The revival in Contender fortunes continued with 25 boats, many of whom had been coached by Adam Bowers at the new Academy just down the beach a month earlier, gathering at Castle Cove Sailing Club.

The dull overcast weather meant traffic was less than expected so with the exception of “last minute Matt” Aston, all the sailors arrived early and had ample time to admire Rodger White’s sparkling new Bonezzi that was making its maiden appearance. With the race area a glassy mirror the Race Officer postponed for an hour and allowed Matt plenty of time to rig. Of course the wind duly filled in at the original start time – who’d be a Race Officer!

When racing did get underway it was the usual suspects of Scott and Jones leading at the first mark but on the second lap the wind died and shifted leaving those on right hand side and White in particular looking good and after a nervous “run” that turned back from a fetch to a run it was a dream debut for White followed by Jones and David Davies.

A second race was held, this time just once around a trapezoidal course, and it the front it was White, taking a perfect score for the day, just holding off from Aston and Burton. Mercifully the 3rd race was not attempted and the sailors returned ashore to renew acquaintances with “Sick Note Simon” Mussel and Paul “Here for the Beer” Walker. The now obligatory evening curry was a surprisingly sober affair with the waiters unable to supply alcohol in the required quantities so it was left the landlord of the predictably named “Martyrs” in Tolpuddle to complete the evening before taking advantage of Nick Grace’s hospitality for the night.

Sunday was bright and brought enough wind to bring thoughts of blowing “Lightweight White” away upwind. A clean start in full trapezing conditions saw Gary Langdown at the front followed by Jones and Aston. Significantly White held on to score a 5th.

Jones got away with a risky port tack start at the start of the second race of the day but there was no stopping Aston posting his 1st win from Jones and Davies though this race was probably most memorable for Nick Noble’s attempt to beat the world record for the amount of time stuck head to wind when tacking for the windward mark.

So with all the places still undecided, the last race was going to be the decider. Jones sailed a near faultless race to lead at every mark followed by Aston and Langdown.

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