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Craftinsure 2012

Contender World Championships at Centro Vela Alto Lario - Summary

by BCA 26 Jul 2013 10:06 BST 14-20 July 2013

182 entries is the largest fleet in the 43 year history of the International Contender Worlds. This number became less surprising as the entrants started turning up to the legendary venue to find one of the most perfect sailing settings in the world boasting thermal winds, astounding scenery and slick race management. This championship more than others was the one to win with every one of the top guys entered getting in the first 25 would be a task itself.

The prelude to the main event was a 4 race pre-World's that gave some indication of form, but with only 90 boats competing some sailors chose to keep their powder dry. 16 knot wind gave sailors a glimpse of the sparkling conditions they desired. The large number of OCS and DNFs in this series was put down to sailors using the series as practice but the eventual winner Christophe Engel needed to fight off a lot of class to win. The Young German has stepped up a level this year and with this victory marked himself as a favourite for the big one, and in doing so won a trophy the size of a bucket.

With the preamble completed the fleet looked to the main event with speculative trepidation. A 2 day measurement carried out with typical Italian relaxed style added to the building excitement to get sailing. The size of the fleet meant that there would be 2 starts of 90 boats randomly selected for 6 qualifying races before the final gold silver split was made for the final 4 races.

Day 1 belonged to Brit Simon Mussell, winning both of his races, Simon is arguably the fastest sailor in the world upwind, proving here not just his speed but a knack of using this speed in the right direction consistently. Even poor starts were not able to scupper his progress. The other races were won by Aussie newcomer mark Bulka fresh from winning Kiel week and Andrea Bonezzi merely the 8 time world Champions. 2nd behind Simon on learder board was seasoned contender Soren Dulong Andreasen with two 2nds. In such a big fleet with two of every score available in the qualifying consistency was paying.

Overnight a lot of talk centred on how to overcome Mussell's speed upwind, as he could reasonably expect to be 100 yards in front by the first mark. Day 2 came with less wind and a short postponement, the race committee got it bang on as the wind started to fill just as the last boats hit the start area. The first start if the day would still kick off in a shifty 8-9 knots. Luckily for the fleet this added a random factor that pushed Simon down too 10th at the windward mark. Christophe Engel showed he could do it at the big show and took his chance to carve a lead and could not be caught, in building breeze Mussell got back to 2nd but this was his first dropped point; however his closest rival was down in 6th. In the 2nd start Brit Gary Langdown lead early on before Christophe Homier (GER) used his athletic technique to row down the run to win just ahead of Gaz. By the next race the Wind was back and Normal service had resumed with Simon pulling another bullet out with Soren Dulong Keeping the pressure on with a 1st in the second start.

The end of day 2 had narrowed down the list of hopefuls for the title but all were commenting on the difficulty in getting into the top 20 such has the strength of the fleet. Mussell and Andreasen had a clear lead with Mark Bulka and Christophe Homier and Engel and of course Andrea Bonezzi reaping low scores to keep in the hunt, Stuart Jones was doggedly notching up enough good scores to hang in there.

A longer wait for wind on the final qualifier day (3) had the fleet starting at 3ish in 18-20 knots. Only one set of starts were able to be completed with the threat of a thunders storms sending the fleet home early. This single race saw Mark Bulka get back to the front after a poor day with Mussell also counting another first and extending the gap to Soren.

The fleet were split for day 4 into the final gold and silver fleet with 4 races planned, and with only one discard available in the finals they would count for more. Out on the water this extra tension built as the wind refused to play games and it looked as though for the first time light wind would prevail. Just enough breeze turned up after an hour wait with the gold fleet getting away 1st time a shifty first beat messed about with the standard pecking order but form was starting show with Andreasen pulling up to 1st from 10 only to drop back to 5th on the last beat Mark Bulka took the line with GBR's Mussell and Jones gaining massively from going hard right, so much so that they both giggled there way over line.

The second race turned out to be even more patchy but this time Soren made no mistake to win from pleased Dutchman Dirk Lafleur and Andrea Bonezzi in 3rd. The big story was that Simon Mussell had had a tough race and dropped to 10th this single result meant that Simon was 2nd to Soren in the standing for the first time.

The next day was all about Simon versus Soren another race would see a discard used in final race series and Si would drop a 10th. Soren however knew he had to beat Si and come higher than 7th in the next race to maintain the lead. Sadly the wind failed to play and no racing was possible for the first time in the championships handing Soren the title.

Simon Mussell had lead the fleet right until the end and was the fastest man out there his disappointment to lose the lead without sailing was obvious no-one want it to end in this way. This sentiment was shared by Soren Dulong Andreasen who made it clear that he would have preferred to sail the showdown. Nothing should be taken away from Soren who has been a consistent top 3 performer for years; his ability to compete in the breeze at Como despite his 74kg frame illustrates the skill of the man.

The prize giving in front of the lake rewarded the top 25 sailors quite fitting considering the difficulty most sailor had getting anywhere near these spots. GBR's Keith Paul took the Grand master with the Master prize being claimed by Stuart Jones who also finished 6th without too much fuss. The silver fleet was led from start to finish by Francesco Maria De Falco. The top 3 demonstrated the diversity of the fleet Denmark's Andreasen at 74 Kgs with GBR's Mussell and Australia's Mark Bulka closer to 100kg.

The boat designs in the top ten were mostly wooden Bonezzi (6) with the top sailor tending to hang to these long lived beauties, but this year for the first time epoxy boat had begun to make an impression with both Bonezzi and Wavelengths appearing.

