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Allen Contender Inland Championship at Rutland Sailing Club

by BCA 27 Oct 2022 06:32 BST 15-16 October 2022
Allen Contender Inlands at Rutland © Tim Olin /

The final event of the year is one of routine. We know Rutland well, we know it will be shifty, we know it's likely to blow and we know that if it does, the race team will send us out despite the trembling of knees. We know these things, and still there is a great bittersweet joy in the event, Sweet, as as it always delivers, and bitter, as it marks the end of another strong year in the strange world of Contender sailing.

25 boats with owners made the trip to the East Midlands club to compete for a great slab of a trophy so that it can sit idly in a toilet or garage for the year, such is the prestige With tortuous inevitability the breeze on the rigging up phase of the event began to build the tension, most of the competitors made their way to the starting area at the far end of the lake with an increase in knots at every 100m or so, the breeze blowing 20+ knots at the dam end. Large lumps of wind squalled through with some softer bits to follow, just to make the whole arse clenchingly difficult. The first race got away with a clean start with Tom Hooton winning the pin end and just squeezing out in front he made his way to the left hand side of the course waiting for the opportunity to tack right which proved to be the favoured side. Ben Holden manged to tack earlier and got the windward mark in first followed by Tom and Ed Presley who had also banged right, they then managed to sail down the first tight reach in screaming 2 foot conditions, followed by the baying pack. This looked to be the set finish positions as no-one wanted to make any flare moves in this breeze, that was until Stuart jones made the most variable last beat to get into second in a typical flare move. Ben took an uncontested win followed by Jones, Ed and Tom. Not bad for an occasional sailor.

The next race got under way with an individual recall flag going up and a few people electing to go back. Ed Presley found the left side agreeable again and just rounded in first ahead of Simon Mussell who decided to hit the mark in celebration and was never heard from again. Ed took a commanding lead in the race thanks to a massive gust on a reach that no one else found, he was followed by Graeme Willcox who was showing solid legs in the windy conditions, with newcomer Tim Holden chasing around in 3rd.

Most improved sailor Simon Mussell got off the line in the final race at the pin, the line was even but a consistent wind bend after 200 yard made it worth the risk, Simon showed his pace to make it to the first mark in P1 followed by Tom Hooton and Ed Presley, Tom briefly took the lead on the second reach when he manged to get a gust but was overhauled back on the work by Simon's boat speed, Ed managing to follow him through. These 3 boats were able to create a gap to the pack, Simon was able to keep out of trouble and find better wind on the final reaches to the finish, with the remainder of the race all very gentlemanly as no one appeared to have the energy for a renewed assault.

The pace at which the RO was able to turn the races around meant two things, forget trying to eat your sandwiches in between races and we would be in the bar very early, but still just as exhausted, so the thought of too much beer was avoided with tactical coffees and polite chat about the upcoming world championships. Overtime there was revolution of moaning about aching body parts and discussions on what time we could start drinking to sooth the pain. The overnight results looked good for Ed Presley with a 1,2,3 on the score sheet 6 points clear of Simon Mussell with a 6,5,1. The forecast of light breeze on the Sunday would surely turn all that upside down.

The horror of middling breeze turned out to be true and with it very large shifts and patches of no wind just to really delight the sailors. Obviously there only one man for this job. To begin with Ed Presley managed to make a fist of it by getting out of the Pin in good shape and leading at the windward mark, sailing into a breeze hole ate any advantage and by the leeward mark the pack was together again, Stuart Jones made a move on the second beat and was never challenged, Gary Langdown picked the shift better than most to make large gain for second leaving Ed with a useful third.

More of the same followed but in a lessening wind of 8 knots, This time Jones was buried in the pack at the start, but led a team that decided that banging the left might work, it did (of course), those in the middle wept. From here on out many shifts and place changes could not destabilise Jones's lead even though Graeme Wilcox was slowly chipping away all race to take Second, Simon Mussell, returning after a tiller breakage, made big gains on the same upwind to take third.

The final race was now in very light wind, but the Pin still yielded the best starts, Tom Hooton won it and sped off only to tack before the lay line, it looked as thought those who had gone all the way left would come reaching into the windward mark, however Tom managed to eek enough distance to make the tack and round first with Tim and Ben Holden in close company. These two lost out down wind as Ed Presley and Richard Franks wriggled through, but it was all won back as they took the risk of going hard right up the final beat, with Roger white and Neil Ferguson also making gains in this direction. Tom was the only leader not to succumb to this move and he was able to keep in front to the line with Tim and then Ben Holden following.

The tight racing of the day had Stuart Jones on Equal points with Ed Presley, with Stuart winning on countback, a fact lost on Ed until he was asked to stand on the lower section of the podium. Graeme Wilcox came in third.

Once again Rutland had delivered a great event with flawless management both on the water and ashore, we are back again next year to repeat this worthy routine.

As the last event of the contender calendar, it also allowed us to wrap up the travellers trophy sponsored by Allen, and give out the hefty prize haul, the winner of the TT is Graeme Wilcox, with Simon Dodds taking the Silver fleet and Roger White the Bronze. The Under 25 winner is Nathan McGory, and the biggest improvement was by young Simon Mussell, all winners received a generous voucher for Allen kit.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelm NameClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st2706Stuart JonesDatchet Water SC26‑811616
2nd2708Ed PresleyCastle Cove SC3123‑10716
3rd695Graeme WillcoxNetley Sailing Club52‑742417
4th678Thomas HootonRYA4‑7367121
5th2503Tim HoldenHalifax SC8347‑19224
6th2420Simon MussellHighcliffe651(DNC)31429
7th2315Ben HoldenHalifax SC1(OCS)6912331
8th2484Gary LangdownHighcliffe79‑1429936
9th716Richard Franks ‑12129551041
10th2449Robert SmithCastle Cove SC9135(OCS)61144
11th2383David DaviesLoch Ryan & Prestwick SC13812114(DNC)48
12th2607Carl TagoeOXford Sailing Club114108‑221649
13th2713Ben Hawkes 10(DNF)151081760
14th2702Chris Boshierthorpe bay yacht club‑14101314111260
15th2733Neil FergusonYorkshire dales sc1514‑171217866
16th2714Martin JonesWilsonian SC161711‑19131370
17th2730Adrian SmithHythe & Saltwood Sailing Club‑19111813141975
18th2423Simon DoddsHythe & Saltwood Sailing Club1716161715‑2081
19th2751Richard ButtnerRNSA / RYA1815‑1915181884
20th712Rodger WhiteKing George SC(DNC)DNCDNC1816587
21st2729Chris HoweOxford Sailing Club2018(DNC)16202195
22nd2707John McLeanDDPSS(DNF)DNFDNC202115104
23rd696Tony CookDowns s/c(DNC)DNCDNCDNFDNCDNC120

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