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Contender Open at Oxford Sailing Club

by Ed Presley on 5 Apr 1-2 April 2017

On a gloriously sunny day at Oxford Sailing Club the Contender class assembled once again to see just how rusty the winter had made us. With a very poor forecast for no wind there were several obvious absentees but it was nice to see 16 boats rigging and looking at the lake which was windier than expected.

To kick off the fleet loaded up the pin end due to a port biased line and a bit more breeze, Nick Noble timed it perfectly to harpoon the pin and shout at Tom Hooton. Tom squeezed out and accelerated off, a shift handed the advantage to Stuart Jones when the front 3-4 tacked. Stuart had the front all to himself with 4 boats fighting behind, giving him a growing advantage it all looked academic but Ed Presley was able to cut the gap up the last beat but to no avail; Jones wins.

The 2nd race was in much less wind, mostly slopping about in the bottom of the boat, don't go right. Toward the front Tony Brookes and Rodger white battled with Jones but the wiley dastard did it again.

The final race of the day picked up proper, Tony Brookes used what was presumably local knowledge to carve a lead on the first beat followed by Tom Hooton, Richard Franks and Carl Tagoe. Ed Presley Had a speedy run and jump to 2nd behind Tony with Jones making gains from a start line 720. Things stayed like this until the last beat when Tony rounded the leeward mark just behind a D1 and suffered from dirt from his sail, the next two boats managed to climb higher than these two and pull past Tony. At the finish Ed Presley kept the right side of Stuart Jones with Tony a gloomy 3rd.

Day 2 came with a stark reminder of the 'No wind' policy for this weekend, a light trickle could be seen, but safe in the knowledge that things would probably get worse, the fleet took to the water with reckless enthusiasm.

Tactically the first race saw most people conservatively picking shifts up the middle and it was to their credit as any corner banging was swiftly punished with obscurity. Tony Brooks who is fast becoming the no-wind-guru in these parts struck out early, piped only around the windward mark by Nick Noble. Stuart Jones and Ed Presley made big gains up the 2nd windward to put pressure on but it was during the final round things got messy, firstly Ed removed himself from the game by going about 10 foot further left than Jones and then as the front two started to gybe to match the failing wind, Stuart reached in on a completely different and fresh breeze to call water; and win; and apologize.

The final race saw Rodger white nail a port tack slower and cross the fleet with Tony Cook in tow. This action as well some well-timed shifts allowed Rodger to control the race from then on, Richard Franks made up some ground to nibble away at Rodger using a new Lennon sail to get some high pointing action, and after a bit of battling Chris Howe was able to slip into third.

Overall Stuart Jones won the event for about the 6th time in recent years which he puts down to winter practice, which is considered to be cheating in the class. The club renamed the trophy the Stuart Jones cup and put a model of his likeness in it.

Next event up we all go back to the seaside with trip to Broadstairs, see you there!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmBoatClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
12465Stuart JonesGreen Floaty ThingDatchet SC1121‑55
22496Tony BrooksBDS‑UK.comOxford SC6232‑713
3712Rodger White King George SC‑12384116
42572Ed Presley Cotswold SC2‑13110417
52477Chris HoweRabbiting OnOxford SC‑10667322
6716Richard Franks Weston SC77‑128224
72607Carl TagoeThursday ChildOxford SC357‑9924
8639Brian WitneyOookBough Beach SC8495‑1026
92599Tony CookSo VolatileDowns SC‑138116631
10666Bill HootonPrince of DarknessBurton SC410513(DNS)32
112618Nick NobleMamma MiaPortishead SC511143(DNS)33
12652Nick CurrySmoke on the WaterWeston SC‑1191011838
13678Thomas Hooton RYA914412(DNS)39
14476Anthony EllisFrancescoIOMYC1415(RET)141154
152432Jerry HoneSyringaLancing SC151613(DNS)(DNS)61
162639Ralph Drew Weston SC1612(DNS)(DNS)(DNS)62

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