Sun (Maybe), Sea (Waves definitely), Sand(Lots of it) and over 200 Competitors head to Tenby for the Volvo Noble Marine RS200 National Championships.
The excitement is palpable as teams gear up for the 100+ strong RS200 National Championships, hosted by the fabulous Tenby SC. Competition will be as fierce as always both on the water and on the social scene, with a great racing venue and epic evenings planned.
With less than two weeks to go, a full entry list and more asking to squeeze in, the Volvo Noble Marine RS200 National Championships are set to be one of the best Nationals in the country yet again. There are frankly too many teams with a shot of winning the title to sift through, but we have given it a shot (the top twenty could yet again be pretty close):
- Matt Mee/Emma Norris – The power and focus to win is strong in this couple. Courageous but courteous, will we see the former National Champions regain their title? They remain the on form team and will head West as favourites.
- The Flambé Bullets – Eurocup champions Hamish Walker and Emma Hivey, as well as fellow podium teams Maria Stanley/Rob Henderson and Ben Palmer/Amy Seabright offer fierce competition for the Championships having had some cheeky practice (and many cocktails) in sunny Italy!
- Tom/Lucy Hewitson – Both National Champions in their own rights, will this fantastic father and daughter combo bring home the title once again?
- Penny Clark and Jo Hewitson – Not to be outdone by her daughter, legendary crew Jo Hewitson has teamed up with former RS200 sailor, Olympian and now Olympic coach Penny Clark. Stepping into the boat together for the first time at Parkstone, these two gave the fleet something to think about with a podium finish – rumour has it there may even have been some practicing since.
- The Hayling Massive and Itchenor Crowd: – With the largest number of entries from two close sailing clubs, the rivalry between these two Chichester Harbour clubs will be fierce:
- Dicken Maclean/Hannah Young – This glamorous pair are RS200 veterans, consistently challenging for the podium, 6th last year and are especially good in the breeze.
- Arthur/Mary Henderson – An excellent brother and sister team with oodles of talent. These two finished 15th at Mount’s Bay, ending the regatta with 3 top tens on the last day, will they build on this at Tenby?
- Ed Whitehead/Millie Alcock are back in a boat together. Lightweight and astute, will this dashing duo, already racking up a 2nd at Parkstone and a battle with Matt and Emma to boot, make the podium this year?
- Johnny/Sarah McGovern – Both resourceful and excellent at assessing a race course, this North Wales coaching couple will be looking to win the Championship title in Wales and build on their 10th last year.
- Jack Holden/Holly Scott – Jack (“fresh” from the RS400 Nationals) and super crew Holly Scott are a duo to contend with, as long as the sweet shop in Tenby is well stocked with Percy Pigs and Arthur doesn’t get there first!
- Nikki Birrell/“Kate” – Double Paralympic medallist and a contender for nicest guy on the water (some achievement in this fleet), one would be mad to bet against this team.
- Dave Jessop/Sophie Mear – Frighteningly quick upwind, just keep an eye out for them at the spreader mark. SE Circuit leaders and 9th overall last year.
- The Merlin Rocketeers – Their motives for coming along are unknown. Some say they are after big fleet close tactical, asymmetric experience, while others reckon they are here to take notes on how to pull off a great social… Anyway:
- Olly Turner/Rheanna Pavey – Olly brings Championship winning pedigree, a race win at Salcombe Week and considerable volume to the party. Sailing with Rheanna, an experienced 200 sailor, fighting fit from the Laser Worlds, will only serve his cause.
- Alex Warren (Former Salcombe Week winner)/Caroline Croft will certainly be looking forward to their sabbatical in the 2s.
- Becka Jones will be teaming up with former Laser squaddie Matt Reid and will be one to watch. Matt sails almost 7 days a week, says it all…
- The Youth competitors are a force to be reckoned with many having spent the summer competing across multiple classes and practising their partying at Fed Week. To name just a few:
- Robbie King/Marcus Tressler – Stepping back into the RS200 from the 420. These two young sailors were 7th at the Worlds in Auckland and will look to shake things up.
- Tom/Charlie Darling – Pedigree alert! 29er Youth World Championship winners, RS Feva National champions between them and relatively new to the RS200 fleet. This brother and sister team will be quick and one to watch.
- Rory Odell/Josh Bonsey- Another RS Feva pairing making the jump. With solid RS Feva and Optimist results, can this pair make a challenge for the win in the RS200?
Top Club contenders:
The top three boats from each sailing club will compete for the coveted Volvo Noble Marine RS200 Nationals Top Club. Strong entries have been placed by Parkstone SC, HISC and Itchenor, with Red Wharf Bay looking possible too.
It is 10 years since the RS200s were last at the beautiful Tenby SC, where fantastic waves and great breeze prevailed for the week. This super friendly club is set to welcome the RS200s back for another brilliant week of sea sailing, in a stunning venue (the writer may be biased coming from Wales..) and who knows maybe challenge the next generation of Olympic hopefuls – Luke Patience and Hannah Mills were both at the 2007 Tenby Nationals and the entry list this year certainly has some talented youth sailors too.
See you there! If you’ve missed out this year, make sure you get the date in the diary as next year will be even bigger at the RS GAMES.
Emma Hivey, with thanks to Rob Henderson