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Allen Contender Open at Weston Sailing Club

by Stuart Jones 19 Jul 2022 10:57 BST 16-17 July 2022
Contenders at Weston © Nick Curry

Over the very hot weekend of the 16th and 17th July twenty-four Contenders descended on Weston SC for the seventh leg of the Allen Travellers Series, the weekend being shared with RS700s.

On Saturday, with no wind forecast but a very sunny warm day the sea breeze was likely to set in from the south east-ish. By the first start, the wind was just enough for trapezing. With the tide flooding, those that made a good start or had worked out that the left inshore route would be favoured came out on top. The bad starters and maybe the pond sailors went and sat out in more adverse current. A local threesome of James Spikesley, Graeme Willcox and Richard Franks spotted the correct way and pulled well clear to finish the trapezoid course in that order.

The second race, with the sea breeze now setting in nicely, was still a rush to the shore, as the current, whilst slowing, was still a factor. Most of the fleet were extremely keen at the start as a tack off due to starting incompetance was the best way to slip down the fleet. Graeme and Richard were again showing well to finish second and third, but another local Mike Murley-Hughes slipped in to the lead at the end.

The last race of the day, sailed now in a fine full trapezing sea breeze, with a slight ebb, meaning you could now head off to the right. Graeme picked his way through the fleet to take the win from Mike. Mark Watts, another local, this time came third in his bid to get to the bar early, mainly so he could pull some pints. There's a pattern of local knowledge in these results or something going on here, maybe it's just that there's good sailors in the area.

Saturday night was well catered for by the club with a local curry house delivery. Beer and hard luck stories were flowing particularly from those who decided to ignore any current on the course. Some lessons learnt but probably to be ignored sometime soon.

On Sunday the gradient wind was nicely up from the South-ish and being added to at start time by the building sea breeze, so there was a bit more solid trapezing than previously. With the downwind pumping flag raised it was going to be lively.

As always the start and first beat were crucial, with the inshore route again paying. However, spotting where the windward mark was from all that way on the left was a challenge. Ed Presley saw it early to avoid the festival of overstanding which at least saw some exciting if unnecessary reaching. He took that one by some distance with Simon Mussell showing his legendary breezy weather speed to come in second. Some non-locals at last. Graeme adding a third to put himself well clear overall.

The next race was raced in the most wind of the day with the current now pretty slack. At the finish it was almost back to a normal order but with self-confessed poor starter and pondy Stuart Jones finally getting some sort of form together to finish second to Graeme with Simon third. This gave Graeme the meeting overall, very comfortably, but the show continued with a lap of honour in the last race just for good measure.

With the wind now slowly decreasing and the current slightly ebbing, Stuart, with an uncharacteristically good start, in just his weather, proved that the second wasn't just a flash in the pan. He eventually gained a decent lead on the last run from Graeme who just about held off Mike to really make sure that he had won the event. Mikes third was just enough for him to hold off Richard and Stuart for second. Stuart, in fourth, being overjoyed to gain the much un-coveted report writers position.

Thanks should go to all at Weston who made it a great weekend of sailing and socials with some volunteers stepping in at the last moment due to Covid absences. It was a good way to avoid the oppressive heat and light winds further inland, let's hear it for sea breezes.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st695Graeme WillcoxNetley221‑3128
2nd2619Mike Murley‑HughesWeston10129‑17325
3rd716Richard FranksWeston335‑1110425
4th2706Stuart JonesDatchet‑1111662126
5th2484Gary LangdownHighcliffe8‑14444727
6th2709Mark WattsWeston493‑137528
7th2708Ed PresleyChew Valley‑137815930
8th705James SpikesleyNetley1610513(DNC)35
9th2420Simon MussellHighcliffe1581223(DNC)40
10th678Tom HootonRYA6127108(DNC)43
11th2607Carl TagoeOxford‑14109761244
12th615David BateWeston95‑1515111050
13th2747Tony BrooksOxford‑1741116161461
14th2711Duncan WardLymington Town713188‑201561
15th2449Rob SmithCastle Cove518‑221791362
16th2661Nick CurryWeston‑1917171412666
17th2730Adrian SmithHythe & Saltwood121513‑19151166
18th2714Martin JonesWilsonian1820141214(DNC)78
19th2729Chris HoweOxford1619‑232221886
20th2751Richard ButtnerRNSA20‑211618181688
21st666Bill HootonBurton2123202119(DNC)104
22nd712Rodger WhiteKing George231619(DNC)DNCDNC110
23rd2447Stuart DoeThorney Island2424212022(DNC)111
24th2746Simon ForbesWeston222224(DNC)DNCDNC120
25th2639Ralph DrewWeston(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC130

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