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Contender Inland Championship at Carsington Sailing Club

by Neil Ferguson on 2 Oct 2016 24-25 September 2016

Sun with a strong Southerly wind forecast set the fleet up for some great Contender sailing for the Inlands at Carsington.

Race 1 got underway in what would be the windiest conditions, gusting 25 knots plus. A ½ mile beat to the far corner, and the full width of the reservoir to play with, created some great chances to gain. Neil Ferguson, getting a great start picking a shift to come in on port, led the fleet around, but with the wind direction the wing mark was well down the shore creating two broad reaches. With enough pressure and the pumping flag up he managed to maintain his lead, losing out downwind but gaining back upwind.

Race 2 saw Stuart Jones pick the shifts and more importantly avoid the holes. A late wind shift and Port bias on the line, caught Tom Hooton out, not getting over the line. With the wind easing Ed Presley and Nick Noble started to come into the fight more with close tacking but Stuart held them off.

The wind eased more in race 3 and saw the whole fleet closing and bunching up. Nick was now getting to grips with the shifts and getting out in front. Stuart's unexpected teabag at the windward mark dropped him to 6th and brought a smile to Neil, but was short lived as Tom powered past downwind into second.

The fleet retired into the clubhouse for beer and curry, all included in the entry fee. Neil found himself leading the Inlands.

The morning found the wind had eased but become steadier with a South Westerly forecast to build. This made the right side narrow, but with skilful tacking gains could be made. A slightly shorter beat meant two nice tight Contender reaches using the full width to get the heart racing.

The pressure was on Neil in race 4 with a tea-bagging at the start. Stuart, now showing his skill, led the pack for 5 laps, Ed, Nick and Tony Brookes all tried to reign him in with positions swapping every lap.

Race 5 got underway with Neil spotting a sag in the line to lead the fleet away and round the top mark. With the wind increasing now, Neil held Stuart off until the bottom mark to be confronted with Hoots and the N flag - race abandoned due to the club fleet racing officer using the same top mark as a wing mark passing to starboard, creating a high risk of head-on collisions. The race officer showed his pedigree with a fast re-lay of marks and quick turnaround.

Race 5 Take 2 again saw Neil tight on the line to the sound of a hoot, but looked around to see Stuart peeling off at the committee boat. He had tried for a closing gap but set off too fast and shot straight through. A quick gybe back round its stern still saw him 3rd at the top mark. The beat was becoming a task of spotting the pressure and with the whole fleet flat wiring, often om "Garda" style tacking up the shore, the left paid on the next lap. The reaches were now full on and down to the leeward mark was just broad enough to ride some great gusts on the waves it was creating.

Race 6 saw the wind increasing again. It was still open to all with Stuart needing to keep ahead. As usual he found the path no one else saw, to take his 3rd win of the day leaving Ed, Nick and Neil trying to work out who was ahead. With 1 point between them all on countback, Ed took second from Nick.

Huge thanks to Carsington SC for staging an excellent event. Fast turnarounds, well organised close racing and great courses made for superb sailing. Fantastic facilities, hospitality and food meant the Contender fleet headed home with smiles and aching limbs. Looking forward to Halifax the highest sailing club in the UK, in two weeks time.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st2465Stuart JonesDatchett Water41‑61118
2nd2572Ed PresleyCotswold SC22‑422412
3rd2618Nick NoblePortishead Y & SC3‑4134213
4th2422N FergusonYorkshire Dales SC133‑53313
5th678Thomas HootonRYA56265(DNF)24
6th2496Tony BrooksOxford6574‑9527
7th2477Chris HoweOxford8‑9596634
8th666Bill HootonBurton SC77887(DNC)37
9th697Malcolm HallCarsington SC‑98978739
10th674Craig HellonBurton SC‑1110101010848
11th2599Tony CookDowns SC1011(RET)1111DNF55

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