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Allen Brothers

Allen Contender Travellers Series at Broadstairs Sailing Club

by Adrian Smith 26 Sep 2022 17:18 BST 24-25 September 2022
Allen Contender Travellers Series at Broadstairs © Chris Boshier

The Contender fleet returned to Broadstairs Sailing Club for the latest round in the Allen Travellers Series. It was a weekend that will be remembered for close competition and many war stories!

Racing started in overcast, windy and rough conditions (launching amid surfers should have given us a clue), with 18 - 25 kn wind over the end of the flood tide. The wind and sea state meant that it was necessary for starts to be off the club line and, with the windward mark not far offshore, spectators were given a grandstand view, particularly of boats who risked tacking close inshore (of which, more later).

The BSC crew set a good course. Thankfully, given the wind strength, the reaches weren't too tight, as, whilst two-footing it could be fast, it could also be (and was for some) a recipe for a much slower, wetter outcome! The gybe mark saw plenty of carnage as it was far enough offshore to be out of the relative shelter of the headland - hence max wind and steep waves. Simon Dodds, for one, retired after an exhausting wipe out there.

The results of race 1 set the scene for much of the weekend with the first three places closely contested between Carl Tagoe, Stuart Jones and Graeme Wilcox (in this race finishing in that order).

For the second race the tide had turned and the wind moderated (just a little) making the sea-state a bit more manageable. The top positions swapped round, this time Graeme getting the bullet, Carl in third and Stuart another second place. Local knowledge and practice was in evidence as Peter Noble sailed to a good fourth place.

Elsewhere in the fleet attrition continued. Ed Presley's mast came down due to a broken forestay eye, whilst James Spikesley (who had scored a good fourth in race 1) unfortunately re-modelled the leech of his sail by being launched into it on a capsize !

Any complacency over the conditions was blown away (literally) as the wind rose again for the third race of the day. Race 1's results were repeated with Carl getting the win, Graeme third and Stuart - yes, of course - second. Peter Noble and Adrian Smith battled it out for the next positions with Pete holding on well for another fourth.

They transpired to be the final finishers as, with others already ashore due to broken boats, exhaustion, or discretion, the last competitor on the water proceeded to have a "mare".

For Chris Boshier, whose day began badly through enduring huge hold ups at the Dartford Crossing things were about to get worse. The waves inshore were big and confused due to bounceback off the sea wall. Chris perhaps ventured a bit too close inshore and as he accelerated out of a tack was met by a steep, breaking, wall of water. This stopped the boat dead in its tracks, but not Chris, who was flung forwards into his shroud, causing a "broken" ear (who knew that was even a thing).

Subsequently heading ashore (ear leaking much red stuff) Chris had the further misfortune to be rolled in the surf, breaking his mast!

As ever, Broadstairs SC laid on a great evening meal for the sailors to enjoy with beers and their war stories from the day. Sadly Chris didn't get back from having his ear patched up before closing time.

Based on the forecast and warm words from the locals most of us were looking forward to a slightly less "extreme" second day. And so it appeared as Sunday morning dawned with sunshine, seemingly less wind and a smoother sea. Race 4 got off to a prompt start and Carl continued his winning ways. This time Graeme took second place with Ed (mast now reinstated) in third.

For race 5 the wind, which had been increasing during the previous race, really kicked in again, with some big shifts and gusts as it came off/around the cliffs. Of even more note was that the tide had turned and was now running strongly upwind. The sea state rapidly lumped-up. The tidal travelator meant that the beat became short and it was really easy to overstand the windward mark.

After the first fire-hose reach the fleet arrived at the gybe mark more closed bunched than those of us with nervous dispositions could cope with. Your author decided to make a wide rounding - focused only on staying upright. This was wise as it turned out as there was some coming together of boats inside me which ended Pete Noble's day.

The wind and waves down the second reach were by now truly epic, with the leeward mark only making its presence known occasionally when it rose out of the wave troughs. After another quick, lumpy, beat and a tricky run against the flushing tide the race was shortened, with Stuart managing to get the top spot followed by Graeme and Carl. Adrian managed to hang on (trust me, I was literally hanging on) for fourth.

With the overall result still in the balance, and with conditions right on the edge, the race officer banged off the final, shortened, race for the diminished fleet. Ed's overnight re-rigging proved to be good enough to enable him to take his first race win. Stuart was back to his regulation second place, Carl was third and Graeme fourth.

After the numbers were crunched to separate them on countback, the overall winner of the open was Carl, with Stuart (you guessed it) second, Graeme following closely in third and Adrian in fourth. As well as to Allen, our sponsors, thanks go to all the friendly volunteers (afloat and ashore) at Broadstairs Sailing Club for putting on another great event.

Overall Results:

PlaceSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Points
12607Carl Tagoe1‑311339
22706Stuart Jones222‑4129
3695Graeme Wilcox31322‑411
42730Adrian Smith‑76564DNS27
52718Peter Noble8445DNF(DNC)29
62708Ed Presley6(DNC)DNC35133
72702Chris Boshier55DNF(DNC)DNCDNC53
82423Simon DoddsDNF(DNC)DNC7DNSDNC60
9705James Spikesley4DNFDNC(DNC)DNCDNC66
10=2376Peter Giffen(DNC)DNCDNCDNFDNCDNC83

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