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Contender World Championship at Medemblik, Holland - Overall

by Ed Presley 2 Aug 2015 19:16 BST 25-31 July 2015

Britain has gone without a home grown Contender World Champion for the past 17 years, this year however Simon Mussell of Highcliffe Sailing club saw off the best sailors from Australia, Germany, Italia and Denmark to bring home the crown.

In 2013 Simon narrowly missed out on the title at Lake Como when fierce rival Soren Dulong Andreasen held his nerve to win, a year later in Lake Macquarrie Australia a whitewash by the Aussies and the emergence of a new Contender Champion in Mark Bulka gave no European a chance. 2015 at Medemblik would offer another chance to see if Mussell could finally take the prize.

In the build up to this event the signs were it would be an intriguing battle between 6-7 established and emerging Contender riders. Joint favourites must be Bulka, the current champion and Andreasen who had added the European crown to the 2013 title. Add to that Denmark's Jesper Neilson, the champion of Kiel week, former European Champion Christoph Homier of Germany, and not forgetting 8 time World Champion Andrea Bonezzi who rarely goes this long without winning. With this sort of competition it was hard to see how Mussell would be able to impose himself on the racing but wins at warm up regattas at Lake Como and Travemunde made sure everyone kept an eye his form.

The event began with the 140 boat fleet arriving ready to be measured in the pouring rain and driving 70mph winds to ensure all competitors were sailing a true Contender; accepting no substitutes. The glory of two days scrutinizing boats in this dreadful weather was a brief insight into (to a lesser extent) the week of racing to come, big winds for four days followed by one day of light stuff.

With split fleets the first 3 days would be qualifying for the final two days of Gold and Silver fleets; this meant that the top boys would only face each other in parts. In heat 1 Bulka and Mussell faced off but the match up was partly spoiled by Ben and Tim Holden who reached the windward mark in first and second. Bulka pulled through quickly and Mussell made 2nd on the last beat leaving Ben in third. In the other heat Andrea Bonezzi Lead from start to finish ahead a blisteringly quick Christoph Homier who had passed most of the fleet to get back to 2nd. The big names were showing well in the building breeze and race two would take place in nearing survival conditions. This time Homier continued to fly and posted first ahead of Bulka. In heat 2 Mussell broke right earlier than the pack and rounded first, a good 1st reach extended this lead but an attempt to play it safe and sit in down the next reach lead to a capsize, Soren Dulong Andreasen did not play it safe and two footed past Simon pumping on every wave as he did so.

With forecasts for day 2 expected to be the same and more as day 1 and the number of breakages and retirements mounting up, the race committee decided to play it safe and keep the racing to one early race. In actual fact the conditions were manageable until the last beat when it piped up to 30 knots, thankfully all the fleet needed to do was go home. In the racing Mark Bulka struck back at Homier to get 1st with improving Carl 'Tag' Tagoe resplendent in his shiny new boat (A new one every 28yrs whether he needs it or not) taking 3rd. In the other heat Andrea Bonezzi got another win ahead of Simon Mussell and Soren Andreasen.

Day 3 was exactly as expected; far too windy the committee called it dead early and let the fleet enjoy the local area or in most cases set to reinforcing all of the boat parts that had shaken to bits in the relentless conditions; and there would be more to come!

Missed races or not it was now time to split into Gold and silver fleets meaning that all top guns would be head to head, Mark Bulka leads from Homier, Bonezzi and Mussell but the rest of the usual names were all still in the hunt. Race 1 was held in 18 knots in a confused sea. Mussell started to stretch his legs leading from Mark Bulka at the top mark from Bonezzi and Andreasen, Mark chased hard all race and was able to close the gap to few boat lengths at the end but Mussell held on in a real boat on boat match. Soren Andreasen got past Bonezzi and closed up to the front two at the end which is testament to his skill as he gives away at least 10kg on the 3 big boys around him. Race 2 saw Mussell and Bulka explode out of the start out to the left, this left Bonezzi out to the right which paid big, Bonezzi made the mark with a 50yd lead, Bulka 2nd Mussell back in 5th. Mussell and Bulka worked hard down the reaches and run to reel in Bonezzi. The pair rounded the final leeward mark together and Mussell's upwind speed forced Bulka to tack off and allow Mussell the freedom to hunt down Bonezzi. Bonezzi had the height but Mussell was fast enough to sail from underneath him; the only question, where would Bulka pop out? The answer was behind both Bonezzi and Mussell. The 3rd place for Bulka was his first outside the top 2 whereas Mussell with 2 bullets had manoeuvred into joint first with him.

