Please select your home edition
GJW 2018 728x90

P&B South: Back to Contender Sailing

by Ben McGrane 19 Jul 2015 17:27 BST 19 July 2015
P&B South Newsletter!
Composite Spars!

Back to Contender Sailing!

I’m really excited at the prospect of getting back in a Contender, it’s one of the most challenging boats I have ever sailed. With a truly International fleet and regular turnouts of over 150 boats at European and World Championships, what is it about the Contender that attracts such a high interest from across the World?
The Contender has a lot going for it, firstly sailors are competitive at 75kg right through to well over 100kg, the competitive weight range is far wider than I have  experienced in any other class. The rig is powerful, there is much to be gained through slick boat handling and the lack of pumping restriction in over 12 knots rewards fitness and those who work hard. Like many UK boats as a result of the sheer number of classes the Contender has seen a dip in numbers but Internationally the Contender has never dipped and is seeing a resurgence. The class has been careful in development allowing changes in construction through the use of modern materials for hulls, sails, foils and spars but a competitive boat can still be purchased for as little as £3000. The International aspect of the racing is a real draw and there are plenty of high turn out events dotted across Northern Europe offering strong competition.

The rig on the contender is fairly simply with little adjustable on the water and nothing during a race but in a lot of ways that means the work that goes into creating the mast and sail package has to allow for the full range of conditions.
The outcome is, it is very hard to create a sail and rig combination that works not only across the wind range but also for up and downwind. In my last period sailing the contender I did a lot of testing with various rig stiffness, spreader heights and configurations combined with everything from cross cut dacron sails to radial laminate sails. In the end I settled on a rig which was similar to the class proven mast but went against the class trend with a radial laminate short leech sail for the 2011 World Championships.

I did a lot of work during 2012 with the UK class builder (Chris Somner) at the point of epoxy builds being allowed. Chris introduced new foils which were lighter and smaller than the Milanes designs and also created a new section to add performance in stronger winds. The outcome was my 2012 nationals boat was a lot stiffer with better weight displacement and it’s all up weight was 6kg less than my 2011 worlds boat, all within the class rules. I’m pleased to see the work done has now become Chris’ standard package and I’m looking forward to once again seeing what gains can still be made here in particular with continued development to the foils.

As for the rig I’m pleased to be working with Tony Smith and I’m going to be using a Paragon mast for the nationals in September. Tony has a long running history in the class as both a multiple champion and equipment supplier so I’m excited at the prospect of what his knowledge can add to P&B’s developments. The Paragon product is currently performing well having just recorded 1,2,4 overall at the most recent open event held in Weymouth. Gary Langdown took the overall win having collected his mast on the Friday beforehand, fast straight out the box!
As for the sails I still believe that the radial laminate is the way forward, I think a Dacron sail can be made to work well across a wider wind range because it can be manipulated but at the same time I think this means it is also compromised in more conditions. With the option to check in 2 sails at major championships, P&B will be working on both light and heavy air designs with the objective of creating designs to target specific weight and wind ranges.
It will be an exciting development period through the rest of this year and a great opportunity to carry on from what I learnt previously. There is little questioning that certain equipment in the class has an amazingly well proven track record but if we didn’t try new ideas and aim to innovate then we wouldn’t be sailing the boats we do today.

P&B is the UK’s leading one stop shop for dinghy sailors offering specialist knowledge and services. Our stores located in Northampton (01604 592808, email) and Fareham (01489 577748, offer the best in  chandlery, clothing, spars and rigging along with new boats and repairs. Visit our website for more information.

Products of the Week
Having gotten back on a trapeze this week in a contender for the first time since the I14 Worlds in January it reminded me of some of my favourite bits of kit that I like.

P&B Made to Measure Harness – We’ve sold a number of these recently and personally I have never been able to find an adjustable harness that offers the same comfort. There is the option to send us your measurements using the online form but if you drop into our shops in Northampton or Fareham one of our staff can take the time to measure you and fit the panel specifically to you.

P&B Buoyancy Aid – Made by Crewsaver, this is a great bit of kit for trapezing as it is very high cut so when crouching on the wire the front of the harness can’t push the buoyancy aid up into your face. I never notice I’m wearing one of these where others I have found continually annoying and in the way.

Zhik Boots – I’ve always found the lighter and thinner boots are the better the feel you get when trying to stay on the side of the boat. It’s also important to pick a boot that isn’t going to restrict ankle flex so you can stand on tip toe to gain that extra leverage. The ankle cut 160 is great in all aspects but if you prefer to have protected ankles than the 460 is also a great choice.

Grab a Bargain
Items on the sale rail this week at P&B South.

Musto MPX Offshore Jacket - Red/Dark Grey S, M & XXL 
RRP £450.00 | Sale  £230.00

Gill I5 Crosswind Jacket Dark Grey S, M & XL  
 RRP £135.00 | Sale £99.95

Gill I5 Crosswind Sallopette Dark Grey L & XL  
RRP £135.00 | Sale £99.95

Gill Mens Coastal Racer Jacket - Blue  -S,M,L & XXL 
RRP £175.00  | Sale  £131.25

Gill Womens Coastal Racer Jacket - Blue  -10, 14, 16  
RRP £175.00 | SAlLE £131.25

Gill Mens Coastal Racer Jacket - Graphite  -S,M,L,XL & XXL  
RRP £175.00 |  SALE  £131.25

Musto BR2 Sallopettes Black - Small  
RRP £210.00 |  SALE £125.00

Musto BR2 Sallopettes Black - XXL 
RRP £210.00 |  SALE £125.00

Crewsaver Moko Ladies Neporene Microfleece Top - size 8  
 RRP £49.95  |  SALE  £35.00

