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Highfield Boats - SW - LEADERBOARD

Contender World Championships at Lake Macquarie, Australia - Overall

by Ed Presley 9 Feb 2014 13:01 PST 19-25 January 2014

Sixty-eight boats made the journey to Belmont 16ft club on the shore of Lake Macquarrie to compete for the 2014 Contender World Championships. This championship has been greatly anticipated after the success and excitement of the 2013 worlds at Como and once again the fleet that arrived contained the best Contender sailors in the world with one exception; current champion Soren Dulong Andreason would not compete meaning that a new world champion would be crowned. In his place the Australian fleet had brought a great number of sailors of real class, from new faces to the world scene to ex World and National Champions returning to the fleet.

The form guide pointed to GBRs Simon Mussell who narrowly lost out to Andreason in 2013. With the expected 18-25 knots Si would fly, but the Australian fleet boasts arguably more big breeze experts. In 2010 Queenslander Matt Mulder proved that he has a different gear in the 20+ knots zone but with no international presents since, the face off would be fascinating. Ex world champ Jono Neate's superb boat handling skills would keep him out front and the blistering downwind pace of Christoph Homier of Germany would also make him a threat. Other Major players include multiple World Champion Andrea Bonezzi who loves the breeze and 2012 World Champion Antonio Lambertini who would be dangerous if the conditions lighten. The Pre world regatta (and Aussie Nationals) were ably won by Mark Bulka who has made huge advances through the Contender fleet in a short time culminating with a 3rd in 2013, these escalating results made Mark the favourite on his home waters.

The Pre Worlds were held in Perfect conditions of 25 knots and 30 degrees and left more questions than answers with many of the top boys keeping their powder dry or suffering gear failure. A slick measurement left time on shore for the fleet to wildly speculate and fiddle with boats. When day one arrived an overcast sky kept the sea breeze from kicking in and resulted in lower winds, the scene could scarcely look more like a spring day on the south coast. Despite this everyone was keen to get going which was proven by the obligatory Contender restarts.

Day 1. Race one belonged to young Brit Tommy Hooton who showed massive confidence to lead the race from start to finish to win his first Worlds race, in 8-10 knots of breeze that he loves. He even took time to lee bow ex World Champion Jono Neate into 2nd place at the finish; ballsy move. Mark Bulka showed his versatility by coming in 3rd. The second race allowed mark to throw down another warning by winning with Jono following and Dan Kohlman showing the strength of Aussie depth by rounding off the top 3.

The first day had removed the form guide as the expected wind had mixed up the order from the off, even so Mark Bulka and Jono Neate looked to be perfectly happy with the adjustment. Day 2 offered more wind at the leeward end but withering back to 10 knots at the top making the racing close with lots of place changing. The experience of Andrea Bonezzi and Simon Mussell were able use this fickle wind to take first and second in the first race of the day with Jono 3rd, keeping his fight alive by gaining ground on Mark who finished 6th. Jono's gains would be blown away in the 2nd race as 4 separate incidents of gear failure would send him in for and early bath. This bad luck was made worse by the metronomic consistently of Mark Bulka who capitalised to take the bullet. 2nd and 3rd went to the contrasting styles of Matt Mulder and Christoph Homier who were enjoying the building breeze. Matt showing that he can sail lower and faster upwind than anyone out there, and Christoph using his aerobic fitness to be in a different gear downwind.

Day 3 would prove to be the lightest yet with race one starting in solid trapezeing weather off the line but dropping to 8 knots after the fleet made the windward mark. The day belonged to Antonio Lambertini with double wins and making it look easy with Andrea Bonezzi, Christoph Homier keeping European dreams alive with 2nds. Only top junior Harry Morton got Australia into the medals with a third. This day had stirred the pot as Mark Bulka and Jono Neate had allowed the rest to catch up. Antonio Lambertini now jumped to 3rd and Christoph Homier not far behind.

The big talk at the bar centred on the fact that the wind forecast for the final two would be big, followed by Massive. Big for day 4 would allow the fleet to get 3 races done so that if day 5 turned ugly there would only be one race to lose. Either way the next races would give a different mix of hopefuls.

