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Contender Inland Championship at Rutland Sailing Club

by Martin Frary 20 Oct 21:35 PDT 16-17 October 2021

25 Contender sailors arrived at Rutland for the annual pilgrimage to the 'Big Lake'. It being our UK version of the other Contender bucket list lake venue of Garda. The class is still showing its appetite for travel with entries from Castle Cove in the south west to Loch Ryan in Scotland.

As boats were rigged a definite lack of wind could be seen, perhaps the Rutland Ora would arrive later...

After a short delay, though not long enough for Neil Ferguson to delay consumption of his first can of Guinness, the athletes drifted to the start line, most trying to understand the complexities of a trapezoid course, some realising that is not some form of new leverage device.

Race 1 started in what could be described as suboptimal conditions; the fleet surged towards the windward mark adopting numerous styles of uncomfortable squatting positions... from the optimistic hooked on in the middle, to the resigned chill and relax. Martin Jones led to the windward mark, but unfortunately the earlier mentioned 'trapezoid' effect completely baffled him, handing the lead to Stuart Jones. After a close battle with both Nationals runner-up Graeme Willcox and Martin Frary returning to his first Contender event in 6 years, Stuart took the win.

For Race 2 the wind, though relatively consistent in direction, had now dropped, leading to the chill in the middle position for the majority of the fleet...

Stuart and Graeme continued to lead the fleet showing good all-round speed, but with Rob Smith and David Davis joining the front of the fleet. After what could be described as a 'long one' Stuart again took the win with Graeme in 2nd and Rob in 3rd. Highlight of the race though was the sight of Gary Langdown's upturned hull laying across the middle of the second downwind leg.

At this point the fleet made a collective run for it ashore for samples of real ale and lager. So, in typical form, Stuart led overnight with Graeme in 2nd with Rob and Gary Langdown showing consistency in 3rd and 4th.

Day 2 arrived looking light again, but once competitors arrived on the race course a better 8-12 knots was present, some were even hopeful that the free pumping flag may arrive.

Race 3 commenced with the fleet splitting for both sides of the course with no one fancying the middle route. Again Stuart took the win with Tom Hooton in 2nd showing some of the form that brought him the championship in 2019, with the ever consistent Graeme in 3rd, and Ed Presley finally appearing in 4th.

With 2 races left, Stuart and Graeme continued to show the way with super tight racing throughout the fleet.

Race 4 arrived with slightly more wind, particularly as the rain clouds made an appearance, perhaps the Rutland Ora had arrived. Finally there was enough wind to allow free pumping.

Normal service was maintained with Graeme and Stuart leading the fleet, closely followed by Richard Franks showing excellent speed after being missing in action on Saturday due to gear failure. After a tight battle Graeme finally broke the Jones domination, but with Stuart stealing 2nd at the finish from Richard, the overall win was taken by Stuart with a race to spare.

Going into race 5, despite first and second overall being decided,the battle was still on for third. By the start of Race 5 the rain clouds had arrived bringing with it some decent breeze, with full flat trapezing now on. Simon Mussell finally appeared at the front, leading off the start going upwind at Mussell warp speed, unfortunately the breeze disappeared almost at the same speed and with it Simon's lead. Richard Franks continued his form from race 4 taking the lead from Simon downwind and extending to the finish, followed by Graeme and Stuart, thankfully the Stuart and Graeme winning streak had been broken. Richard probably reflecting on what could have been without issues on Saturday?

So after 5 races Stuart took the overall win closely followed by Graeme. The two of them currently have the extra knot of speed that allows them to get out of trouble when required. Rob Smith took 3rd after a consistent weekend with the returning Martin Frary in 4th. It was also good to see some of the 'newer faces' showing some good speed and with a winter season ahead they should be challenging at the front next year.

Boat-wise it's great to see boats from six months to 26 years old being competitive

This was also the final event of the 2021 Travellers' Series, with Stuart predictably taking the win with Ed Presley in 2nd and Simon Mussell in 3rd.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
12706Stuart JonesDatchet Water SC1112‑35
2695Graeme WillcoxNetley Sailing club223127
32449Rob SmithCastle Cove SC5364‑1418
4646Martin FraryHISC387‑10624
5678Thomas HootonBurton sc14‑2125526
62383David DaviesLoch Ryan SC‑134861028
72708Ed PresleyCastle Cove SC87412‑2631
8716Richard FranksWeston sc‑26‑2653135
92702Chris BoshierThorpe Bay YC6139‑17937
10705James SpikesleyNetley Sailing club‑1716107740
112420Simon MussellHighcliffe19‑22159447
122661Nick CurryWeston sc9‑191781347
132711Duncan WardLTSC‑22171111847
142423Simon DoddsHythe and Saltwood SC1212‑16141149
152729Chris HoweOxford SC‑20513151750
162725Peter SnowdenShoreham SC‑181018131253
172733Neil FergusonYorkshire Dales SC10‑1812161553
182714Martin JonesWilsonian SC7111919‑2656
192484Gary LangdownHighcliffe46‑26262662
20696Tony CookDowns SC11922‑232062
21666Bill HootonBurton sc‑211414181965
222523Liz PotterWest Kirby SC1615‑21201667
23712Rodger WhiteKing George SC152020‑211873
24686Nathan McgoryPoole Yacht Club1323‑24222189
25559Matt Murray‑ DowningBlackwater SC‑2626232626101

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