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Hartley Boats Contender National Championship at Broadstairs SC - Runners & Riders

by Ed Presley 26 Aug 15:03 BST 6-9 September 2019
International Contender British Championship at Hayling Island © Peter Hickson

Over a long weekend of the 6th-9th September the Contender class will congregate at Broadstairs Sailing Club to thrash out, once again, who is the greatest sailing hero to ever live.

This is a particularly important year as it is one of three years that might be the 50th year of the Contender, I think this one is the international status anniversary (?) but no matter, what is occurring today is the only consideration and that is the 2019 Nationals and furthermore an expected 45 super athletes will command nothing but respect in attempting to obtain this holiest of grails. Here are some of the more likely power players.

  • 2/1 Graham Scott - Perennial no1, Graham is back on form and injury free, unbeatable whenever he's sailed this year and an 2nd at the world underlines this prowess. It is up to the rest of use to apply pressure, of which this summary is part 1. The only slight issue is that Graham is undecided about attending due to a clash of dates, If he does however he will be strong in any wind but more so I the lighter stuff.

  • 3/1 Stuart Jones - another one who has been teaching us to contender for.....some years. Stuart like Graham is good in all winds and tends to grind out decent results regardless of his recent ability to start badly. The current champ won last year against the odds, in breeze that suited heavier chaps, but you can't replace class and even though we think of him as an inland expert, he will be up there pretending it was a fluke.

  • 4/1 Gary Langdown - Potentially the fastest sailor, but sails in extremes, when ahead; unstoppable, when behind; selling all his kit and starting from scratch. Gary has been in the class for a while as well but it doesn't feel that way as he is the king of the comeback, always with new tech and enthusiasm. This year his form has been solid and has been the top sailor in a Hartley boat, hopefully this is the one.

  • 4/1 Simon Mussell - Likes the big wind but is better than given credit for in anything trapezable. Simon hasn't done too much sailing this year but is keen and his boat is back to normal colour so it is hard to know how he will go, sure thing is if it blows he will get a number of bullets.

  • 6/1 Ben Holden - Similar to Simon has not sailed extensively this year and had a crap worlds in the light. Loves the breeze and a pin end start but may struggle against more practiced sailors.

  • 5/1 Rob Smith - Rob has proven he can get off the line in all condition and can hold it all the way around, had a great worlds and has few weaknesses, occasionally throws in a big number but that's less and less frequent. One of the fastest upwind.

  • 7/1 Nick Noble/Carl Tagoe/Ed Presley - all 3 like it breezy and like to able use strength and fitness over the course of an event, Nick will often run a 10K before a day's racing. Not great in the light, they all dislike it and tend to be competing for the same places in all races.

  • 7/1 Richard Batten - 3rd last year, goes well in wind and will analyse every move in advance and retrospect. May let lighter guys past downwind but is aggressive enough to defend.

  • 7/1 Thomas Hooton - Which Tom will turn up? The mega fast one capable of destroying the field or the other one capable of destroying himself- interesting times.

Unknown Quantities

  • Tim Holden - Great sailor with a strong history in Contenders but has been away all summer so almost a newby.

  • Graham Wilcox - Newish to Contenders but has shown flashes of speed in a few opens, clearly a solid technical sailor, if he can master the Contender boat speed he will be difficult to beat especially in mid strength wind.

  • Ian Horlock - Had an awesome worlds with a 6th overall, but is threatening not to come to the Nationals as it's 'too far'. He should, he's getting better with every event, likes it light and tricky.

  • Pete Noble/Adrian Smith - Both well-known light wind winners but with new boats and now on their own local waters it is hard to know how these new variables will pan out.
The Contender fleet has lots of new faces this year so it really is hard to know what the results will be, if you have a Contender please bring it down to Broadstairs to join us, entry is open until the event starts.

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