Written by Tommy Darling
We are less than two weeks away from the RS200 Noble Marine Rooster National Championships hosted by Hayling Island Sailing Club. More than 175 boats will line up for the first race on Sunday 21st August. As always, this year’s fleet has quality as well as quantity. It’s time to explore who will likely be battling it out at the sharp end of the fleet. For no other reason than it’s the buddy group theme, I have likened our runners and riders to London modes of transport, so bear with me as this was a stretch…
Arran Holman & Haydn Sewell – The District Line
After finishing a very close 2nd last year, Arran Holman will be most people’s pick to take the win at HISC. Like my favourite Tube line, he goes the right way (from my flat to the office), and keeps it cool under pressure (the District Line has AC).
Hamish Walker & Emma Clarke – London Bus
An absolute staple at the front of the 200 fleet. Like London without a red double-decker, the Nationals wouldn’t look the same without these two. 3rd last year, can they leapfrog Arran for the win?
Ian Martin & Chris Catt – Boris Bikes
The quickest way to navigate London is to jump on a Boris Bike and cycle through the traffic. The quickest way to navigate this year’s racecourse will be to follow the winner of the last Nationals held on Hayling waters. Ian Martin won in 2014 and is on fine form with crew, Chris, after winning the Summer Champs back in July.
Elliot Hansen & Martin Wrigley – Bolt
London already has Uber, and I can’t see how Bolt is any different. The 200 fleet already has James Peters, our resident British Sailing Team professional that turns up and wins all the time (although he’s missing this year). Now, we have Tokyo Olympian, Elliot, and Paris 470 hopeful, Martin, pairing up to combine their hundreds of sailing & gym hours. Will they embarrass us mere amateurs?
Tom Morris & James Crossley – Black Cab
Tom Morris, like a Black Cab driver, is an expert on home turf and always knows where to go. He came 3rd at the previous biggest 200 Nationals in 2011 proving he can navigate traffic. Having just won just won the RS800 Nationals, could he do the double?
Karen Oldale & Jo Hewitson – Hammersmith & City Line
After an impressive 3rd at the RS Games just a few weeks ago, Karen & Jo are arriving at Hayling on top form. 1st ladies team in 2019, they look favourites to reclaim the trophy this year. As my pick for top ladies, they are obviously the Hammersmith & City because it is pink on the map.
Julia Staite & Leo Wilkinson – Elizabeth Line
The Youth Trophy is always hotly contested in the 200 class. This year, we have some serious pedigree from the youth pathway classes who will be looking to come out on top on the water and at the Nationals legendary parties. 29er Youth Worlds silver medallist, Leo Wilkinson is teaming up with 470 sailor Julia Staite and will be tough to beat. They will be chased by more 29er talent, Charlie Gran, who medalled at the Europeans earlier this summer.
Anyone could prove to be the master of a fleet this size, it really will be an event no one can truly prepare for. I hope everyone attending is prepared for hectic starts, hectic mark rounding’s and hectic parties!