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Contender Northern Championship at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club

by Paul Ross 11 Oct 10:47 BST 7-8 October 2017
Contender Northerns at Yorkshire Dales © Paul Hargreaves Photography

A hardcore bunch of Contender sailors arrived at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club on the weekend of 7th& 8th October to compete for the Contender Northern Championship and were greeted with a 25 knot westerly breeze with stronger gusts tearing across the water.

After a quick briefing and some wobbly bottom lips bitten, a reduced fleet of Contenders and D Zeros took to the water and soon discovered just how breezy it was.

After a clean getaway and first beat, the attrition rate downwind was high leaving Ben Holden with a broken gooseneck and Paul Ross leading round the bottom mark after some "full on" gybing. An extremely windy beat followed and the next downwind survival session began. Paul lost the lead after a lengthy swim leaving Tim Holden and Neil Ferguson to sail through only to discover the race had been abandoned as the wind had increased further.

After a quick discussion ashore, the next race was scheduled as the wind seemed to have eased a little. Six boats stormed off upwind with Richard Buttner leading at the top mark with Neil, Tim and Ben in close company with Malcolm Hall and Paul hanging on. Paul decided to sample the local water quality again and with Malcolm suffering gear failure this left Tim recovering to win from Ben with Neil and Richard following in.

Saturday evening all those that sailed and swam were very grateful that Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club provided a fantastic curry in what must be one of the best club houses in the country.

Sunday was a different day with sunshine and a 10 knot breeze blowing and all thirteen boats on the water.

Race two started in marginal trapezing conditions and Neil was a little eager to get away and had to return. Ben and Tim took off up the beat with Tom and Bill Hooton in close contention but after two quick laps this left Tim Holden on top followed by Ben, Tom Hooton and Bill Hooton.

Race three was in slightly more breeze and this was clearly to Rodger Whites liking who after a day ashore was keen to make amends pushing Tim Holden all the way resulting in a dead heat with Paul third, Tony Brooks fourth and Tony Cook in fifth. The race didn't go without drama as an altercation between Tom and Ben at the final mark resulted in an on the water "discussion" all the way to shore and beyond resulting in Tom's retirement.

Race four got away after lunch and Rodger White hit the left hand side of the beat and had a huge lead at the windward mark and was never challenged. Tim came in second with Paul third and Ben fourth.

Final race and it was close between Rodger and Tim for the championship, but after a tight and quick race between the main protagonists Roger took the race from Tim, with Ben in third and Tony Cook in fourth.

This was enough to crown Tim Holden Northern Contender Champion after a fantastic weekend's racing.

The Contender class thank Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club for making everyone so welcome and hosting a fantastic event, and well done to all competitors who travelled great distances to this fantastic venue.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubPts
1st2503Tim HoldenHalifax S.C6
2nd712Rodger WhiteKing George S.C8
3rd2315Ben HoldenHalifax S.C10
4th559Paul RossShotley S.C18
5th2599Tony CookDowns S.C23
6th2496Tony BrooksOxford S.C24
7th2407Richard ButtnerRNSA27
8th2422Neil FergusonYDSC30
9th654Ian CravenYDSC33
10th697Malcom HallCarsington S.C39
11th666Bill HootonBurton S.C42
12th2639Ralph DrewWeston S.C42
13th678Tom HootonBurton S.C43