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2022 Supernova National Championship at Plas Heli Welsh National Sailing Academy - Runners & Riders

by Supernova Class Association 7 Jun 2022 13:49 BST 1-3 July 2022
Supernova 25th Anniversary Nationals at Plymouth © Peter Mackin /

With just under a month to go until the Supernova National Championship, it is time to analyse the fleet and see who might be in the running to take the crown (odds are just for fun!).

The event has already attracted over 100 entries, so looks to be one of the largest single handed events in the UK for the seventh year running, demonstrating the strength of the Supernova Class. Given the current economic situation the entry level is way higher than we could have possibly expected.

The Supernova Association thanks the event sponsors, Hartley Boats the class builder and for their continued support.

Let's meet the contenders:

  • Samual Knight - Odds 4:1
    National champion in 2018 at his maiden Supernova event the last time the class visited Plas Heli. After his success he bought his own boat, joined the class and has featured well within the top 5 at each national championship since. He is a natural sailor and always seems to eek that little bit more speed just when it counts!

  • Cliff Milliner - Odds 4:1
    4-time Supernova national champion and 9-time inland champion. Committed to all aspects of mastering our sport 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. Always mentally strong and focused when it matters!

  • Gavin Young - Odds 10:1
    Current Inland champion, traveller series winner for the last 3 years and our class technical advisor. 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, but can he perform on the larger waters of Cardigan Bay?

  • Eden Hyland - Odds 10:1
    Eden is the Hartley Boats entry and is normally found in a Blaze. He entered his first Supernova nationals last year achieving 7th Overall. He's young, fit and tall so if its windy he's going to be a real threat!

  • Steve Hawley - Odds 12:1
    Steve was the 2021 Inland championship runner up, he's always been quick especially in a blow, his commitment to fitness and spin classes is second to none. Previously lacking some consistency to really contest major events but has more recently shown that this is a thing of the past posting some very consistent top results in the last 12 months. Could this be his year, if not we predict he will be very close.

  • Will Gifford - Odds 15:1
    Will is new to the Supernova stable having moved from the Aero 7 and 9. He's been training and sailing with Cliff and Gav giving them some real competition. He has progressed really fast since stepping in the boat and is loving the class. He has posted some top 3 open results already and is blisteringly quick upwind. Hard to put odds on this guy, but if he keeps calm and focused he could be a really big threat!

  • Mark Platt - Odds 15:1
    Mark is a GP14 legend, genuinely an excellent sailor. He's a very consistent and talented sailor from the Bolton SC strong hold. He stealthily moves around the course and just seems to be at the right place at the right time, finishing at or near the front. Sails smart and always positions his boat to block a pass, performs well in all conditions but especially when its shifty.

  • Mike Gibson - Odds 18:1
    Previous 2-time national champion and 4-time inland champion. Always regarded as Mr consistent but now a Veteran he is being challenged by the younger sailors. If Mike gets his head in gear he has the potential to leave the fleet standing. Best performance usually in the mid-airs, if he's not in the top 10 he will almost certainly be challenging for the coveted 1st Veteran award.

  • John Knight - Odds 18:1
    John is a fast and intelligent sailor, normally found borrowing his son's Supernova 1192 and joining us at the Inlands or the odd open. This time he is borrowing the class load boat 1031 so we will finally see him join us at the nationals. Always towards the front of the fleet especially in a good breeze, will be surprised if he doesn't bag a race win at some point over the weekend.

  • Matt Thursfield - Odds 18:1
    This year's winner of the Chelmarsh open meeting leading both Steve Hawley and Will Gifford. Posted 15th in both the Nationals and the Inlands last year and has improved since then. If he can transfer his form to the larger waters of Cardigan Bay we could see him within the leading bunch!

  • Alex Reeve - Odds 20:1
    Another class Cotswold SC sailor, he has not sailed much recently but achieved a 3rd at the 2021 inland championships. He has a habit of being consistent, he may not be the fastest boat, but he's always gong in the right direction leaving him at the front of the fleet. Back problems hampered his 2021 Nationals we hope this is now fixed and can't wait to see how he performs in 2022.

  • Richard Pakes - Odds 20:1
    Previous National champion, 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! He's not sailed with us for a couple of years, so we are excited to be sailing with him this year. It's hard to rate his odds but he's fast especially upwind, if the conditions are right, we could see some great results.

  • Mike Critchley - Odds 20:1
    Mike's performance is consistent when it comes to the nationals, he's rarely outside the top 10. Defends his position well, good boat speed and skilful at sailing in the right direct at the right time. If the wind stays around F2-3 all weekend he's a definite contender.

  • Iain Wilson - Odds 25:1
    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. If it blows we will see him grinning ear to ear.

  • Andy Flitcroft - Odds 40:1
    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!

  • Tony Critchley - Odds 50:1
    Tony is known as the "old guy at the front". He has suffered bad injuries in the past but is back up and running, he will be less competitive if we see windy and rough conditions but he's a master at reading the wind and virtually impossible to get past on the racecourse.

  • Richard Lambert - Odds 75:1
    Winner of the Bough Beech open a few times at his home club. Generally in the top 20% of our major events, he's a solid sailor and could do well.

  • Jonny Everett - Odds 75:1
    Jonny I just need some real wind Everett may not win but its Mental this guy isn't in the gold fleet. Very quick in a blow especially upwind, he will have a point to prove especially if its windy.

  • Ellen Clancy - Odds 100:1
    Ellen has been improving year on year and is the 2021 Nationals lady champion. She may not find herself in the top 10 but she is expected to be in the top 40% where she will be battling hard to retain her title.

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