These two sailors lead on 6 points with Bonezzi a further point behind, but with light wind forecast on the final day the lighter sailors; Andreasen, Homier and Neilson would have an opportunity to get back into it. Now Simon knows he is not the fastest light wind sailor, so is likely to score big but that goes for Mark and Andrea as well. Simon knew that with a 3rd as a discard Mark could not afford a worse than 3rd result, fine as long as there was only 1 race on day 5; if 2 races were run then they could both be out of the top ten let alone the top spot. Simon and Mark sniffed around each other at the pre-start a bit but eventually settled into spaces mid line, with 30 seconds to go Simon dropped down directly underneath Mark and pushed him head to wind as the gun went. The pair both were out the back of the race along with Bonezzi, which was consequently won by Karsten Kraus from Christoph Engel and Gary Langdown. This result gave Mussell a 1 point lead but also a big discard any repeat of this would see him and his rival drop out of contention.

A nervous wait began as the RO tried to set a course in a diminishing breeze. Eventually Mussell's risk was proved to pay off as the Racing was called off for the day. He had won the World Championships.

Simon had been the fastest sailor around the course all week, able to pluck out some low scores even when things went against him, also sailing clever in conditions that did not suit. After 17 years of waiting Britain has a Contender World Champion; Stuart Jones who was the last holder in 1998 commented that it was 'about bloody time'.

As for the rest of the fleet, the 150 boats managed to get through some high attrition days to make to the final sunny race and a glorious prize giving, with Andrea Bonezzi in Third and Mark Bulka in 2nd Mussell stood atop the podium and thanked the team of organisers ant Medemblik for a predictably slick event.

Focus now turns to 2016; the Worlds will be in Santa Cruz, USA in April, whilst the Europeans will be on our own back door at Highcliffe sailing club on 3-9th of September. All UK Contender sailors should start planning their diary for the opportunity to sail against the best in Europe as well of course against local boy and new World Champ Si Mussell.

Gold Fleet Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1GBR 2420Simon Mussell22211‑428
2AUS 2457Mark Bulka12123‑319
3ITA 11Andrea Bonezzi13142‑6211
4GER 551Christoph Homeier2127‑14618
5DEN 1Soren Dulong Andreasen61337‑920
6DEN 2352Jesper Nielsen33466‑822
7GER 2417Christoph Engel566‑138227
8AUS 2482Jason Beebe47495‑1129
9GBR 2503Tim Holden M446511‑1730
10GBR 2315Ben Holden3551515‑3243
11NED 9Paul Verhallen10109129‑4350
12GBR 2465Stuart Jones M741210‑202053
13AUS 2565John Lindholm M798821‑4753
14ITA 2561Antonio Lambertini14711264‑3662
15GER 11Andreas Voigt‑268714221869
16GBR 2572Ed Presley11‑292111101669
17GBR 2410Nick Noble1611132112‑4173
18GBR 2512Daniel Taylor1214111918‑5474
19NED 3Bart Thorborg M815920(dnf)2375
20AUS 2566Callum Burns M14514‑35192577
21GER 2493Karsten Kraus26161817‑27178
22GBR 720Graham Scott M21161032(dns)483
23GER 2400Thomas Wieting189102225‑4084
24NED 2576Winfred Westerman M‑37131516132986
25GBR 2607Carl Tagoe M291032817‑3787
26GER 2597Kay‑Hendryk Rethmeier2812524‑331988
27GER 2527Dirk Mueler22882331‑3592
28GER 488Max Billerbeck161322‑34281392
29GER 2355David Schafft23142318‑321492
30GBR 2383David Davies M1715142723‑4596
31ITA 59Davide Fontana15201625‑292298
32GBR 2439Gary Langdown M5(dns)1339413101
33AUT 38Wendl Guenther M9201941(dns)15104
34GER 510Michael Starck M61973842(dnc)112
35GER 2438Markus Maisenbacher8(dns)22334310116
36GBR 2484Nick Grace M186183740‑51119
37ITA 326Daniel Chiesa20192851‑547125
38NED 2Mark Thorborg M272717‑491639126
39GBR 678Tommy Hooton151828‑534821130
40GER 2366Lars Kruse2117154335‑46131
41GBR 2347Martin Jones M19‑3621363026132
42DEN 2500Henning Wermuth M34232442‑4512135
43ITA 384Ferrari Marco422520‑552424135
44GBR 2373Mike Murley M9262940‑4433137
45GER 529Matthias Koernig J1321254536‑50140
46GBR 2407Richard Buttner M242723‑593928141
47GBR 2588Jeremy Blaydes2721392926‑58142
48GBR 691Peter Noble M232841‑57515148
49NED 2291Jan van Wiggen M25263146‑6327155
50GER 2392Andreas Wieting1934293046‑60158
51GER 1421Andreas Lutz Koernig173238(dnf)3438159
52GER 322Jens Krees11(dns)16315059167
53GBR 2522Chris Boshier22(dns)19613730169
54NED 167Job Crijns20222547‑5955169
55GBR 2490Robert Smith3030244838‑52170
56CAN 2453Neil Smith34223460‑6234184
57ITA 266Daniele Fezzardi3818275053‑57186
58DEN 2139Frank Stigborg M331234‑565553187
59ITA 40Luca Bonezzi381127(dnf)dnf49193
60GER 467Niklas Haewecker J4017266449(dnc)196
61GER 2476Stefan Heising M313836‑544744196
62DEN 33Thomas Herno M43293344‑5748197
63GER 2458Joerg Glaescher313530‑635256204
64GER 2504Joachim Schramm443120‑655663214
65GER 448Thomas Wasilewski4523405258‑61218
66NED 144Vincent Klap M4125326260(dsq)220
67NED 2584Robert Wiedemeijer M5332325861‑64236
           

