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Contessa 32 National Championship at the Island Sailing Club, Cowes

by Martin Rouse-Collen 9 Oct 2019 18:47 BST 4-6 October 2019
Contessa 32 Nationals at Cowes © Alex Irwin /

The Contessa 32 fleet gathered in the Solent for the National Championship, the last of the 2019 racing events, over the weekend of the 4th, 5th & 6th of October. This year's nationals were hosted by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes. With the tail end of hurricane Lorenzo giving the Solent a whipping, the PRO Peter Dickson and team had a tall order to get the six races in!

The forecast on Friday was for 20 gusting 30 knots, so the racecourse was set in the lea of the island, just east of Osbourne Bay. A 1.5 mile windward-leeward course was set, with shifting gusts at the windward mark sorting the fleet out. Merak II got ahead of the fleet to finish first, with Mary Rose Tudor (MRT) in 2nd and Blanco in 3rd.

After a quick break the fleet was off again on the same course. This time Blanco pulled out the stops to win with Merak II taking 2nd and the Belgian entry Lecas hot on their heels. One thing was sure from the races so far, this event was going to go down to the wire!

Saturday dawned in the eye of the storm. Not a stitch of breeze was seen in the Solent for the 10.30 start. AP raised and we anchored in Osbourne bay to catch some rays. Again the PRO showed us it pays to be patient. At around 12 the light breeze came in from the east 6 to 7kts and off we went. Merak II were 1st to the windward mark followed by Andaxi, Nimbus, Drumbeat, and MRT all in close combat. Merak II looked like they had it in the bag right up to the last tack, but Drumbeat went hard left and snuck in to get the win, with Merak II 9 seconds behind. The same situation was going on for 3rd place with Andaxi ahead of MRT who had also headed off to the left corner coming in fast only to be pipped by Andaxi by half a boat length.

A second Saturday race was looking likely until a big shift to the South east hit and the PRO called it a day.

The Saturday night dinner was extremely well attended by 90 people and was rounded off with speeches, as is the tradition of the class. It was apparent that by the end of the 2nd day, several boats throughout the fleet were having some very tight battles. A new prize, in the form of a bottle of champagne, was offered to the winner of 4 boats who were separated by just a few points, Connie, Carinossa, Starstreak and Coh Karek.

By Sunday the back end of the storm had arrived with 16-25kts of breeze from the west. The start line was set near Hill Head. Race 4, postponed from Saturday, was added to the schedule, so it was going to be a busy day. A windward leeward course was set for races 4 and 5 and then a short round the cans was set for the final race. Blanco went left up the first beat and picked their way up through the lumpy water to get round the windward mark first, followed by Lecas, Bugler of Hornet and Andaxi close behind. The final results stayed in the same order

Race 5 started at midday in the same short chop. Up the front, the first 3 boats were in a tight battle to the end, Blanco, Drumbeat and Merak II, all finishing within 3 minutes of each other after an hour of racing. 4th and 5th were Bugler and Lecas only 14 seconds apart.

The final race of the event started at 13.45 with a round the cans course set for some navigational work. The breeze was settling slightly and the tide had slackened a little by this point. A nice long beat followed by the rolling down wind leg gave the class a nice finish to the event. Blanco once more showed us how it was done, Drumbeat 2nd, Lecas 3rd with Merak II 4th. Again all finishing within 3 minutes of each other.

The hotly contended bottle of champagne race was close to the very end, Starstreak winning by one point to Coh Karek.

The class has ended its Solent racing on a high, with several people reporting one of the best Nationals for some time.

Thanks must go to the Island Sailing Club for the excellent race management and fine hospitality.

Contessa 32 is a one design and extremely competitive racing fleet. Anytime, anywhere and in just about any conditions you can throw at it!

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Contessa 32 nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1CO 682BLANCORay Rouse31‑71117
2CO 401MERAK 11Nick Bradley122‑63412
3CO 651DRUMBEATEldred Himsworth441‑72213
4BEL 629LECASChristophe Declercq‑53525318
5CO 671MARY ROSE TUDOREd & Kate Bell2545‑7622
6GBR 8874YBUGLER OF HORNETDarren Ballard66‑934524
7CO 701ANDAXIDonna & Martin Rouse‑Collen‑77346727
8CO 776NIMBUSDan Shurman89698(DNS)40
9GBR 5500MUSCADET DE HAVELETPeter Sanderson981089(DNS)44
10GBR 3286MINSTREL BOYMartin Carter‑101081010846
11CO 753STARSTREAKRoger Shinton‑13121312111058
1270RCOH KAREKTim Devlin(DNS)DNS121112959
13GBR 6541CONNIEMark Oliver1113111414(DNS)63
14CO 718CARINOSAJo & Keith Sammons1211141313(DNS)63

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