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Contender Open at Rutland Sailing Club

by Ed Presley 29 Oct 2016 15:30 BST 22-23 October 2016
Contender Europeans at Highcliffe day 2 © Sarah Desjonqueres

As the final event in the calendar, the annual trip to Rutland had to pack a lot in. Firstly it was the culmination of the travellers trophy and 3 people could reasonably win it, least likely but still willing to give it crack is young Thomas Hooton who can be lightning when he feels in the mood but he had to beat both halves of the Tagoe/Noble axis of terror, these two are training partners, colleagues and friends off the water and seemingly conducting their own America's Cup on it.

This event was the first chance for the fleet to race against the top 2 Brits at the Europeans; Simon Mussell and Gary Langdown who both prepared impeccably by turning up at Rutland with 45 minutes to go to the start and stated that they were really big event sailors who might find this open meeting malarkey difficult to swallow; Whatever that means? I think what they meant was that this is the natural hunting ground of Pond shark Stuart Jones and although he will insist that he not on form, no one believes him so he was the man to beat.

The wind ranged from 7 to 13 Knot for the first days racing and although the PRO promised to let us pump there was no flag to be seen and everyone pretended to be good.

After the first beat Nick Noble rounded first with Mr Mussell just behind. Gary Langdown swiftly made progress into 2nd with excellent and completely legal technique in the reaches, he was well on his way to reeling in Noble but a quick dip knocked him back down the pack leaving Nick to finish well ahead with Ed Presley coming through to 2nd.

Race 2 led to even more calamity for Langdown. Again in 2nd, racing hard with Mussell and Presley, a clean tack on to Starboard on one of the many signposted shifts on the course put him into the stream of Ospreys surfing downwind, bang! An Osprey T-bones Langdown and the two are inseparable for an extensive chunk of time. On hearing the crunch and seeing the scramble, Gary's club mate Si Mussell dropped out of the racing to check that his buddy is in one piece. This fracas had given Stuart Jones an unassailable lead, but after the heroic intervention Simon was able to work his way back up to 2nd; What a guy. Incidentally Gary was able to sail away with minimal damage but his race was over.

The final race of the day became another Jones benefit although chased initially by Presley, Ed was caught by the pack as Mussell led them to the until now unflavoured side of the run to huge gains and then he took 2nd by picking the right end of the line to finish followed credibly by Carl Tagoe who was desperately trying to put places between himself and Nick Noble to give himself a chance at the travellers crown.

Day 1 done and the Contender gentlemen rejoice with beer and curry.

Day 2 looked to be all about Stuart Jones as the wind got shiftier and unreliable just the sort nonsense he likes, but this dark day was going to be owned by the Noble and Tagoe show as they sparred for places as the discards come in.

First blood goes to Carl T as he gets in a handy 2rd behind Jones (Naturally) and fought manfully with club mate Tony Brooks to get there.

All this set the last race of the day nicely as Jones looks to have secured first, Tagoe is now 2 points ahead of Nick Noble, Nick has got to beat Carl a get a man in-between to take the travellers.

After a blur of an upwind race Jones rounds first with Noble just in second, accusations of pumping (no flag again, Thanks RO!) fly between our two challengers who were both re-interpreting the spirit of the rules, and this left them 2 and 3 at the leeward rounding. Nick held steady behind jones but Mr Tagoe allowed Ed Presley to get through up the next beat and pull out 50 yards, Disaster! This would not do. So after another re-evaluation of acceptable propulsive etiquette, Tagoe worked like a drone to get back in contact downwind just achieving an overlap at the bottom of the last lap. All this wonderful work ethic was lost however as Nick noble had pulled of a miracle by getting through Stoo Jones on his homeboy turf of 'shifty pond in autumn' to take 1st in race, 2nd in the open and more importantly the travellers crown just in front of Carl Tagoe.

Off the water the teammates were all smiles, The rest of the competitor exhausted after a big season that has seen a new Travellers champ, a superb Europeans at Highcliffe won by our own Simon Mussell and an exciting new chapter in the Contender book as our new builder Hartley Boats comes on board.

Big thanks to Rutland SC who know how to run these thing smoothly and well done Stuart Jones, winner again.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st2465Stewart JonesDachet Water SC‑411125
2nd2618Nick NoblePotishead SC14‑55111
3rd2607Carl ThiagoeOxford SC3‑732311
4th2572Ed PresleyCotswold SC234‑7413
5th2420Simon MussellHighcliffe SC822‑11618
6th2496Tony BrooksOxford SC75‑103722
7th666Bill HootonBurton SC56‑96825
8th678Tom HootonRYA688‑9527
9th712Rodger WhiteKing Georege Sc‑11106101036
10th705Andrew BelsonRutland SC‑1491413945
11th652Nick CurryWeston SC91212‑161346
12th2522C BoshierThorpe Bay YC(DNC)1478DNC48
13th697Malcom HallCarsington SC‑131313121149
14th2439Gary LangdownHighcliffe10(DNC)DNC4DNC52
15th674Craig HellonBurton SC‑151511141252
16th2410Simon HawkesWimbleball SC1211(DNC)DNCDNC61
17th2599Tony CookDowns SC1617(DNC)15DNC67
18th691Peter NobleBSC1716(DNC)DNCDNC71