Magic Marine Craftinsure Contender Nationals- Pwllheli S.C.   -  10th – 13th May
Around forty optimistic Contender sailors gathered on the picturesque Lleyn Peninsular for their National Championships hosted by Pwllheli S.C.
The slightly smaller than usual entry was probably partly due to the forecast of very light winds for the weekend. For once the weather gurus were on the ball and the hottest start to May since records began was to become the dominant feature of the regatta.
With absolutely no wind available to the competitors or Race Officer for the first three days spirits were definitely starting to flag .
The last day however finally produced some easterly breeze and the scheduled two morning races were extended to three shortened courses to constitute a National Championship.
Lord Sebastian Coe  on a pre-Olympic trip to PSC was on hand to watch the fleet launch, shaking hands with some and marvelling at the young athletic Contender sailors in action.
Race one got underway promptly with surprisingly no general in about ten knots of breeze. At the windward mark Stacey Bray came in from the left  to just round ahead of Gary Langdown and Simon Mussell. By the end of the reaches Langdown had the lead and the group were joined by Graham Scott.
 On the second beat Langdown, Bray and the rest of the leading bunch went right allowing Scott to move up to third despite taking a penalty at the leeward mark. The finish was at the end of the run with the positions unchanged.
Race two again started without a general recall but five boats were pulled out at the windward mark adjudged OCS. With no discard this put paid to the overall chances of front-runners Stuart Jones ,Martin Frary and Matt Aston.
This time it paid to stay in pressure in the middle and  Bray, Mussell and Ben Holden rounded together.
Another short race saw  Holden win from Bray and Mussell with Nick Noble in fourth.
Langdown recovered incredibly well from a poor start and a capsize to salvage a fifth place and stay in contention.
With no discard, consistency was the key and going into the final race, Bray held a slender one point lead over Holden who in turn was one point ahead of Langdown.
However the lack of discard also meant that Scott, Mussell and Duncan Ellis still had an outside chance of overall victory.
Another clean start (just two OCS- Frary collecting his second of the day) saw Bray at the pin with Langdown nearer the middle. A slight Starboard lift put Langdown into a controlling position and he led at the first mark from Jones, Peter Dives , Mussell and Scott. Bray and Holden were back down the fleet a little and unable to put any pressure on Langdown.
The reaches allowed very little place changing but the second beat favoured the right hand side allowing Dives and Scott to move up closer behind Langdown.
However he held on easily to  the downwind finish to take the race win and with it his first Contender Nationals.
Thanks to Pwllheli Sailing Club for making us welcome, and oursponsors Craftinsure and Magic Marine for the prizes.

1  G. Langdown 
2  S. Bray 
3  B. Holden
4  G. Scott 
5  S. Mussell 
6  D. Ellis 
Silver fleet D. Ellis 718
Bronze fleet M. Blewett 705     (20th overall)
Junior              Tom Hooton    654     (27th overall)
Overseas          E B van Veen  NED2392.

1  Gold  2421 Gary Langdown         
2  Gold  2405 Stacy Bray                    
3  Gold  2315 Ben Holden                 
4  Gold  720 Graham Scott                
5  Gold  2372 Simon Mussel       
6  Silver  718 Duncan Ellis               
7  Silver  2404 Roger Gates          
8  Silver  696 Tony White                 
9  Silver  2373 Mike Murley             
10  Silver  678 Bill Hooton              
11  Silver  2314 Roger White         
12 Gold  707 Peter Dives               
13  Silver  1771 Alan Mollatt            
14  Siver  2263 Richard Batten     
15  Gold  2376 Nick Nobel             
16  Silver  694 Chris Boshier        
17  Gold  701 Stuart Jones              
18  Gold  702 Matt Aston                   
19  Gold  716 Paul Ross               
20  Bronze  705 Myles Blewett      
21  Silver  675 David Gautier         
22  Silver  697 Chris Howe             
23  Silver  2423 Sandy Clapman  
24  Gold  589 Keith Paul                 
25  Silver  686 Tony Brooks          
26  Silver  2392 Ben Van Veen     
27  Bronze  654 Tom Hooton        
28  Bronze  380 Colin Butler         
29  Gold  646 Martin Frary                 
30  Bronze  604 P J Alison            
31  Bronze  557 Ian Brooks          
32  Silver  2406 Ed Presley          
33  Bronze  445 Paul Green          
34  Gold  2383 David Davies       
34  Bronze  622 Tim Humphries  
34  Gold  713 John Browett          
34  Gold  2318 Tim Holden          
34  Bronze  38 Dan Webb             

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