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Contender Travellers Trophy at Highcliffe Sailing Club

by Gary Langdown 1 May 21:27 BST 27-28 April 2024
Contender Travellers Trophy at Highcliffe © Ken Fowler

After the first two events of the Contender Travellers Series were blown off, if was a relief for the Contender fleet to finally get the season under way at one of the premier locations in the UK, Highcliffe, over the weekend of 27/28th April. The venue did not disappoint as although unseasonably cold the venue and race team provided six high quality races over the two days.

The Contender's equivalent of Max Verstappen, Graeme Wilcox, again dominated the event, however unlike Formula 1 the rest of the fleet did appear to be making progress with Graeme only winning three of the six races this weekend, the other race wins being shared between the veteran Stuart Jones, Tom Hooten and Gary Langdown.

Despite the tide holding the fleet back Race 1 incurred the only general recall of the weekend and started in a 10-12 knot very cold easterly wind, Wilcox led from the first mark establishing a significant lead by the end of the first triangle that was sustained to the end, second was Rob Smith narrowly beating brother Adrian in third.

For race 2 the wind had increased slightly and the pumping flag was up Langdown led at the first mark but was overtaken by Wilcox and Jones on the second beat, it looked as though this was going to be Wilcox's race again but an error misjudging the tide and hitting the leeward mark resulted in turns and allowed Jones to go by and secure the win.

In race 3 Langdown again led for the first half of the race but was overhauled by Wilcox and Adrian Smith on the final triangle. The fleet returned to shore cold but happy, looking forward to the evening's pizza and beer.

Sunday arrived, and the wind had swung to the Northwest, was around 15 knots and again cold. Race 4 was led by Tom Hooten followed by Langdown and Wilcox, Wilcox over took both of them on the second beat to take the win.

In race 5 the wind started to drop and swing to the south west resulting in a number of place changes throughout the race, going down the run the front four of Langdown, James Spikesley, Wilcox and Jones had broken away from the fleet with the race being shortened it should have finished in that order. However, unfortunately, Spikesley didn't realise the race was shortened and turned to go upwind resulting in dropping from second to fourth. Jones showing unexpected tactical ability headed to the committee boat end and managed to overtake Wilcox for second with Langdown just holding on for the win.

Race 6, and the wind was now firmly in the south west blowing 15 knots Tom Hooten used his expanded winter waste line to good effect and lead all the way round, holding off Wilcox in second, Rob Smith crossed the line third but discovered he was OCS resulting in Duncan Ward finishing in third.

After the scores were counted Wilcox was first overall, Jones second and Hooten third.

With the circuit now up and running the Contender fleet are looking forward to the next Travellers event at Hayling Island on 11th & 12th May, followed by a trip up-north to Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club. Then a Contender Training day and 1 day open to be held at Oxford Sailing Club ready for the Nationals at Paignton in June.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
12787Graeme Wilcox1211327
22706Stuart Jones41582618
3678Tom Hooton65926120
42484Gary Langdown1033312320
52730Adrian Smith362117725
62449Rob Smith2104792332
72420Simon Mussell1471248435
8787James Spikesley914894535
92711Duncan Ward1587615339
102702Chris Boshier5131112101048
112708Ed Presley7923523852
122710James Daniels1316101711959
132423Simon Dodds11121314121260
142714Martin Jones1615161052362
152607Carl Tagoe84623232364
16718Stuart Doe18171513131371
176Nick Curry20201816141179
182589Nathan McGrory12191715162379
19666Bill Hooton17111423232388
20712Rodger White191823232323106
21672Trevor Lloyd212323232323113
222383David Davies232323232323115

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