Please select your home edition
Ovington 2021 - ILCA 3 - LEADERBOARD

Blaze Nationals 2023 - Runners and Riders

by Richard Botting 2 Jun 2023 16:41 BST 9-11 June 2023
2022 Blaze Nationals at Stone day 2 © Nick Champion /

The Blaze Nationals for 2023 returns to Warsash Sailing Club with new headline sponsor, Sea Sure, for 3 days of (usually) champagne sailing on the Solent Waters off Solent Breezes. At the time of writing, 68 boats are entered with the organiser confident they can exceed the previous class record, set in 2021 at Paignton, of 71 boats.

There are some notable entries within the list so this article gives a view of some of the top Runners and Riders for the event. If your name is missing though, don't worry, just go harder!

Listed in Alphabetical order to avoid undue favouritism!

William Gould
Stable lad as manufacturer's representative and employee of Hartley Boats. Will can be fast in his factory pimped boat as long as he gets a good night's sleep in his van or doesn't have to walk back the 4.7 miles to his hotel having missed the last taxi! There's usually a new bit of string to look at and try to replicate with him as he tries another new approach striving for manufacturer development.

Ben Harden
Multiple previous Nationals and Inlands winner has been off for a while Moth'ing but makes a return to the Class for the event in a borrowed boat. Now, Ben is one of those with insane inbuilt talent and could make a paper bag look fast but in a borrowed boat.....As a member of the Burnham massive he'll be well-practiced and will certainly be one to watch if you can get close enough to see him.

Daniel Henderson
Daniel, as Sales Director for title sponsor Sea Sure, has been the driving force for supporting the event and providing the generous level of sponsorship. Sea Sure supply many of the fittings to Hartley Boats and Dan will be sailing a Mk4 Hartley, new out of the mould this year. Local intel says Dan is seriously quick, with the added advantage of home territory (Sea Sure being based in Warsash).

Alex Horlock
Alex comes from some very good sailing pedigree and has entered the class for this event (we hope he'll remain after as well). Another Warsash member that is on home water.

Malcolm Hutchings
Malc is a long time member of the Burnham massive and can be regularly seen in a Squibb. Malc has regularly picked up the Grand Master trophy, with individual race wins, and awaits his turn at the top of the podium. Malc can easily be picked out in the fleet by his large floppy hat.

Josh Hyland
Josh returns to the fleet in his brother Eden's boat. Eden, another Hartley Boats employee, apparently too busy doing his Forest Gump impression - running (but from what?). We know Eden's boat is quick, having also won titles previously. Josh, though, has recently been eating up for Phantom sailing so will be wanting a heavy-winds event.

Mike Lyons
Previous Class Rights Holder, Mike, is a wily character, never to be underestimated despite his protests of "...what, with this shoulder?". Mike's form at the recent Paignton Open for Single Handers (POSH) with the Fire sail proves he's still fast. If Josh is in for heavy winds, Mike will be feeding the gods for a light wind event.

Ian Pittendreigh
Ian gets a special mention in this report for 2 reasons; firstly, he will most likely be the furthest travelled hailing from Aberdeen - a 10-hour journey each-way demonstrates commitment to the cause in anyone's book. Secondly, Ian prefers to sail the racked Blaze without anything filling the hole between hull and rack. While some have skinny laced tramps and others nets, Ian relies on defying gravity for the leap to the outer tube.

Nick Ripley
As previous Commodore and Now Rear Com Sail for Paignton Sailing Club, Nick knows how to connect the dots in sea conditions. Usually to be found battling with his son Mark, last year Nick's boat decided to let him down so he'll be all out for restitution this year.

Christian Smart
Past Nationals winner, Christian, is renowned for taking Blaze 500 (the first production boat) to the front of a much younger fleet and winning the Title. Christian has a new boat from Hartley's this year though so will be fast - he can't be missed with bright orange foils, not that we expect to see them above water! Christian is known to like a beer with the Pembrokeshire posse (and anyone else) so if the rest of the fleet can keep Christian at the bar, they might stand a chance. Christian will be sailing against his son Robbie. Will Dad outclass the young pretender?

That concludes the Runners and Riders but a few others to note:

Alex Porteus, the only female competing, and proving the boat can be sailed by the fairer sex, will be guaranteed the 1st lady prize.

Richard Botting, who after 6 years as Class Chair is stepping aside at the AGM during the event, needs to avoid being run over by a 32' trimaran, as last year.

Bob Cowan, long time member of Warsash SC and event organiser, for whom the class are really grateful.

Finally the Class Association would like to thank their sponsors: Sea Sure, Hartley Boats, Allen, Rooster Sailing and The Old Salt Loft.

Related Articles

Blaze Eastern Championship
Costa-del-Sheppey shines It wasn't easy, but the nimble Blaze Class Chairman Charlie Matthrews pulled off some superb sailing, chased by local, Russell Wheeler and London-based Douglas Clow, who seemed to be swapping places left, right and centre. Posted on 6 May
Sea Sure and Hartley Boats Fire Nationals Preview
The fleet is set for Warsash SC on the first weekend of June For those of you not in-the-know about the Fire Class, it's useful, firstly, to note that the Fire is sister to the popular 1996 designed Blaze. Posted on 3 May
Blaze Training and Open at Carsington
What the Blazes...? 14 intrepid sailors travelled to Carsington Sailing Club (well, 11 technically, if you exclude the home clubbers), nestling just south of the Peak District, for a duo-weekend of 1 day of training and 1 day of racing. Posted on 19 Apr
Fire Inlands at Burghfield
A forecast for the adventurous Like the four previous years, the forecast for the historical Blaze Class season opener looked like one for the adventurous - 16, gusting 28 kts. Posted on 25 Mar
The RCYC Snow Globe races 7 & 8
James Hutton-Penman goes to the top after winning both races James Hutton-Penman goes top after winning both races on the 4th day of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club' SnowGlobe series, on 2nd of December 2023. Posted on 5 Dec 2023
The RCYC Snow Globe races 5 & 6
16 boats lined up, including 4 Otters and 2 visitors The third day of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club' SnowGlobe series, on 25th of November, saw Charlie Matthews move to the top of the table, after a second and a first place. Posted on 28 Nov 2023
The RCYC Snow Globe races 3 & 4
The Blazes win the second day The Burnham Blaze fleet took two wins on the second day of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club SnowGlobe series, on 18th of November, as Charlie Matthews and Malcolm Hutchings won a race each. Posted on 21 Nov 2023
Blaze Inlands at Yorkshire Dales
Great forecast attracts visitors from Pembrokeshire to Aberdeen, Essex and beyond Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club hosted the 2023 finale of the Blaze sailing calendar, hosting the Inland Championship and respectively concluded the Travellers' Series. Posted on 22 Oct 2023
Sea Sure Blaze Nationals 2023 at Warsash
A class-record 71 boats entered for the event The Sea Sure Blaze Nationals took place across the long-weekend of 9th-11th June at Warsash Sailing Club, with a class-record 71 boats entering for the event. Posted on 19 Jun 2023
Paignton Open Single Handed 2023
Tor Bay was a sight to behold with over 100 boats on the water for POSH Tor Bay was a sight to behold with over 100 boats on the water this weekend as Paignton Sailing Club hosted the 2023 Paignton Open for Single Handers (POSH), sponsored by Sailing Chandlery. Posted on 25 May 2023