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Hadron H2 National Championship 2023 at Highcliffe Sailing Club - Preview

by Keith Callaghan 11 Sep 2023 06:26 BST 15-17 September 2023
Dave Barker © Keith Callaghan

Highcliffe Sailing Club will open its doors on Thursday afternoon as the H2s start arriving for their National Championship, which take place from 15th to 17th September.

National Champion for the last two years, Nick Craig, sold his H2 at the beginning of the year to focus on the OK Worlds, so will not be competing this year, but who might take his place as winner of the Harold Smith Trophy?

There is no clear-cut favourite and the result is most likely to go to the helm who is fortunate enough to have the races sailed in his preferred wind strength. So let's look at the prospects from the point of view of the weather.

Wind force 0-8 knots:

These conditions are likely to be dominated by several people.

Ian Dawson was second at the Torbay nationals in 2022 and has more than 50 years of sailing experience to call on. He also carried off the lightweights trophy, the grand masters trophy and the Ulysses Trophy for the oldest competitor.

Josh Hamer will be making sure that Ian does not have it all his own way. Josh has shown great boat speed at H2 open events this year in his new H2, winning the Brightlingsea open and coming second at Deben YC.

Robin Parsons was the man who beat Josh at the Deben YC open and could well be right up there in the light stuff.

Class Chairman Dave Barker is another lighter weight helm who has a great track record at open events and will no doubt be in the mix at the front.

Wind force 9-13 knots:

Ian Dawson will be struggling at the top end of this range but the younger Josh, Robin and Dave will be sailing in their optimum wind conditions. They will have other competition, however. Richard Leftley is a versatile and seasoned H2 campaigner who can win in any conditions but prefers it when he has to work hard - he will be to the fore in these conditions but will be wanting more. Tim Garvin will also be up there with Richard - and also wanting more.

Wind force 14-21 knots:

Josh and Robin will be flying downwind but struggling upwind. Richard and Tim will be revelling in this - but so will Richard Le Mare. RLM is one of the heavier helms and stars in the stronger winds.

Wind force 22 knots plus:

The two Richards and Tim will be slogging it out, but if I were a betting man (which thank the Lord I'm not sir) my money would be on RLM, as he finished second behind Nick Craig in a quite windy 2021 nationals, with Richard Leftley in third.

That is my personal pick of the hopefuls. But the fleet has strength in depth and also there are several newcomers of potential unknown to me. So it's anybody's to win. What is certain is that the racing will be held in a competitive but friendly environment which is the hallmark of H2 racing.

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