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Contenders Ready!

by Tony Brooks 27 Feb 2017 09:05 GMT 4-5 March 2017
Talk to the Contender class at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show © Julie Howe

Yes, I know, that was early nineties, some 25 years ago, but I had just brought my first Contender and a club member shouted this to me every Sunday morning without fail as I left the changing rooms.

With the worst of the winter now behind us, it is time to plan your year of sailing. For the Contenders it starts with the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show at Alexander Palace and this year there will be one Contender on show as part of the Hartley Boats stand, actually its Ed's highly polished Chris Somner boat with a few Contender old hands standing around it ready to talk Contendering to anyone willing to listen. So please come along for a chat, an information flyer and a look at some on screen Contendering.

The Contender committee members have been working hard over the winter to put together a full list of events for this year (actually when I say the committee members, I do mean Ed. The rest of us just agreed to his list that he had worked tirelessly on, probably for months) with events from Restronguet in the south west, Broadstairs in the south east, Abersoch in north Wales all the way up to Yorkshire Dales. So no matter where you are in the country there is a venue near you, unless you live in Scotland (Sorry Mr Davis). The first open meeting of the year will be at Burton Sailing Club on 18th & 19th March. We then have a number of events throughout the year all the way to the last week in October for the Inland Championships at Rutland Water, so get them in the diary and boldly written on the calendars before family member have other ideas.

Attending your first open meeting in a new class can sometimes seem a little daunting, if you have never been along to a Contender open before, below are a few guidelines to make sure your first meeting goes well:

  1. Make sure that you take your boat, sails, rigging, rudder and tiller extension with you.
  2. Make sure that you have your sailing gear including your wetsuit, trapeze harness and buoyancy aid. Maybe a watch, if you plan on starting with the others.
  3. Get to the club in plenty of time to rig, sign on and get to the briefing.
  4. Take a drink out on the boat with you (non-alcoholic), and food, something simple like an energy bar.
  5. On a 2 day event, don't drink to excess or challenge yourself to the hottest curry on the menu.
  6. Repeat item 4 on the Sunday.
  7. After sailing pack up your boat carefully making sure your boat is securely strapped to the trailer and that all your sailing gear is carefully packed away.
  8. Go to the prize giving to clap as Stu Jones collects his prize having not followed any of the above especially item 5. A full list of events is available on the contender website, sailcontender.org.uk including information on this years National Championships at Abersoch during the first week of September.

    For those looking for a bit of foreign travel, the world championships this year are being held during the month of July in Sønderborg, Denmark and should be a great event with a number of Brits already confirmed to attend.

    Help us to find more boats

    The BCA kindly asks if you can help identify Contender dinghies that are no longer in use. Contenders may be sitting forlorn in your dinghy park, or tucked away in a garden or garage begging for a new owner to put it back onto the water and take it for blast. If you know of any Contender dinghy that needs a new home or you are the owner of a Contender that you just blast around in on a windy day, please let the class secretary Tony Brooks know via the BCA website sailcontender.org.uk so that we can identify where all these boats are. There is a big demand for second hand boats of all ages, wooden and GRP, and few are available, but those that do become available are sold quickly. This is a measure of how successful the Contender Dinghy Class is.

    Why Join the British Contender Association (BCA)?

    For those new and old to the class, or just interested to learn more about the Contender Dinghy, the class association works hard to ensure the longevity of the Contender Class, by far the most rewarding single handed trapeze dinghy. By joining the association your support helps to:

    • maintain the class both at a National and International level,
    • organise a full sailing program of racing and training,
    • keep the class rules up-to-date and relevant,
    • Ensure the Contender continues to thrive with a supply of both new and second hand boats,
    In addition class members are ready to share their thoughts and experiences, and are more than willing to encourage and help those new to the Contender.

    Whether you are new to the class, looking to buy a boat, or want to get more out of your Contender sailing, join the British Contender Association and enjoy the benefits of a thriving class. Find out more by clicking 'Join the BCA' on our website at sailcontender.org.uk where you can join for just £30.

    Class training events

    The BCA organises training events each year to support both newcomers and experienced crews, these events are great fun and completely free to members of the BCA.

    Open meetings

    As a member of the BCA you can take part in a number of open meetings and championships. We are a friendly bunch of sailors always willing to help, so why not join and take advantage of this wealth of knowledge and experience.