The penultimate event of the Contender Travelers Trophy took place at Hayling Island over the weekend of 23rd/24th September.  With 29 boats signed on it promised to be a very competitive weekend as the winners of the 4 previous traveller events were in attendance.

Start - Contender Open at Hayling Island SCRace 1 started first time in a shifty force 2-3 with a lumpy sea, Gary Langdown picked the shifts and tide correctly and rounded first followed by Rodger White, Matt Aston and Ben Holden. These 4 pulled away from the remainder of the fleet and remained in this order until the 3rd beat when Langdown dropped his mainsheet whilst trapezing allowing White to take the lead. Holden had also started to move forward, overtaking the fading Aston to be hot on the heels of Langdown. On the run Langdown showed superior downwind speed to retake the lead which he held to the finish followed by Holden who had overtaken White up the final beat and Aston 4th.

Race 2 and the wind had become more unstable and with a strong ebbing tide the beat was considerably more unpredictable. Rodger White rounded first followed by Aston, who played his get out jail card coming from nowhere in the last two hundred yards, Philip Dickinson rounded 3rd followed by Ben Holden. Over the next two laps places were gained and lost in the space of a few yards, Aston passed White and held the lead until the final beat when engrossed in covering White he tacked for the wrong finish mark. Tim Holden stayed out of the tide longer by the shore and came in from the left to take the win. A fast finishing Tony White pipped namesake Rodger White to 3rd.

Matt Aston in The overnight leader was Matt Aston but with a forecast of more wind on the Sunday there was still a chance for some of the weightier members of the fleet to pull through.

The forecast was correct and Race 3 started in force 4. Tim Holden survived a poor start, that saw him having to complete some turns to lead a group from the right hand side that included Philip Dickinson, Nick Noble and Richard Butner. There were a number of near misses as the group from the left hand side arrived at the mark with Aston in particular fortunate to be going down the reach in one peace. The leading group held there positions with only Ben Holden able to break into it moving forward throughout the race finally finishing 2nd behind Tim Holden with Philip Dickinson 3rd and Nick Noble 4th.

The final race was lead from the start by Simon Mussel. Having recovered from an earlier bout of “sea sickness” Mussell showed superior speed to dominate the race until a failure to read the sailing instructions proved costly as he sailed past the finish, to allow Tim Holden to take the win, Mussell realising his mistake returned to finish second. Behind these two the race was notable for a return to the fleet of Chris Mitchell who held 3rd until a mistake at the gybe mark led to a costly swim. Aston worked his way forward through the race to finish 3rd followed by Nick Grace in 4th.

With a win in the final race Tim Holden secured the meeting victory with a very creditable 3 firsts followed by Ben Holden, Matt Aston, Gary Langdown 4th and Simon Mussell 5th. As usual Hayling Island Sailing Club provided excellent race management in a venue that once again proved itself as one of the best in the country.                                                           

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