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Contender Open at Felpham Sailing Club

by Mike Murley-Hughes 16 May 06:20 BST 12-13 May 2018

The Contender class have, for a few years now, allowed unlimited downwind pumping in conditions over 10 knots. Fantastic news for the young and fit, and a challenge for the more mature sailor.

Saturday at Felpham was a no brainer – no wind forecast so no pumping. Sunday was more debateable with 10-12 knots in the forecast. However, class rules turn pumping on and off with flags O and R according to the wind strength. Since flag R was the designated Felpham club fleet flag we couldn't have pumping. Hurrah said the old farts.

Anyone who turned up on Saturday was definitely feeling optimistic, with a forecast of just 2-4 knots. As it was we had 3 good light air races on courses shared with a friendly bunch of Solos. In race one Stu Jones and Nick Noble got a decent lead on the rest and finished in that order with James Spikesley in third.

In race two Graham Scott and Mike Murley-Hughes built up a decent lead on the fleet with Murley-Hughes getting ahead on the penultimate beat to win comfortably. Jones was third.

The last race was notable for the second beat which saw the leaders reach the pin end of the Solo fleet start line on port just as the gun went. Well actually it was just Nick Noble at the pin end as he had a decent lead which he held to the finish even after ducking the entire Solo fleet. Murley-Hughes was second and Jones third again.

Ashore we were treated to a fantastic buffet of sandwiches and cakes, all included in the entry fee. Great value from a fabulously welcoming Felpham Sailing Club.

Saturday saw some new competitors with Simon Mussell and Gary Langdown having finally unpacked their boats from the Worlds container. Both seemed a bit rusty with Mussell even forgetting half his kit. To be fair it must be difficult to remember what to bring after two decades of Contender sailing.

On the water we were treated to a decent force 2-3 and a trapezoid course. This correspondent was over the line in both starts and had to go back which means I'm a bit sketchy about what happened near the front, but race four was won by Scott with Jones second and Spikesley third again. Race five was won by Scott again with Noble second and Jones third. This turned out to be the overall order too. Lovely sailing on Sunday.

The fleet is anticipating the arrival of the new British built Hartley Contender which promises to bolster the fleet with plenty on order. But alas we'll have to wait a little longer. As it stands the class is well served with the top three boats this weekend being Wooden Bonezzi, Epoxy Bonezzi and Chris Somner boats.

Next up is the Southern Championships at the wonderful Highcliffe Sailing Club on June 9th & 10th. Will we see a Hartley Contender?

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st720Graham ScottRYA‑424118
2nd2618Nick NobleBristol Corinthian YC241‑829
3rd2465Stuart JonesDatchet Water SC1‑33239
4th2619Mike Murley‑HughesWeston SC‑7125614
5th705James SpikesleyNetley SC3‑993722
6th2496Tony BrooksOxford SC675‑9826
7th2477Chris HoweOxford SC567‑13927
8th2203Adrian SmithHythe and Saltwood SC8586‑1427
9th559Paul RossShotley SC(DSQ)86101034
10th666Bill HootonBurton SC9‑1211111142
11th2420Simon Mussell (DNC)DNCDNC4543
12th2439Gary Langdown (DNC)DNCDNC7445
13th2432Jerry HoneLancing SC1110‑12121245
14th678Tom HootonRYA101110(RET)DNC48
15th594Chris BrooksLeigh SC121313‑141351
16th585Matt BurnettFelpham SC13(DNC)DNCRETDNC64
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