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Contender Worlds 2011 a success

by Duncan Ellis on 29 Jul 2011
2011 Int Contender Worlds, Weymouth, England fotoboat.com fotoboat.com
The 2011 Contender Worlds, over the week of the 18th to 22nd July, attracted a near record entry of 144 sailors from 12 countries to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

With a good breeze forecast for the start of the week and most entrants having spent 3 days practising at the British Nationals the week before, the lively practice race only attracted about 20 boats in the harbour. It was won by local Nick Grace.

As forecast day 1 dawned with 30 knots across the harbour, so all racing was postponed until 1pm. As the fleet headed out into the bay for the first of the 2 races the wind had moderated and become patchy with a variable strength up to force 3.

The first three days consisted of a round robin qualification series with 4 fleets in two flights. The first flight was won by John Browett with Ben Holden and Graham Scott following up. An over the moon, Neil Ferguson won the second followed by Soren Andreasen and Andrea Bonezzi in third.

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The second round of heats saw Christoph Homeier win with Stuart Jones and Tim Holden next. Scott led the way in the other flight. Jesper Nielsen followed in second and Bjarke Johnsen in third. At the end of day one, Wavelength sail maker Graham Scott led.

As the forecast had now moderated day 2 saw the sailors hit the water at 9.30am for seven hours on the water. The wind was light and fickle and the weather cold and wet, more like autumn sailing, but the day's full 2 race schedule was completed.

Johnsen won the first flight with Jones in close attendance. These two were followed at some distance by the pack which was lead home by Stacey Bray. The second flight was won by Ben McGrane with David Bate and Markus Maisenbacher next.

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The second set of heats were amazingly also won by the same two helms. Homeier and Scott this time followed Johnsen. McGrane was chased by Andreasen and Max Billerbeck. A special mention should go to Richard Buttner who led for the majority of the race and finishing sixth. The new leader at the end of day 2 was Bjarke Johnsen.

On day 3 the wind didn't materialize until the afternoon leading to the racing being held in Portland Harbour where it was strongest. Only one race was completed on the final day of qualifying.

In the first flight, with the right paying, Andreasen took line honours followed by Luca Bonezzi and Mike Murley. Scott got to the windward mark first, in the second flight and led throughout followed by Maisenbacher and Alex Knight.

This brought the end of the qualification series. The fleets were then divided into Gold and Silver. Bjarke Johnsen still led overall.

The day 4 forecast was for light winds so Frank Newton, the race officer, got the fleet out early in Portland Harbour, once more, to take advantage of the early gradient breeze. What breeze there was had many shifts and holes in it leading to a tricky days racing.

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The first gold fleet race was won by Andreasen followed by Johnsen and Andrea Bonezzi. The silver fleet was won by Rik Thorborg followed by Stuart Backhouse and Malcolm Hall.

Following the first round of races the fleet returned for lunch as the wind had disappeared completely. A weak sea breeze did set in the afternoon allowing for one further race and even some trapesing.

The second gold race was narrowly won by Johnsen from Scott and Homier. Scott taking several places on the last beat after having been bumped into on the run by Andreasen. Andreasen did his costly turns. Rik Thorborg again won the silver fleet followed by Jeremy Blades and Backhouse.

Unfortunately that was it, as despite going afloat on the last day the wind wouldn't play it's part and racing was eventually abandoned.

This left Bjarke Johnsen as the new and deserving World Champion on count back from Graham Scott.

At the prize giving dinner the competitors were left to reflect that although the wind and weather could have been better the racing was close and competitive and the socials and food were great. The new World Champion, just prior to an evening swim, thanked the many that helped to run the event and all of the sponsors.

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Gold Fleet Country Points
1st - Bjarke Johnsen DEN 15
2nd - Graham Scott GBR 15
3rd - Soren Andreasen DEN 21
4th - Christoph Homier GER 24
5th - Stuart Jones GBR 25
6th - Andrea Bonezzi ITA 28
7th - Ben McGrane GBR 33

Veteran - Peter Dives GBR
Lady - Jacqueline Ruefenacht SUI
Youth - Iain Horlock GBR

Silver Fleet

1st - Stuart Backhouse GBR
2nd - Rik Thorborg NED
3rd - Iain Horlock GBR

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Thanks to fotoboat.com for the images.
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