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Musto Lark National Championships 2024 - Runners & Riders - Part 1

by Nigel Hufton 20 May 14:57 BST 26-29 May 2024
Musto Lark National Championships 2021 at Rock © Robert Deaves /

The Musto Lark Nationals 2024 (26th-29th May) is only days away and is shaping up to be a hugely competitive event, with 7 championship-winning helms and 8 championship-winning crews already entered and hoping to lift the top prize again. We will be profiling potential winners, in another article, nearer the time.

However, what makes this year's championship so highly anticipated is the race-within-a-race for the other prize categories. The Lark has always been an inclusive class and is keen to encourage people in the 'Silver Fleet' and 'Bronze Fleet', along with our 'Youth' and 'Female' categories. If you fancy a pop at one of the following categories, we'd love to see you - it's not too late!!

Entries are already over 30 and rising, with lots of interest in buying and borrowing a Lark. Here are some of the contenders:

1st Female Helm - We expect an intense rivalry between recent Olympic squad members Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton. However, can they break the stranglehold of past National Lark champion Emma Harris, who has won it multiple times?

First helm 25 and under - A key contender here will be Haydn Sewell, who will be taking time out from training with the British 470 sailing squad to sail with 2021 Cadet National Champion Hannah Carruthers. However, with very little time in a Lark between them, they may be pushed hard by the six Weymouth youth entries who have been tuning up against each other.

First helm 21 and under - if Oscar Cawthorne (420 youth squad) makes his anticipated appearance he will be a force to be reckoned with but he will be challenged by the 'Weymouth six', and group of local YOBs (Youths OnBoard) so expect a keen battle for this prestigious prize!

Highest-placed Married Couple - The long-running contest between Harry Pynn & Gemma Cook and Chris & Nic White will be resumed, with the Pynn/Cooks marginally ahead over the last 7 years (with four wins to three). However, could Chris & Kate Holliman or Jonny Coate & Kate Phillips break their stranglehold? It won't be Megan Brickwood and Connor Dickson just yet - they will have to wait until after their marriage to qualify!

Winner of 'Silver Fleet' - A rather unpredictable category because fleets aren't allocated until the event - and past winners tend to go into 'Gold Fleet'. However, look out for these regular 'Silver fleet' sailors: Steve Chatten & George Graham, Simon Cox & George Cox-Olliff and Nigel Scott & and Tegwyn Tricker.

Winner of 'Bronze Fleet' - The Weymouth Six are likely to be fighting hard for this trophy but look out for regulars Kate Merritt & Vicky Burgess and Dan Watson.

First helm in the Crews' Race - The crews' race is always as closely fought as the main event, with many crews being excellent helms as well (it's called the 'Hard to be Humble' trophy for a reason!). This year look out for past winner Matt Wood who will be challenged by regulars Fran Gifford, Andy Hicks, Becca Stephens, Nick Hydon and Rachael Jenkins. Also to watch are newcomers Alex Hughes (British 49er and British Youth America's Cup) and Hannah Carruthers.

First-time helm - Few would bet against Tom Gillard, multiple championship winner in Scorpions, Fireballs, Streakers and Solos. However, in this star-studded Nationals, some outside bets are Steph Orton (ex-49FX squad), Haydn Sewell (470 squad) and Oscar Cawthorne (420 squad).

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