Contender European Championship at Highcliffe Sailing Club - Overall
by Sarah Desjonqueres on 10 Sep 2016
3-9 September 2016
We went into last day of the European Contender Championships with 6 races out of a possible 10 under our belts hoping to catch up on races lost mid week by running 3, quick turnaround, battles.
The chatter at the Noisy Lobster restaurant the night before revolved around calculating all the arithmetical scoring possibilities needed to get one's hands on the trophy.
The outcome of this beer fuelled conversation was that Simon Mussell needed to add 3 more wins to his tally to undo his dodgy results at the beginning of the week but all this would be worthless if Jesper Neilsen, who had been consistently excellent throughout the Championship, were to manage 3 top 5 placings.
So, Friday morning arrived and all eyes were on the weather forecast which was suggesting even more interesting wind conditions than the day before. The race team launched in 11 knots of wind and it was immediately obvious that although the conditions would still be somewhat frothy, they were much tamer than the day before.
The start time for race 7 had been brought back an hour to 11am. All 3 races were started under a black flag, the first with a heavy committee boat end bias but all 3 saw the fleet get off to a clear start.
The wind had settled at around 15knots and it was still very much Mussell's kind of playground. But for race 7 it was Jörg Schlienkamp who arrived at the windwark mark first leading a well spread procession of boats behind. In fact Schlienkamp managed to fend off Mussell for 2 further legs until the end of the 2nd beat when he was pipped to the windward mark. Mussell then basically never relinquished his lead for the rest of the morning's racing taking the 3 wins he was after.
Nielsen, understanding the odds was trying his damndest to get his top 5 placings sailed all 3 races brilliantly but in the end his 4,6,3 finishes were just not enough to hand him the crown ending his Championship in a highly respectable 2nd place.
Jan Von Der Bank who also raced a superb campaign, ended his last day out on the water with a 2,3,8 earning him 3rd place in the final rankings.
After winning the practice race, Paul Verhallen who seemed to have had a slightly inconsistent Championship but is clearly a windy weather enthusiast pulled it back over the last 2 days posting a 5,2,2 on the last day. This effort gained him a well deserved 4th place in the end.
Highcliffe SC's Gary Langdown, who spent 2 nights at the top of the leaderboard was slightly undone by the conditions of the last 2 days but still managed to post 9,7,13 on day 5 which after such a solid finishes throughout the championship gave him a 5th on which to end his campaign.
But it is to Highcliffe SC's Simon Mussell, who seems to be untouchable in anything over a F3, that we turn. He can now put the European Champion trophy (made with his dad in the garden shed) on the mantle piece alongside the National Champion trophy he earned in July. Taking 5 wins in 2 days he the undoubtable king of the big waves and our new European Contender Champion. Congratulations Simon!
One last note: Marco Ferrari, we did look for your rudder, but to no avail. Hats off to you however for sailing your Contender all the way from the gybe mark, 3 miles back to the beach in huge seas and strong winds with no steering! A remarkable bit of sailing skill!
We hope you enjoyed the week's racing and the roving reporter looks forward to meeting you all again.
|3rd||2507||Jan Von Der Bank||8||3||‑12||‑33||7||3||2||3||8||34|
|61st||2637||Cees de Gruijter||43||46||44||OCS||DNF||(DNC)||DNF||(DNC)||DNC||396|
For further information please refer to www.highcliffesailing.co.uk