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Contender Open at Downs Sailing Club

by Ed Presley on 20 Aug 5-6 August 2017

The weekend of the 5th and 6th of August saw the Contender fleet travel to Downs Sailing Club at Deal, Kent. The fleet received a warm welcome with bacon cobs and cups of tea for free, which were clearly needed by some who had come down the night before and enjoyed the seafront public houses.

The weather was very nice with sun, but the wind fickle and swinging this way and that around 45 degrees. The race committee held the fleet ashore waiting for a front to pass and when that occurred the contender gents sledged (as is fashionable at Downs) into the surf in the afternoon. The fleet eventually ventured out into rain and quite a spot of breeze. The supposed wind direction that would give us some races was present but the wind continued to swing right and then died, so the fleet was sent back to shore to find a sledge of their preference and wait for the wind to settle.

the race officials called the fleet out again but to no avail the wind dropped away and it was a struggle to beat the tide back to the beach but is was sunny now

The evening bought a lovely meal of Spag Bol or Chilli and entertainment in the form of live music and a visit to some of deals local pubs but at a slightly slower pace this time due to the extended hangovers of some (well one, Ed).

Sunday dawned and there was not a lot of wind but the fleet drifted out in the hope of starting a race and making the extreme hospitality worth it for the club. We drifted for a while as the RO tried multiple time to lay a course, Then finaly a sea breeze kicked in and the fleet started what would be three fantastic races in the best conditions of the season, Like the final scene in Ice Cold in Alex, "worth waiting for".

The first race saw Ed Presley round the windward mark first ahead of Simon and Chris Boshier who after 7 years of tinkering with setting had gone back to the one he started with. Ed Managed to go the wrong side of the committee boat upwind and let Simon overtake Ed on the next beat to win the race, Mr B nearly caught Ed, but he didn't.

The second race saw Simon back in top gear and he rounded the first mark clear ahead followed by Ed and Tom Hooton who tussled for position down the first reach Ed managed to maintain the inside track at the gybe mark and then managed to pull away up the beat to leave Tom to finish third

The third race once again saw Simon round the top mark first closely followed by Pete Noble and Ed Presley. Simon and Ed Rowed the hardest to pull away and Tom caught Pete up on the reaches and then proceeded to accidentally mount Pete's boom while trying to sail underneath him at the leeward mark meaning turns, this put him in a dilemma because he had to stay ahead of a pressing Chris B to maintain third, this not seeming possible Tom retired from the race in order to avoid the dreaded 4th place (Report writing duty) but unbeknown to him there was a discard and he got the nod anyway. Just my luck.

Clearly Simon had won with Ed 2nd and Chris 3rd, but the best bit was Downs SC who could not have tried harder to make the event a success, cheers all.

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