2006 Nationals Runners & Riders!

Simon Cox - 01st August 2006

The article that you've all been waiting for is now available exclusively on your favourite website!

Thank you to Steve Cumley, Nick Marlow and Stuart Allen for helping to compile this mammoth article which is bound to cause much debate on the forum.

All we do know is that on Friday 18th August there will be three winners...

Gold Fleet

Sarah Richards & Nigel Wakefield (2288)
Sarah and Nigel are a formidable pairing and have the results to prove it. National championship titles at Torquay and Abersoch make them favourites again. There ability to sail fast in any conditions mean they are particularly good at long championships, such as the nationals and Rock, where they have been totally dominant in recent years. If anybody wants to learn about teamwork watch Nigel and Sarah in action. Like many previous championship winning pairs they both play a big part in the success of the boat.

Alan Krailing & Ed Mcardle (2464)
Alan and Ed are good across the wind range. They have fantastic boats speed and are rarely caught if they get away. They have the mental strength to hold it together after a bad start, and can hoover through the fleet with that same Waldringfield determination and persistence that Emma Harris has so often demonstrated.

Chris Fish & Beth Condie (2494)
It has taken Chris a couple of years to get his new boat up to speed, but he is consistently back where he used to be – the front of the fleet. Chris and Beth have had some great results this season including wins at the Winter Championships, and Waldringfield. Chris is very experienced and crucially knows how to win races at the nationals.

Nigel Hufton & Chris Whitehouse (2470)
Nigel and Chris always do well at the nationals but are becoming renowned for having dreadful bad luck. They could have won either Torquay or Abersoch had it not been for boat breakages. Nigel and Chris are particularly fast when it is windy but have proved countless times that they can win in the light stuff as well.

Jon Fish & Toby Lewis (2264)
Jon and Toby are especially good in the breeze. They won the breezy inland championships at Bristol, and pushed Sarah and Nigel very hard at Rock. Jon and Toby both have great sailing CV’s. Jon has been doing very well in his OK which has included trips to the worlds in Australia and you may have spotted Toby’s name at the last team racing world championships.

Steve Cumley & Eluned Jones (2496)
Steve and Eluned came second at Abersoch last year. This year they have already notched up 4 open meeting wins and word on the street is that they have been practicing hard. Steve and Eluned claim to like the light to moderate stuff but their ability to keep the mast pointing upwards, means they are consistent sailors in windy weather as well.

Harry Pynn & Millie Parsons (2452)
Harry and Millie are a new pairing this year. Both know what it is like to win nationals races and are well fancied this year. They are the lightest pairing mentioned here so watch out for them if it is light and sloppy.

James Stewart & Ruth Johnson (2347)
Ruth won the Lark nationals crewing for Dougal and James is a multi national and Endeavour champion. James is very keen to emulate his crewing successes at the back of the boat so watch out for this pair – especially if it is windy.

Dougal Scott & David Marlow (2492)
Dougal and David are really starting to get it together. Like Chris Fish, Dougal has taken some time to tweak his new ship, but with great boat speed at Weymouth and Felixstowe Dougal is peaking at the right time. Dougal is looking for his 3rd championship title to add to Saundersfoot and Exmouth.

The Dark Horses
Others to watch out for include Howie Enkel and Micky Wright who have been coming on strong over the last 2 seasons. If it is windy Steve Dunn and Simon Cox will feature highly and if it is light Dave Young and Bob Suggitt will be at the front. Smashie Bennett showed great speed at South Staffs and Barnt Green and took a highly deserved open meeting win at Lymington and followed that with a win at the Short Course Champs.

Silver Fleet

Looking at last years National Championships and performance in this and last years Belle Isle trophy there are four clear leaders for this years silver fleet at the nationals.

Dan Smith & Nicola Attwood (2323)
Dan and Nicola showed great form last year in both the nationals and the Belle Isle. This year they have not done so many open meetings but could appear refreshed and ready to go for the nationals.

Nick Marlow & Joanna Marlow (2462)
Nick and Joanna have shown great improvement in the first part of this year but don’t have the track record at the nationals or the open water events. Would do well if conditions in Mounts Bay were flat water and light winds (picture Frensham Pond on a good day!)

Helen Scott & Rachel Rhodes (2484)
Helen has not had so much time on the water with her latest crew Rachel Rhodes but has delivered strong performances at the open water events this year. Helen has shown she can do well at the nationals so could be peaking just right for the championships this year.

Steve Chatten & TBC
Steve has sailed with a number of different crews. He is consistently in the top rankings for the traveller’s trophy but didn’t manage to get the same performance at the nationals (perhaps a weeks drinking is too much even for Steve!)

Other Strong Contenders
Chris Whitehouse led the Belle Isle Silver fleet at the start of the year but is slightly hampered by crewing for one of the gold fleet prospects! Perhaps this is an indicator for the crew’s race.

Nigel Scott and Gill Young would be contenders based on past form if there was enough time in the day to sail and fit in weddings, family, babies etc. The older members of the fleet can vouch for the fact that you do appear to get through this phase eventually.

The top ten also include Chris Holliman and A. Cruttenden, Geoff Sinton and Sara Olliff, Tim Lawrence and Christine Elles-Toner plus Stuart Norris and Louise Norris.

Bronze Fleet

The Nationals are almost upon us and the Bronze Fleet will be there in force battling it out from about half way down the fleet snapping at the heels of the Gold and Silver transoms. So, who will be there and how are will they fair?

Word on the street has it that, amongst others, the following teams will be attending, in no particular order here is the form.

John Crooks & Helen Winwood (2504)
Never far off the pace, this year John will be driving his new boat in its first Nationals. John and Helen have been honing there skills whilst tuning the new ship since April and are currently lying second in the Belle Isle Bronze Fleet so expect them to be there or there abouts at the final curtain.

Rob & Ruth Marlow (2490)
Mother and son combo that works a treat, expect these guys to be battling it out all the way to the end. Rob and Ruth have practiced hard over the year and their skills in the breezy stuff are well honed. These two never give up and have good training from siblings, husband, offspring and/or father.

Katharine Sampson & Alison Dart (2442)

Katharine & Ally showed great form at Weymouth, with good boat speed and fine skills. Katharine’s first nationals as a helm, but has been up at the sharp end with Paul Gardner so knows what the Championship is all about. Ally has also been at the top of the fleet as a crew so expect this pair to be on the pace from day one!

Stuart & Julia Allen (2301)

Their first Nationals! A light weight pair that show good pace in light air. Currently leading the Belle Isle Bronze Fleet standings, but it could be a weather dependent Nationals for these two. Here’s hoping for a nice force 2 (here's hoping for a nice F4 all week! - :op Ed)

Laura Mitchell & Sophie Richards (2208)
Local girls that know the score at the Nationals. Never far off the pace, this pair will always put in a consistent performance. Laura has been crewing for Steve Chatten over the year and will have picked up some good skills.

Jamie & Geoff Mayhew (2413)
A well tuned boat, a good club pedigree and a strong finish in last years Nationals. Can they produce the goods again? Time will tell.

Others to watch
Richard Adams will be battling it out with the best of them. A seasoned campaigner who has got a good track record. Not signed up yet, but Will & Dave Croxford will give most a run for their money. University of Portsmouth came down to practice in Rock and have been training hard ever since, although not sure at what discipline. Always show bouts of student brilliance, the future is theirs for the taking. (Assuming the boats stay in one piece! - Ed)