Crewsaver Moko Mens Neporene Microfleece Top - size XXL  
RRP £49.95  |  SALE  £35.00

Gill OS21 Sallopettes - Red - XXL  
RRP £169.95  |  SALE £119.95

Gill OS21 Sallopettes - Red - XXXL  
RRP £169.95  |  SALE £119.95

Gill Womens Spinnaker Jacket - Blue - 10, 12, 16 
 RRP £145.00  |  SALE  £105.00

Gill Mens Spinnaker Jacket - Graphite - M, L, XL  
 RRP £145.00  |  SALE £105.00

Slam Winter Sailing Jacket - Navy - Small  
 RRP £120.00  | SALE £87.00

Slam Winter Sailing Jacket - Navy - Medium  
RRP £120.00  |  SALE £87.00

Zhik Aroshell Race Jacket Carbon Grey - Small & XL  
 RRP £279.00  |  SALE £210.00

Zhik Aroshell Race Trousers Carbon Grey - Small  
 RRP £279.00  |  SALE £210.00

Zhik Aroshell Race Jacket Ash Grey - Small, Medium & XL  
 RRP £279.00  |  SALE £210.00

Zhik Aroshell Race Trousers Carbon Grey - Small, Medium & XL  
 RRP £279.00  |  SALE £210.00
Call 014895777438 or email for all the information.

Gill Wetsuit Shorts!

Musto Long Finger Performance Gloves 

£19.99 | Normal Price: £28.00

 The Short Finger Performance Gloves featuring a high grip palm in a durable, high strength PU and reinforced fingers to protect against rope burn. Constructed with pre-curved fingers for increased flexibility and dexterity these gloves are designed to withstand the harshest conditions.

Beach Trolley Wheel!

Gul CZ Pro Floating Sunglasses


CZ Pro Floating SunglassesSG0001 Floating 100% glare-free polarized lenses Frames grilamid TR90: light, tough and flexible Wrap around styling for maximum protection Excellent UV protection Supplied with hard Travel Case, Microfibre bag, and retainer for secure fit
Musto Performance LF Glove!

 Start Up Package!

£193.95 | Normal Price: £251.00

P&B Race Team Glove Long Finger

Gill Dinghy Top - Black

Neilpryde Startline short sleeve Wetsuit

Gul All Purpose 5mm Boot
P&B Long sleeve UV rash vest

P&B Tetra Buoyancy aid


P&B South Map!  Fareham 
Mitchell Close,
Segensworth East,
PO15 5SE

 Opening Times 
 MON 8:30 - 5:30
 TUE 8:30 - 5:30
 WED 8:30 - 5:30
 THURS 8:30 - 5:30
 FRI 8:30 - 5:30
 SAT 9:00 - 5:00

Related Articles

Unbeatable Yachting Offers from P&B
Great discounts on clothing, footwear and accessories Let's face it, inshore and offshore yachting can be an expensive hobby, what with mooring fees, insurance costs and club memberships. P&B have put together some great discounts on clothing, footwear and accessories from some of your favourite brands. Posted on 16 Aug
MEGA Discounts on Gill Kit at P&B
Summer Clearance - white stocks last! Summer Clearance - but hurry, items are only available while stocks last! Posted on 11 Aug
Serious about sails!
10% off ALL P&B Sails and Covers Here at P&B we take sailing seriously and our consistent championship-winning results, year on year, speak for themselves. We pride ourselves on the continued success we've had in building World, European and National Championship winning sails. Posted on 3 Aug
School's Out For Summer
P&B have what you need School's closed for summer, the sun's shining and the kids are raring to get out on the water! Make sure they don't suffer the dreaded wetsuit itch, sunburnt arms or sore hands by ensuring they're kitted out with all the right technical gear from P&B. Posted on 26 Jul
Shop It Like It's Hot with P&B
Your summer kit bag essentials With the weather heating up it's important to review what's in your kit bag in order to stay safe when out on the water. Even when it's chilly, you're at risk of UV exposure and sunburn so it's always best to protect your skin with a rash vest. Posted on 18 Jul
Sportglasses for Your Element
Shatterproof, polarized lenses and virtually indestructible frames Packed full of features like shatterproof, polarized lenses and virtually indestructible frames, Triggernaut Sportglasses are the perfect summer accessory, whatever your element. Available from P&B now. Posted on 11 Jul
Had a little ding? Call the P&B repair team
Plus 10% OFF Sails + Covers at P&B Had a little ding? Or maybe it's a big ding... Either way, our workshop repair team will have your boat back on the water in no time! Posted on 29 Jun
Dreaming of Summer
Treat your feet with new styles of Gumbies flip-flops If you're dreaming of feeling the sand between your toes and the sun on your skin you're not alone, we are too! Make sure you're prepared when the sun appears by staying comfortable, protected and cool with Gumbies Flip Flops. Posted on 22 Jun
Father's Day Gift Alert!
Brand new gift ideas at P&B Are you still searching for the perfect gift for Father's Day? With our collection of great presents for Dad, your search is over! Take a look now at our brand new gift ideas, all new for nineteen! Posted on 11 Jun
Unbeatable Wetsuit Package Deals
Take advantage of huge discounts on your favourite brands Take advantage of huge discounts on your favourite wetsuit brands with unbeatable package deals chosen for you. For example: Musto Men's Foiling Thermohot Impact Wetsuit + Neoprene Top is 24% off! Posted on 7 Jun