their way through the fleet. The shiftier the better.

Alan & Tom Krailing - Another Lark 'God', with four victories (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015) but returning from a sabbatical. Alan now has young son Tom crewing, but should be Top 3 if it is light/medium.

John Brickwood and Andy Hicks - John will be reuniting the team who won the Nationals in 1986, with crew Andy Hicks. Looking very good over the winter at Frensham and fresh from an Open win at Rock. Heaps of experience and talent and will do well in all conditions.

Harry Pynn and Gemma Cook - A past champion and second last year. Particularly strong in light to medium wind. Will push the Whites close for the Married couple's prize.

Steve Cumley & Eluned Stewart - Past champions (2007) and gained a race win last year. Highly tactical and familiar with the waves. Strong in all conditions and should pop up in the odd race or two.

Tim Fells & Fran Gifford - Tim may be far from winning a youth prize, but he has kept his hand in the Lark fleet and has a chance to bring home some prizewear. He has reestablished his Merlin crew/helm Fran Gifford team, so there's a lot of know-how in that boat.

James Stewart & Susan Ogg - James is a crewing legend and regularly Top 10 helm in Larks (4th last year). This year he teams up with Lark-fresher Susan Ogg. James never gives up and will race to the finish line

Jeremy & Becca Stephens -'Ironman' Jez, crew for James last year, has won as crew and done well as a helm. With daughter Becca, they have won the Enterprise Nationals.

Nigel Hufton and Pete Nicholson - Nigel has competed at every Lark Nationals since 1983 and won the Nationals as crew in 1994. Still trying to complete the double, coming 2, 3, 8 in the last 3 years. With top Merlin crew Pete Nicholson, they will go better in a breeze.

Ed Bradburn & Laura Burch - Ed is past Lark Inland champion, 5th at the Larks last year being an accomplished OK sailor, he will bring a wealth of experience to the champs. Good chance of race wins and a strong performance from this pairing.

With all this competition across age ranges and experience, the Lark Class are instigating Gold, Silver, Bronze fleets. So there will be mini-competitions for all race competitors. There are also a raft of trophy categories, including, married couple, club, heavy weights, youth, old gaffers, etc, plus with the $1,000+ of prizes donated by Musto, we will have a lot of prizes to hand out at the end of the event.

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