Day 4 delivered a nice 15 knots + all day and gave up some glorious racing, good reaches and lots of upwind speed. The first man to handle the situation was Mark Bulka who battled with Jono Neate all the way round the course to prove that these two where good in all conditions. This was the same situation in the 2nd even breezier race with one difference; Matt Mulder annihilated the fleet with a ridiculous show of upwind speed leading Mark Bulka to comment that "Bob Miller never design the boat to be able to go that fast uphill". Mark was now starting to eek out a few point s lead over Jono and these two were pulling away. 3rd place was looking like a battle between Homier and Mulder as Lambertini suffered in the heavier winds. The RO decided to stick in a 3rd race as everyone was clearly enjoying it. The wind dropped back to 15 knots and Jono Neate did everything he needed to give himself a chance at the title by winning with Mark Bulka capsizing in the prestart and still managing to get back to 5th, only obstructed by the not too shaby trio of Bonezzi, Homier and Mulder.

This result set up a superb final day with Jono now 2 points ahead of Mark. The rest of the fleet just hoped the conditions allowed us to go out and witness this 1 race showdown between the two standout talents of the Championships.

Day 5 started off hot with not much breeze but the locals kept all sailors in check by predicting that the direction and sea breeze would combine to make it gnarly. They were right; by launch time 30 knots of breeze had settled in with a confused wave pattern to help things a bit. The race got away on the first attempt but the reality of a big fleet sailing in this became very real soon after with the first work littered with big bear away ducks, fluffed tacks and plenty of capsizes. This sort of nonsense did not affect the leaders; Brett Holly showed how he prefers rancid condition by beating Matt Mulder to the windward, Matt commented that even he was just all over the place whilst Brett looked totally serene. Just behind these were Mark and Jono, nip and tuck down the first fairly broad reach with Andrea Bonezzi and Simon Mussell with them to keep it interesting. Jono capsized at the gybe mark allowing Mark to get a up into 2nd behind Matt Mulder. Jono battled back past Bonezzi and Mussell to get back up to Bulka. He managed to over haul him up the final beat coming 2nd behind Matt Mulder who had clinched 3rd overall from Homier with this performance.

So it seemed that Jono Neate had sailed well to take his 2nd Worlds title but the close sailing between him and Mark Bulka had resulted in a protest to be lodged. Neate was the windward boat. Contact was claimed between the end of Neate's boom and Bulka's back. Bulka won the protest with a member of the jury having witnessed the incident. This result gave the World title to Mark Bulka with Jono in second. The Female World Champion is Jacqueline Ruefenach, from Switzerland who retained her title. The Junior World Champion is Harry Morton from NSW, Harry was 26th, Masters (over 50) Phillip Evans from Queensland who came 10th overall, Grandmaster (over 60) Joachim Harpprecht from Germany, coming 15th overall.

At the Championship dinner Mark thanked Jono for the battle they had had all week and conceded that he would have preferred to win it on the water. Mark had been in superb form all week and it had become very difficult to part the two front runners. He is a deserving Champion and once again the standard at the front of the fleet has been raised by his performance.

The standard of sailing in the fleet is improving all the time. This year Australia showed their strength as they claim the top 3 places, everyone commented on how difficult it has become to crack the top ten with winners of the past having more competition than ever. This year was the first win for a plastic epoxy boat with the top ten split between wood and epoxy 50/50.

The event was beautifully run by the Aussie Contender Association and Belmont 16's. The numbers for an Australian Worlds have risen from 2010 and the class appears to be getting stronger in Oz as well as Europe all the time. Next up is the European championships to be held at Kuhlungsborn in Germany,