This had been one of the best events for the contender class in numbers, fleet quality, venue and management. Thanks must go to Gravadona AVAL CDV and the Italian Contender Class for the organisation of this stunning event. The Class now looks to another stunning venue, the Belmont 16ft club on Lake Macquarie in Australia for the 2014 World Championships.

Overall Results:

1stDEN1Søren Dulong Andreasen22‑6135114
2ndGBR2420Simon Mussell11‑21121016
3rdAUS2571Mark Bulka1510‑1211725
4thGER551Christoph Homeier3‑514211425
5thITA11Andrea Bonezzi71‑24249326
6thGBR2465Stuart Jones6‑833831538
7thGER2417Christoph Engel‑43123132042
8thITA69Michele Benvenuti5‑947812642
9thDEN2352Jesper Nielsen465‑16424851
10thITA47Giovanni Bonzio‑1231132191654
11thGBR2315Ben Holden64913(DNC)17958
12thGER2476Volker Niediek91114‑17561459
13thITA2561Antonio Lambertini52(BFD)11583061
14thITA59Davide Fontana1010‑1961442266
15thNED2544Dirk Lafleur101617‑22916270
16thGER2527Dirk Müller38‑30513301372
17thNED9Paul Verhallen8‑1110106281274
18thGBR720Graham Scott1566‑19674585
19thITA40Luca Bonezzi11133‑3915182787
20thITA97Roberto Mazzali117127‑16341889
21stGBR2574Gary Langdown‑241421412222892
22ndITA34Roberto Lorenzi139‑181392336103
23rdGBR2383David Davies2025‑424112123104
24thGER2488Hannes Seidel1514‑296103824107
25thGER11Andreas Voigt747‑18106219109
26thGBR685Neil Wlsoni2‑7557DNE5112
27thGER2493Karsten Kraus1821‑3719191029116
28thNED3Bart Thorborg1720‑3516124211118
29thGER505Christian Krupp‑28181522202034129
30thDEN2471Jacob Kristensen3510299(DNC)2621130
31stGER2390Gernot Goetz‑3117810223143131
32ndGBR2347Martin Jones2418‑3821191539136
33rdDEN2500Henning Wermuth17241435‑381437141
34thGBR2422Neil Ferguson1217‑4415305817149
35thGBR2376Iain Horlock14‑282728203633158
36thGBR2512Daniel Taylor1815(DNC)18184151161
37thGER2355David Schafft‑3022927252557165
38thGER2438Markus Maisenbacher28274‑34183356166
39thGER2597Kay‑Hendryk Rethmeier2119‑4415145641166
40thGER382Rolf Winterhalter2724‑408232758167
41stITA335Alessandro Macchelli1627‑3421163552167
42ndAUT38Günther Wendl23‑31724306025169
43rdITA10Luca Polenta2133‑438135935169
44thGER2427Sebastian Vagt26‑43828115147171
45thITA89Riccardo Giuliano33‑361612243950174
46thGER510Michael Starck2219‑3725272953175
47thAUS2501Stuart Brown25122526‑344646180
48thGER410Holger Stengele915‑2814255069182
49thGBR2496Tony Brooks25261720‑315242182
50thGER488Max Billerbeck233213‑36284740183
51stGER416Frank Richter16(DNC)3317263755184
52ndGER2392Andreas Wieting27203025‑324444190
53rdGBR589Keith Paul192212‑24244074191
54thITA326Daniel Chiesa‑36231332287326195
55thGER2400Thomas Wieting2621‑319276748198
56thITA355Enrico Pellegrini2030‑6023326432201
57thITA111Andrea Betta34‑491833153280212
58thITA2481Giuseppe Albano1434‑3627267638215
59thGBR2572Ed Presley‑131211117DNCDNC217
60thGBR657Robert Smith393732(DNC)314931219
61stNED2Mark Thorborg‑35323531174859222
62ndGER2555Joachim Dr. Harpprecht322923‑57296554232
63rdDEN2276Per H Hansen37‑502130215470233
64thDEN2456Lars Bo Rasmussen3241‑4829224567236
65thNED1Rik Thorborg4326(BFD)44174373246
66thGBR2505Peter Dives22392034‑675579249
67thGBR2538Nick Bell‑5329222629OCS61255
68thAUS2437Scotty Munro38233235‑395375256
69thITA19Bruno Antonio Orfino‑48311632347771261
70thGER535Gerhard Goetz443619‑59386163261
71stGBR678Thomas Hooton36372823‑528362269
72ndITA266Daniele Fezzardi423343‑48236368272
73rdGBR2407Richard Buttner2930‑6841218181283
74thSUI91Erich Ott‑44423938367260287
75thGBR705Myles Blewett38‑464139435776294
76thITA358Michele Vezza39‑654029588049295
77thGER457Olaf Just50(DNC)2340407865296
78thCAN2453Neil Smith‑81472133466982298
79thGER2365Gilbert Brietzke4938‑6536376672298
80thGER2472Jürgen Greis4039‑5244377564299
81stITA15Luca Gusmeroli45‑685920426866300
82ndGBR696Tony Cook‑543520374084DNC304
83rdGER529Tobias Hanke3144‑4643397078305
84thAUS2562Sean Managh4325‑6038447185306
85thITA211Gianni Scherl3443‑6149357477312
86thGER2528Carsten Bühre30403945(DNC)79DNC321
87thGBR712Rodger White‑58522445368284323
88thGBR2506Tony White‑49443642438583333

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