Silver Fleet Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1GER 2390Gernot Goetz M39(dns)17671079
2ITA 19Bruno Orfino13(dns)36962993
3GER 2549Volker Niediek M12(dns)dns111194
4GBR 666Bill Hooton M37(dns)311115498
5GER 2427Sebastian Vagt(dns)37122448103
6AUS 2142Ian Martin30(dns)425524106
7GBR 589Keith Paul GM3924(dnf)14920106
8GER 495Florian Starck J‑53334813109113
9GER 2365Gilbert Brietzke‑5224454833114
10SUI 92Jacqueline Ruefenacht F35(dns)40191814126
11GBR 2599Tony Cook M32(dns)37162417126
12GER 535Gerhard Gotz‑55334622208129
13NED 26Enno Kramer M44(dns)dnf10316142
14NED 1Rik Thorborg M24(dns)263dns23144
15GER 483Martin Kaufhold33(dns)30233434154
16GER 2378Thomas Herbst46(dns)dns25133156
17GBR 2203Adrian Smith M49(dns)dnf12262158
18GER 504Walter Baudisch M‑503447201447162
19GER 2586Lars Frenzel‑473044292240165
20NED 2426Pim Langendijk M54(dns)4135315166
21SUI 91Erich Ott M51(dns)35331136166
22ITA 362Albino Accatino51(dns)dns15257167
23ITA 2539Danilo Giraudo M49(dnf)35171949169
24GER 470Jan Schaefer‑473543213038169
25GBR 2602Mick Pullin M28(dns)37dnf1722172
26GER 403Jan Kueper J56(dns)4340331173
27AUS 2250John Mclean M3528(dnf)391655173
28FRA 13Jerome Poree GM36(dns)ufd72dnf182
29GER 2393Thomas Bendel M45(dns)dnc182131184
30NED 2287Gert van der Mast GM48(dns)dns81250187
31GER 687Max Jacob J4631(dns)312952189
32GBR 2318Aalan Mollatt GM29(dns)3338dns27195
33NED 2370Marcel Groen54(dns)dnf263215196
34GBR 2506Tony White GM48(dns)42272757201
35AUT 1101Martin Rieckh GM58(dns)49362839210
36DEN 213Frederikke Mikkelsen F56(dns)dnc443919227
37DEN 55Jon Mogelhoj43(dns)dnc303651229
38ITA 41Roberto Lenzi59(dns)dnf282358237
39ITA 26Dario Cornali M57(dns)dnc32dnf13239
40ITA 393Luigi Tezza GM36(dns)dnsdnfdns6247
41GBR 712Rodger White GM25(dns)dncdncdns18248
42DEN 2431Jeppe Soerner59(dns)dnf433542248
43AUS 2441Ian Kirkwood M55(dns)38dnfdns25254
44NED 2401Johan Hoekstra GM(dnc)41dncdncdns12258
45GER 206Felix Krause J(dnf)dnsdns373845258
46GER 519Felix Tonne52(dns)3934dnsdnc261
47GER 365Andreas Schlieker M(dnf)dnsdnc413746262
48NED 1454Rep Boonstra60(dns)dnc45dns26268
49NED 2308Cees de Gruijter M(dnc)dnsdnc42dns21269
50FRA 2394Francois‑Rene Labous M5040(dns)dncdns43269
51DEN 2604Solvej Trautner F57(dns)dnc24ocs54272
52GER 900Utz Mueller J3239(dnc)dncdnsdnc275
53FRA 2312Jean‑Francois Dachet M41(dns)dnfdnsdns30276
54GBR 2376Dave Adams M40(dns)dnfdnsdns35280
55GER 14Christian Meier‑Kothe10(dns)dnsdncdncdnc283
56NED 2156Wim Tak62(dns)dncdncdns28295
57GER 387Fenja Maiwald F61(dns)dncdncdnc37303
58CAN 2525Stephanie Mah F58(dns)dncdnsdns41304
59USA 2117Gil Woolley GM(dns)dnsdncdnfdns32306
60GER 462Rainer Hangarter42(dns)dncdncdnsdnc315
61GBR 4Mark Jackson M(dnf)dnsdncdncdnc44318
62GER 2298Irmtraud Pfeffermann M F60(dns)dnsdnfdns56321
63NED 2463George Kroon(dnc)dncdnfdnfdns53327
64GER 378Lennart Quiring(dns)dnsdncdnsdns59333
65GER 508Martin Koester J61(dnc)dnfdncdnsdnc334
66GER 494Wilfried Hube M(dnc)dncdncdncdnsdnc342
67NED 173Ruud Journee GM(dns)dnsdncdncdncdnc342

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