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Blaze National Championships Runners and Riders

by Ben Harden 1 Jun 2021 08:35 PDT 11-13 June 2021
Blaze Inlands at Chase © Peter Mackin /

Entry for the Blaze Nationals is about to hit an all-time high and with only one weekend left before the fleet takes to the big open waters of Torbay at Paignton Sailing Club we thought it would be great to establish "who to put your money on".

Eden "last minute" Hyland - Current and two-time National Champion who will no doubt be heading up the fleet at some point in the regatta, he will probably leave it till the last minute though.

Nick "The Ripper" Ripley - 2nd at the 2019 National's and this year competing from his home club. Nick shows plenty of potential to put the youngsters to shame.

Mark "The Governor" Hartley - National Champion in a variety of classes and the builder of the Mk4 Blaze. Mark's ability can't be questioned but it's been a while since he's been in a Blaze...

Ben "Hard'n Fast" Harden - Runner-up at his first Nationals in 2018 and winner of all regional champs in 2020 but can he string it together for the Nationals or will Eden lead him astray in the evening?

Malcolm "Malcy" Hutching - You can't teach an old dog new tricks and this one doesn't need to learn any. Always pushing the front of the fleet and regularly leading, until a capsize or poor eyesight gets the better of him.

Ben "You OK?" Pickering - 3-time Inland's winner, 2014 National champ and the youngest entry. Ben has more recently been found fighting it out at the front of the OK fleet so he will have no problem showing us all how to get super technical with our new sail then.

Alexandra "Where's Willy?" Porteous - She may be the only women entered for the Nationals, but she will certainly prove a good challenge for most of the fleet on the water and in the bar.

Nic "Tolly" Tolhurst - A newcomer to the fleet who's showing real potential already. 3rd on countback at the recent Southern Championships but more importantly lead instigator of ordering too much beer at last orders.

Mike "Mr Mk3" Lyons - The man who knows everything there is to know about the Blaze and winner of numerous opens and Inland championships. Ironically, Mike is now rocking a new Hartley Mk4, is there a new lease of life in the old boy yet?

Chris "Ali Mast" Saunders - Its known that Chris prefers the Ali rig and he certainly puts it to good use by regularly finishing in the top 5 at most events. With a short break from the fleet, will he come back stronger than ever?

Hugh "The King" Kingdon - Our trusted treasurer. Hugh may count the class beans, but it certainly doesn't seem to slow him down carrying around all our money. He regularly finishes top 5 at the Nationals, could this be the year?

Richard "Boating" Botting - He's steered the mighty Blaze class association to new heights, but can he steer his own blaze to the front of the fleet?

Paul "The Godfather" Taylor - The oldest Blazer to attend a Nationals. Will three days of Blazing get the better of him?

We could go on, but with 69 entries (at time of writing) there's too many to mention.

If you are new to the Blaze fleet, a seasoned Blazer or just looking for a new class to join, then fear not there's still time to find a boat and get entered. Entry closes at midnight on the 4th, so if you haven't already, get involved. There're fun socials planned and plenty of prizes up for grabs.

Entry found on the Blaze website at

Event Sponsors: Hartley Boats, Allen, Rooster, The Old Salt Loft, ADM Sails.

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