Fab 40! This was the largest Contender open meeting turnout for 10 years.

Who said beautiful racing dinghies were a dying breed!

World, National and European Champions mixed it with numerous new faces to swell the entries to 40, over a weekend which produced close competitive racing for all in unexpectedly stronger than predicted wind conditions.

In race1 ‘novices’ Scott, Aston and Tim Holden managed to raft themselves on port at the committee boat end whilst the rest of fleet got away cleanly on starboard. Luckily for them, the ‘150 or so laps’ meant they had time to claw their way back into the race. However, there was no stopping Jones who eventually won by a country mile from the 3 ‘start line bunglers’.

Race 2 and by now everyone knew that Sandy Clapham was back in a Contender after a year's ‘marriage sabbatical’. Chris Howe and Tony Sawyer showed good speed early on, but it was again Jones who worked his way through to front to finish ahead of Scott, Holden and Langdown.

Following a brief interlude of a curry and ‘sleep-over’ at the ‘Mitchell Towers’ on Saturday night, the fleet resumed battle on Sunday morning.

Ben Holden found the conditions in race 3 to his liking as he extended an unassailable lead to the finish in his new Bonezzi. Nick Noble sailed well, but the closely contested minor places eventually finished Tim Holden, Scott and Aston.

An incident packed race 4 resulted in some very tight racing. Bernard Shapely, Paul Ross, Doug Starr and Marcus Scrace all enjoyed being at the front end. Jones though had the bit between his teeth now and wasn’t going to let his last race blip ruin his day. He won the tussle with Scott followed by Tim Holden and Gimmler.

The last race was a formality as Jones’s nearest challengers opted for an early bath. Langdown did his best to wrestle another bullet from the event winner’s grasp without success. Aston, Metcalfe and Bettle followed to two leaders home.

A big thanks to Oxford SC for a thoroughly enjoyable event, and with interest and enthusiasm running high all looks well for a ‘bumper entry’ at the Porthpean Nationals over 21-24May.

1st GBR 701 Stuart Jones, Datchet
2nd GBR 691 Graham Scott, Porthpean
3rd GBR 2318 Tim Holden, Halifax
4th GBR 702 Matt Aston, Datchet
Silver Fleet:
1st GBR 559 Bernard Shapley, King George
Bronze Fleet:
1st GBR 681 Phil Dickinson, Weston

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