RACE 1 - by Simon Mussell

Race 1 bean in strengthening 10-15 knot breeze from the West.

The race officer set a port bias line and after on recalled start we saw the fleet split with lead boats going left, then up the middle.  At the first windward mark 2005 World Champ Jan Von de bank was first followed by Danish legend Soren Andreason and the Big I Andrea Bonezzi and Simon Mussell.

The reaches saw the front 5 boats build something of a lead over the chasing pack.  As the race progressed the wind slowly built in strength with circa 15-20 knots recorded towards the end.

As the fleet rounded the bottom mark for the last time Andrea, Soren and Jan were close together with Bjarke Johnsen sailing DEN 7 and Simon Mussel fighting it out for 4th place.  The finish saw Soren claim victory, Andrea 2nd, Jan 3rd and B Johnsen 4th with Simon coming in 5th and therefore writing this report.

RACE 2 - by Richard Batten

At the briefing the Class Chairman announced that reports must include quotes from other competitors.

Race 2 was sailed in the same wind that race 1 finished in probably gusting to the top end of Beaufort force 4 and sailed in lovely sunshine with a bit more chop and swell than the first race with the tide approximately in the same direction as the wind, North westerly?

After one recall the race started cleanly with Jan van der Bank and Soren Andreason doing well by starting at the committee boat and tacking towards the right immediately. However at the windward mark the well known up wind speed demons Bonezzi and Mussell came from the left middle and rounded together with Van der Bank with Bonezzi leading. Next was Nick Noble who had sailed a storming first beat followed by Richard Batten followed by Soren (who for some reason had gone to the left middle at the end of the beat) shouting at Batten to hurry up, he was so shocked he dropped his mainsheet, when Batten told Soren after, he asked for this to be included in the report.

On the first reach Soren passed Batten (after telling him he was going to slowly again!!) and then Noble, who was then passed by Batten. The leading 3 were too far ahead to see what was happening, although Mussell said he closed the gap on Andrea.

On the second reach Graham Scott sailed over Noble, Soren had closed up on the top 3. The top 4 then continued to pull further ahead, with the hard right side paying.

After the run on the final beat Mussell couldn’t get his board down, but managed to pip Vander Bank at the line.

1 Andrea, 2 Soren, 3, Simon Musell, 4, Van der Bank, 5, Richard Batten, 6, Graham Scott

Quotes from top competitors (in their opinion),

Mussell “Just put I was bloody fast, oops did I just say that in front of your children?”

Gary Langdown – “NO COMMENT”

Graham Scott – “I wasn’t going to try and improve my result, otherwise I’d have to write the report”

Andrea - “ well done Richard you sailed really fast, I think I undercharged you by 50 Euro on your new centreboard”

Nick Grace  - “ as yes Mr 5th welldone”

Tony White – “230 Euros and the shower gel is warmer than the shower”   

Special “Merci beaucoup” to the “Securite” RIB’s  who did a good job of clearing the  yachts that tried to sail through the course, by nudging them out of the way when required.

The Race committee also set a good course with both reaches being fully trapeze-able.

RACE 3 - by: Jan von der Bank

Another sunny, hot morning at La Rochelle Yacht Club suggested another sea breeze would set in for the third race of the Contender European Championship. Leaving harbour at low water, on the race course the tide was pushing into the bay again, with the wind quickly building to a good 15 knots. The start line was slightly favoured at the boat end and after one general recall race three got underway. Being the first one next to the committee boat, it was quite easy to pull off a good start, laying over to the right side and undisturbed wind early.

At the windward mark, the usual Bonezzi was leading already, with Bajarke from Denmark being second. With a little distance between the next three boats – Richard Batten, Gary Langdon and Jan von der Bank – they were fighting for their positions throughout the whole race. Somewhat off the spot was Søren, who had started into the day equal points first with Andrea, after having shown some nerve at the start and not being among the top ten at the first mark.

The wind increased a bit, also moving a bit to the right and on the last beat Andrea lead by a fair bit. Bjarke came second untroubled too. The next three fought a hard battle, leaving myself the doubtable honour of coming fifth and having to write this report.

Simon Mussell was close behind and Søren eventually managed to work himself back up to 8th place.

Great racing with Andrea showing great speed and leaving he actual boat racing to others.

RACE4 – by Ed Presley

The wind had increased to a force 4-5 for the 4th race, finally conditions acceptable for the contender, this would separate the men from the boys.
Out of the blocks Si Mussell from the pin end built up a 20 yard lead to the windward mark although a harness emergency meant that this lead was reduced by the fast closing Andrea Bonezzi.
Bonezzi managed to get past Mussell on the 2nd beat and then pulled out an enviable lead. Mussell showed impressive speed to reclain the lead down the run but was again the loser up the final beat, Bonezzi went on to take the gun.
A fast improving Bjarke Johnson came through the fleet to take 3rd with Matt Aston hanging on to 4th.
hopefullt the conditions will remain for the week.

Obviously Ed did bloody well too as he took 5th and had to write the report above!!!

RACE 6 – by Emilio Betta

First two beats in the middle of the course arrived to the top mark within the first five, i lost a few boats in the downwind legs because of faulty boat handling, hen the firth beat i went hard to the left with a huge gain !!!!

RACE 8 – by Bjarke B Johnson

Forced sitting there doing the minutes for the 8th race is what you get out of being 5th in that race - great rule Neil :-)
The second race of the day was a little as expected in terms of wind conditions. The seabreeze picked up even more and gave us something like 18-20 knobs. After two attempts we managed to get started - or some of us. ITA 74 (Silvio) starting just a little too early.

First tack was pretty much speed speed and speed. Both sides of the course came to the first mark within a fair distance. Simon Mussell showed once again that he is superman in the strong wind - leaving Andrea on the second position, Soren Andreasen on the 3rd and Bjarke Johnsen on the 4th. and your young German friend Alexander on the 5th position.
The reaches didn't really changed anything except for the 3 first boats increasing the distance to the rest of the fleet. Second tack was everyone going to the starboard side of the course. Simon and Andrea was battling in the front but Simon was too fast for Andrea.
Soren showed good speed too and got closer while Alexander went like a rocket and passed Bjarke without any trouble. I bet we will see more of Alexander in the future.

Final result for the race ending up being just unchanged:

1. Simon
2. Andrea
3. Soren
4. Alexander
5. Bjarke

Around 12 boat didn't managed to complete the race due to damaged gear, the strong conditions etc.


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