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Allen Contender Open at Oxford Sailing Club

by James Spikesley 25 Apr 12:03 BST 2-3 April 2022
Oxford Contender Open © Adrian Howe

Contender Travellers Series Round 2 was hosted by Oxford Sailing Club and the class was pleased to be back, not quite so please with the forecast of cold temperatures and somewhat fickle wind. 17 class members arrived to get some much-needed practice in before the early nationals in June.

Wind was 5-8 knots with some sunny spells and some cloud, almost on forecast, but had already shown what could be ahead with a 90 degree swing on the way out.

Race 1

A surprisingly clean start by the fleet with a split between the left and right, with many convinced they were correct. In the end it was about who had prayed the most with the left seemingly paying with the first three of Nick Curry, the ever-present Stuart Jones and Chris Howe rounding the windward mark.

Positions remained consistent down the reach and run but the wind dropped for the second beat with some snakes and ladders seeing Graeme Wilcox coming back into the fleet after losing out on the first beat. All things remained even until the final beat where the fleet was blessed with a big squall, which was unfortunately accompanied with some snow. Mike Murley-Hughes took the lead with Graeme accelerating through to second by the windward mark followed by Stuart and Chris.

This was would have been the finishing order if not for Mike having a gear failure at the leeward mark letting Graeme through for the win whilst mike managed to claim second with Stuart and Chris coming through for third and fourth.

Race 2

Following the clouds and squalls the sun came out. Off the start there was defiantly a split fleet of left and right, another chance to find out who was correct. The left side paying with Simon Dodds manging the shifts best to pass the windward mark first with James Spikesley following and managing to tack inside and make the wing mark, which had become more of a beat, and Stuart Jones following. Simon and James managed to get away as the wind continued to reduce. Positions stayed the same down to the leeward mark with Graeme again working his way back through the fleet.

Tactic up the second beat was more about sailing from patch to patch and would depend on who managed to stay lucky. In typical Stuart fashion he worked his way into James and Simon up the beat until a tack out to the right saw Simon and James benefit from breeze out of the left and again rounded the windward mark and made it to the wing mark whilst there was still breeze.

Down the run turned to glass with patience the order of the day, and something contender sailors are heavily blessed with, James managing to eek out his lead with a bit luck but knowing it could all go wrong. Simon and Stuart were joined by Richard Franks who had his own private breeze at the end of the run. James held on for the win whilst Stuart managed to claim second, Richard came through for third and Simon losing out for fourth.

Race 3

Breeze was back in but still shifting first to the windward mark was Graeme who maintained to sail away from the rest of the fleet followed by Richard, James, mike and Stuart. James ran into a slow moving Richard on the run taking himself out with a penalty spin, leaving Mike, Stuart and Richard to fight it out amongst themselves. In the final leg Graeme headed towards the back for the last reach, which had become a beat, followed by Stuart, Mike and Richard. James rounded the mark and headed for slightly more breeze out towards the left, which eventually paid for the finishing order og Graeme, Stuart, James and Mike.

This left the overnight scores of Stuart and Graeme tied for first with James and Richard tied for Third.

Race 4

An ominous Sunday morning with no breeze and the RO hold ashore, the fleet went out with half an hour to cut off and tried to get a race away, without any luck. But with 10 minutes to go the breeze filled in to get a race off.

Graeme was off the line a bit quick and sailed a great race but scored an OCS there was a mixing up of the rest of the fleet as will with local Carl Tagoe picking his way through the shifts to get the win followed by Mike Murley-Hughes and Gary Longdown, getting his best result of the weekend, third.

This cleared up the results, which looked remarkably similar to Datchet, with the Graeme Wilcox winning, Stuart Jones lurking in second, Mike Murley-Hughes third and James Spikesley picking up the glorious fourth spot again.

Overall Results:

PosHelmBoat NameClubSail NoR1R2R3R4Pts
1Graeme Willcox Netley695151OCS7
2Stuart Jones Netley270632267
3Mike Murley‑HughesSpagetti WestonWeston26192DNS428
4James Spikesley  7051113711
5Richard Franks Weston716735815
6Chris Howe Oxford27294713415
7Gary LangdownFeel the NeedHighcliffe2484687316
9Carl Tagoe Oxford2607131010121
8Simon Mussell Highcliffe2420966OCS21
10Nicholas CurryHurry CurryWeston26618911522
11Tony Brooks Oxford27475149923
12Simon DoddsLauraHythe2423144141230
13Nick NobleFundiCastle Cove16521011121031
14Ed PresleyRebel ScumCastle Cove270812138DNS33
15James Daniels  27101516DNS1142
16Martin Jones  27141612DNFDNS45
17Nathan McGroryI'm AlonePoole686171515DNF47

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