2015 Nationals - Runners and Riders
From Yachts and Yachting - Courtesy of Chris Hawley
With 58 helms already signed up for the 2015 Supernova National Championship this promises to be a great event. This year we will be joined by Limitless Imagery who will be taking some overhead UAV footage of the fantastic sight of around 60 Supernovas battling it out.
The Supernova is going from strength to strength and this, the 19th year of the Association, features some great helms. Many could win this prestigious event, but the main runners and riders are:
Big wind specialists
- Alex Collins – Trained at the northern stronghold of Bolton, there is no limit to Alex's preferred wind strength. He won at Bowmoor, Bolton and Attenborough all in seriously windy conditions this year but has also won at the light wind venue of Combs for the past 2 years. A true contender, but this is the first nationals since Alex has turned 18, so the big question is how does he sail with a hangover?
- Mark Hartley – 3x national championship winner and the current title holder. He literally builds the Supernova and certainly knows how to make the most of it on the water. Lighting quick in the breeze thanks to his tallness and skill, Mark can be a hard competitor to beat when the breeze gets up. The only problem is that Mark has not yet signed on and it looks unlikely that he will be able to attend.
- Richard Pakes – Winner of the windy Llandudno nationals in 2010 he is known for hiking out, hiking out more and then hiking out some more! Richard's technique in the windy stuff is second to none and if you can keep him within sight going up wind you are doing very well.
- Gavin Young – The Association's bridesmaid, probably runner up in more events than anyone else. Having said that he found form this year and won the gale force Haversham open (despite a bent mast) and has been consistently close to the top step with second places at Bowmoor and Attenborough. The question is if he wins will he drop the trophy?
- Iain Horlock – A relative newcomer to the Supernova from the Contender. Iain is certainly the tallest competitor (estimated at 8 foot) on the circuit and knows how to use his height in the windy stuff. Being from Exe he is a pro on waves, tides and washing salt off his boat.
- Cliff Milliner – 2x national championship winner, winner of the last 4 Inland championships and more open meetings that you can count. There is no doubt Cliff will be at the front at some point, and in the medium winds he is in his element as he proved very much so by winning three of the four races on the second day of last year's nationals and getting a second in the other. Many are still searching for Cliff's Achilles heel.
- Mike Gibson – AKA Mr consistent. Mike is at the front in every event regardless of wind, but like Milliner he likes the medium stuff. A seasoned Supernova veteran and winner of the first sea nationals. This year sporting a shiny new boat, he certainly is a force to be reckoned with.
- Tim Hand – Another relative newcomer to the Supernova. Tim likes is light, really light. He won at the Girton and Scamonden opens and on day 2 of the light Exe open he got 2,1,1. When the strong winds come though, Tim is still at the front of the fleet battling it out.
- The Critchley brothers - Probably outsiders for the win, but they will certainly be at the front. Bolton sailors all their lives, the brothers are competitive in all conditions. Chuck in a bit of sibling rivalry and you have two very fast sailors. Tony has been called "the quick old guy at the front" and Mike won a race at last year's nationals. Both are notoriously difficult to pass, assuming you can catch them in the first place...
Remember it is not too late to sign up and if you haven't been to the nationals for a few years (or ever) you can be included in the free prize draw for a brand new sail.