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10Pts
1AUS2571BALANCEMark Bulka31[6]1[8]6125221
2AUS2323AUS2323Jono Neate223[68F]48231[68Q]25
3AUS2408CHEWBACCAMatthew Mulder[30]64210[34]614134
4GER551SCHROEDERChristoph Homeier[17]753[17]2343835
5AUS2575KNOTASHADaniel Kohlman[26]3[36]77512106757
6ITA2561TALEA 2013Antonio Lambertini105[14]611141110[16]58
7ITA11RONSTANAndrea Bonezzi[24]1915219[68F]72358
8AUS2468BELLA ANNAGeoffrey Fisher547[68F]5[38]82011666
9GBR2420CARRIESimon Mussell[37]212816[23]5147477
10AUS1753STACEYPhillip Evans9[28]10412[30]131991086
11NED9VERHALLENPaul Verhallen[15]151114[24]1199121293
12AUS2434STEALTHMichael Brown12168[68O]111671218[20]100
13GBR2315HOLDENBen Holden28271510[43][29]45811108
14ITA40BONEZZILuca Bonezzi119[68F]1525719[28]1414114
15GER2555FAJRANTJoachim Harpprecht412161315323[35][39]32118
16NED2371HEYNENRene Heynen13119[24]20101521[22]19118
17NED2401WESTERMANWinfred Westerman68191619431[42][38]18121
18GBR2572STORMTROOPEREd Presley[32]2518176[41]10161915126
19AUS2530COOKClay Cook[68B]182721[29]12118209126
20AUS2237BLACK TIESimon Barwood2524[68O]9212016616[26]137
21AUS2263CHI CHI CHARLI B'INSRichard Batten18101329[33][68R]25241513147
22AUS2421MORTENSEN SAILSJosh Mortensen16332211[39][35]18152817160
23GBR678WILLY DO ITTommy Hooton11317203017[40]37[44]31166
24AUS2486HITHER & YONDavid Leask[68B]2623[68O]143217171324166
25GBR2522RAPTORChris Boshier8232822.59[36]282526[46N]169.5
26AUS2566ATB MORTONHarry Morton2132[68F][68C]3929272427172
27AUS2320SLAMMERChristopher Jones731[37.5]18261530[36]3023180
28NED2RISTRETTOMark Thorborg2722252618N28[37][34]2133200
29NED3LOCTUDEALBart Thorborg31511212182226[68C][68C]30202
30AUS2204DEEPER WATERJeff Owen[47][40]2630272421313125215
31AUS2577PARISPaul Cohen20[41N]20252231323237[68F]219
32AUS2565CLOUD CARBrett Holly345021[68C][68C]68C2413175232
33AUS1752FLIPPERJohn Lindholm44[47N]3428[56]3922222322234
34AUS2437MAINTAIN THE RAGEScott Munro38[45]242736[44]27303421237
35AUS2411CRUISINGRoss Brennan14292922.5[45]4234[43]4028238.5
36ITA1111VALIANTEmilio Betta[68B][48]3519351836333538249
37AUS2548HBJonathon Vandervoort4514323423134346[47][68F]250
38AUS2179I'M IN A MEETINGRoger Grimes233444[68F]3133353927[68F]266
39GBR712FOXY LADYRodger White22174136321449[68C][68C]68F279
40GBR666PRINCE OF DARKNESSBill Hooton3339313240254138[45][68F]279
41AUS2521BEAKAdam Brett42[47]393542[45]39232936285
42ITA20ASCIUGATIAntonio Martini35304039412142[47][43]39287
43AUS2136RIVA DERCIIan Bowman413737.531282744[52]48[68F]293.5
44AUS2349OUTRAGEOUS 2Stephen Ianna[51]4630423740[48]293337294
45AUS2281SMOKE ON THE WATERScott McInerney50[68F]424138[68F]20183268F309
46AUS2443HUPChristopher McDonald2943493734264749[68C][68F]314
47AUS2142TAKE IT EAZIERIan Martin[53][49N]4533494633404234322
48NZL1329FRANTICDavid Harrison46354738[51][55]46484143344
49AUS2562ORCASean Managh[68F][68F]5068F575338262529346
50AUS2208NAUTI BOUYPatrick Moore[55]5343[68F]445045413635347
51AUS2567THE BLACK PEARLGlenn Dalton48[52]46434849[53]504642372
52UAE1641RUEFENACHTJacqueline Ruefenach36384845463757[68C][68C]68F375
53GBR2318OLD DOGAlan Mollatt4041514047435856[68C][68C]376
54AUS2196BATTLESHIPAndrew Ianna52[68R]52445047564549[68C]395
55AUS2250FOR SALEJohn McLean[59]54534853545144[68F]40397
56AUS1583FLY BY WIREAndrew Butler4349[57]465248555550[68F]398
57AUS231RONNIES BOATRobert Stenta[58]57[68F]47555750535144414
58AUS230THE BREAKERJames Meggison54[59]55515856545452[68F]434
59AUS2517DUTCHIEJames Vandervoort192058[68F][68C]68C68C68C68C68C437
60AUS265BULLET TRAINBryce Reid[68F][68C]544968F68C52515368C463
61AUS1328GAYLEStephen Brierly566056525452[68F][68F]68C68F466
62GER2622TIMES LIKE THESEConny Schillo4956[68F][68C]64N516068C68C68C484
63AUS1773TURTLEAdrian Kiely57585950[68C][68C]68C68C68C68C496
64AUS2518THE TERRARIan Henderson3955[68F][68C]68C68C68C68C68C68F502
65AUS2444RONALDDarren Nicholson[68F][68C]3368C68C68C68C68C68C68C509
66AUS3LIMITLESSThomas Young[68F]66N65N[68C]68F68C5968F68C68F530
67AUS2542BLACK CAVIARJohn Fisher[68B][68B]65N68C68C68C68C68C68C68C541

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