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Contender Travellers Trophy: the story so far

by Tony Brooks 14 Oct 2016 19:30 BST 22-23 October 2016
Contenders at Burton © Neil Rabbitts

With the weather getting colder, the trees autumnal colours now making a glorious showing and the imminent end of British summer time, this can only mean one thing, the Contenders annual trip to the water of Rutland for the finale of the Travellers Trophy. This year we have four athletes at their physical and mental peak contesting this much coveted top spot.

The 2016 contender season started with a light wind affair at Burton Sailing club back in March with a small but happy fleet taking to the water, this one was won by Tony (where did it all go wrong) Brooks with Oxford team mate Chris Howe second. Oxford Sailing club was the venue for the 2nd of the series, this was the first showing in 2016 of the now legendary team Nob-Tag with Nick (Nob) getting the better of his team mate leaving Carl (Tag) with the task of mixing fact and fiction for the write up of the event for coming 4th.

After Oxford there was a short break in the travellers series as some of the UK fleet headed out to Monterey Bay on the west coast of America for the Contender word championships, with a couple of Ausies taking the top 2 spots, it was down to Simon Mussell to be top Brit in 3rd. Now back to the important stuff, Poole Yacht Club next, with Graham Scott showing the way round and being victorious at this event, Nob was once again 3rd pushing his team mate into 4th with all of his toys now well and truly out of the pram Tag persuaded Mike Murley to provide the write up on this occasion, bribed with some beers for his trouble. Eastbourne next and Tag was not going to settle for anything less than a win, discarding a 2nd in the process. With Nob in 3rd, happiness seemed to be restored in the Nob-Tag camp.

The Contender fleet now travelled down to the far south west to Restronguet, with both members of team Nob-Tag getting in some early practice the day before now ably assisted by a "just as surprised as the rest of us" team coach in the form of Graham Scott. With Grahams coaching over he went on to win the event comfortably leaving Nob and Tag to once again fighting for the 4th place write up. Tag, once again was left with pen in hand, this time winning a prize for his literary talents.

Downs Sailing club next, with a new winner at this event in the form of Tom Hooton. Then along came Weston Sailing Club with the largest turnout of the year so far. Weston started with a very windy Saturday and only 4 contenders braved the conditions with 3 boats finishing consisting of team Nob-Tag and Stuart Jones. Three races were sailed on the Sunday with a full turnout and after a bit of confusion with regards to how many discards, it was Simon Mussell on top. Once again team Nob-Tag was fighting over 4th place and on equal points this one was decided on count back.

After a fantastic European championship held at Highcliffe Sailing Club and late in September it were back up north to the picturesque waters of Carsington for an inland championship, to be won by Stuart (look out for the shallow bit) Jones. With Tag unable to make this event, Nob settled for 3rd with Neil Ferguson taking up the pen. Staying up north in the land of flat caps and Whippets, Halifax was the penultimate event of the season and yet another winner, Rodger White showing a consistent set of results with Tom Hooton 2nd. With no showing of team Nob-Tag, the Travellers Trophy is now to be contested at the last event of the season, Rutland Water Sailing Club. 4 competitors are in with a shout including both members of the Nob-Tag team.

Nick (Nob) Noble is the present leader with 285 points and having already attended the required 6 events all with high scores has a potential 289 point if he wins at Rutland.

Tom (Hoo the younger) Hooton is holding second place just 2 points down from Nick but with a higher discard could also end on 289 points from a win.

Carl (Tag) Tagoe is in a strong position, although in 5th place at present, he has only sailed 5 events so points mean prizes he too could end up with 289 points if he can win the event.

Mike (Mur) Murley lying in 6th place had an outside chance of a win, also having only attending 5 events so far but would need to win the event with Nick not in the top five and Carl and Tom outside the top 4. Sadly for Mike 2016 is not to be due to prior arrangements.

This is a not to be missed event, so please come along to Rutland Water Sailing club on the 22nd/23rd October. Who knows you could even be instrumental in giving one of the top 4 a helping hand or something to moan about.