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Contender Open at Weston Sailing Club

by Graeme Willcox 19 Aug 08:46 BST 17-18 August 2019
Contender Weston Open © Ingrid Willcox

With a fairly windy forecast for the weekend, 19 sailors descended on Weston Sailing Club. After a recent light wind World Championship, the fleet was looking forward to straightening their legs and enjoying the conditions. After the briefing the fleet were sent out on time to get the regatta under way in a building south easterly sea breeze.

Race 1 got away cleanly on the first go, with Ed Presley, Gary Langdown and Stuart Jones showing they mean business from the start gun. The Contenders were the second start, so were sent on the inner loop trapezoid course. This meant there was a tight bunch around the first mark as the fleet headed down the run. By the time the fleet got tot the second top mark, the fleet had spread out a bit, to allow everyone to enjoy the unusually long reach set out by the RO, down to the second run and then reach back to the finish line. By the finish, Ed had kept his lead over Gary and Stuart took third spot with the ever green Keith Paul taking fourth spot.

Race 2 started in similar conditions, with some large switches coming through as the sea breeze settled in. This meant that being caught on the wrong side of one of these switches pushed you well down the order, only to be undone, by the next switch. At the fist weather mark, it was Nick Noble, Stuart, Graeme Willcox and Mark Watts who had made the best of the first leg, to get around with a small gap to the chasers. After some place changing down the run and next beat, Nick held onto his lea, followed by Mark, Stuart and Graeme, now with a large gap back to the rest. These four fought it out for the final lap to all finish within 6 seconds of each other, with Mark Watts taking the win over Stuart with Nick in third.

Race 3 saw the sea breeze settled in, with the usually oscillating switches and more consistent strength. Gary lead around the first mark followed by Nick Noble and Graeme Willcox. These places were swapped over the next run and beat, with Graeme Leading at the final weather mark, followed by Nick and Gary, who both managed to get past Graeme, putting Nick in first place and Gary in second and Graeme in third at the finish. A little further back Rob Smith lead the chasing pack to come in 4th.

The overnight leader was Gary who showed good consistency, with Stuart in second and Nick in third. Weston Sailing club put on a great dinner and the sailors did their best at finishing all the beer behind the bar.

Sunday dawned with some showers which cleared to a building South westerly breeze. The RO managed to lay his course despite the constant wind shifts to get the fleets away. After a change to the SI's, the Contender class was away first, now sailing a trapezoid, sausage, trapezoid, with noticeably shorter reaches compared to Saturday. Mike Murley made good use of the switches up the first beat to sneak ahead of Gary, James Spikesley and Graeme at the first weather mark to head off down the reach. With some large gusts coming through, places were always changing, but by the end of the first lap Mike had stamped his mark on this race to hold a comfortable lead over Gary and James, which is how the trio finished up.

Race 5 was delayed as a large wind switch hit just before the start. This meant the RO had to swing the course and re-set the start line. Once the race got under way the wind had built to a steady 20, with some large gusts coming through at times. This kept the fleet on their toes, with many guys going for swims at some point in the race. Ed Presley showed his pace when the wind was up and got the race win ahead of the ever-present Gary and Stuart enjoying the breeze too to take third.

Race 6 got away with many of the 19 strong fleet opting for an early shower. With 9 boats on the start line, the wind had built further. Tis proved to be quite entertaining for those who were watching from the shore, with many spills around the course, including some spectacular weather role for Graeme at the prime location of the leeward mark, right in front of the club house. Ed once again showed his heavy weather skill to hold the rest at bay to take his second race win of the day, and third of the weekend. Stuart followed him in with Gary in third.

This left Gary easily on top of the leader board with 11 points, followed by Stuart in 16 and Ed Presley climbing up the rankings to take the third overall.

A big thank you to Weston Sailing Club for their well-oiled regatta management and warm hospitality.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st2710Gary LangdownHighcliff SC2‑6222311
2nd2706Stuart JonesDatchet Water32‑763216
3rd2708Ed PresleyChew Valley Lake SC1‑9971119
4th695Graeme WillcoxNetley SC‑104347725
5th2709Mark WattsWeston61‑13114426
6th2619Mike Murley‑HughesWeston SC11(RET)6110634
7th705James SpikesleyNetley1211836(DNC)40
8thGBR2407Richard ButtnerRNSA8511‑128840
9th2618Nick NoblePortishead9318(DNC)DNC41
10thGBR2661Nick CurryWeston‑131010109544
11thGBR716Richard FrawksRYA58125(DNC)DNC50
12thGBR2449Rob SmithCastle Cove SC14749(DNC)DNC54
13th2639Ralph DrewWeston SC71515‑1711957
14th2714Martin JonesWilsonian SC16125(DNC)5DNC58
15th589Keith PaulWeston4161814(DNC)DNC72
16th2729Chris HoweOxford15131713(DNC)DNC78
17th2707Paul KarasThorney Island SC18141615(DNC)DNC83
18th10Simon DoddsHythe & Saltwood SC17(DNC)1416DNCDNC87
19th710Keith Le PageWeston SC191719(DNC)DNCDNC95

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