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Contender Open at Highcliffe Sailing Club

by Rob Smith 12 Jun 17:27 BST 9-10 June 2018
Highcliffe Contender Open © Stephen Waite

So it was with a decent dose of forecast trepidation that the travelling Contender circus rolled up to a sunny Highcliffe Sailing Club for the next leg of the national travellers' series. However roll up they did, to the healthy tune of 27 Contenders joining the 10 Ospreys on the grassy boat prep area.

Although the light breeze and tide state made launching an interesting wading affair, there was plenty enough to get race 1 off, and hot out of the blocks was Tom Hooton being kept close company by some of those choosing or forced right including Graham Scott, and Carl Tagoe – performing well despite making sure we knew how ill he was. As the breeze started to drop away – the second leeward mark separated a few of the chasers as both Stuart Jones and Adrian Smith expected a bit more acceleration from Richard Franks – resulting in turns each for different indiscretions. Not surprisingly Stuart was sniggling back through joined by James Spikesley just as Simon Mussell got the wrong side of an immoveable object at the last mark (an Osprey taking very very late water), which helped Rob Smith retain one position.

Up the front Tom had not managed to hold off the attentions of Gary Langdown in third, Carl fighting through adversity in 2nd, and Graham restating his recent Felpham form scoring a bullet.

The second race General recall (by quite some way for a few remaining nameless), probably saved us from a driftathon, as the race then never happened and much rocking and towing ensued to get back to an early shower, assisted in by the Highcliffe trolley team – thank-you.

Starting beer-o'clock earlier than maybe planned was not too much of a hardness on a hot afternoon/evening with the friendly HSC gang to provide food and drink, and always something to watch in Christchurch Harbour. This time mass Mullet catching and family jeopardy transport (4 person + dog + outboard) courtesy of a big inflatable SUP – including outboard!

The evening was punctuated by welcome provision of a plentiful chilli & sides from Helen and her galley team, before the almost royal arrival of class legend Nick Grace (for gossip, liquid refreshment and Sunday committee boat enjoyment), and then some more beer.

Race two involved some genuine trapezing, and leading the fleet off this time was Rob Smith coming into mark 1 from the left closely followed by his brother Adrian, with Tom, Gary and Graham chasing. There was plenty of tide in places to contend with, and the leeward mark cost both Smith's a circle's worth of time at different roundings, Rob being over optimistic while holding Rodger off, Adrian helped by Stuart ensuring there was just not enough room.

There were some snakes and ladders on the difficult beats, but Graham again avoided most snakes well to score win number two from Stuart and then Gary.

Paul & his race team got going on Race 3 promptly with fear of yesterday's wind loss looming, with just enough gap for Richard Batten to ask almost everyone he passed whether they had seen his missing spare tiller extension! Rob had another good start towards the pin end but couldn't live with Adrian and Gary who extended away from him gradually.

Right up there from early on was Rodger White, who certainly hit hard right on the second beat but may have risked that on the first too – either way he was on the leaders heels keeping Stuart close company. At this stage there was lots of crouching and in-boat trapeze dangling in evidence.

Adrian held and extended his lead to eventually win what was to be the last race of the meeting – in a convincing fashion, and was able to watch Gary score a very secure second from Stuart and Rodger. However not far back was Graham having got himself back from mid fleet to just behind Rob in 6th – which was just enough to give him the overall win on equal points with Gary, with Stuart completing the podium.

Big thanks to the Highcliffe team for another good weekend in difficult conditions. Next stop Poole.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st720Graham ScottRYA1168
2nd2439Gary LangdownHighcliffe SC3328
3rd2465Stuart JonesDatchet Water SC62311
4th2449Rob SmithCastle Cove SC84517
5th2203Adrian SmithHythe and Saltwood SC145120
6th2607Carl TagoeOxford SC214723
7th705James SpikesleyNetley SC771529
8th2572Ed PresleyCVL SC1361130
9th678Tom HootonRYA482234
10th716Richard FranksWeston SC5161637
11th712Rodger WhiteKing Georges SC2212438
12th2383David DaviesLoch Ryan1091938
13th2496Tony BrooksOxford SC1515939
14th559Paul RossShotley SC1621845
15th630Fiona CollinsNetley SC17111745
16th666Bill HootonBurton SC18181349
17th2420Simon MussellHighcliffe SC913RET50
18th2618Nick NobleBristol Corinthian YC11221851
19th2619Mike MurleyWeston SCDNC101452
20th2639Ralph DrewWSC24171253
21st2263Richard BattenMudeford SC23241057
22nd2599Tony CookDowns SC19232163
23rd2407Richard ButtnerRNSA21192363
24th697Malcolm HallCarsington SC25202065
25th2347Martin JonesWilsonian SC12DNCDNC68
26th2602Mick PullinCovenham SC20DNCDNC76
27th675David GautierLymington Town SC26DNCDNC82

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