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9 local boats and 12 visitors turned out for the ESSC open which would provide the last opportunity for the Contender fleet to hone their skills before the Nationals at Filey.

 

A fluctuating force 2 breeze allowed the boats to get off the beach easily and the race team to get racing in on time. The light wind coupled with a decent swell made it annoyingly difficult to achieve top speed, but in race 1 Mike Murley made the best fist of it and successfully held off the 4 or 5 chasing piranhas to take the win. After a poor start Stuart Jones made it back to 2nd ahead of Martin Frary in 3rd.

 

Race 2 was a similar affair, Stuart Jones started to remember who he was and won it with Frary and Matt Aston keeping him honest in 2nd and 3rd  respectively.

 

The wind piped up a bit and shifted for the 3rd race, the fleet converged at the committee boat end which was mistake; as was proved by Martin Jones who achieved a faultless port tack flyer with no other boat within 20 yards of him. This gave him a decent lead for most of the race but some downwind tussling between Stu Jones and Matt Aston coincidentally got them to the front with Jonesy just taking it.

 

The leader after the first day was Stuart Jones, after the evening meal he was presented with a new perennial trophy dedicated to the memory of long time Eastbourne Sovereign member Pete Wadman who passed away recently. Pete had been a very keen and well liked Contender sailor for many years who would have doubtless been involved with this event had been able to.

 

As Sunday dawned it was clear that its was windier with a lot more swell, initial worries about not getting off the beach were dispelled by some Contender lunacy and a very good beach party.

 

The increase in breeze did not however change the fortunes ‘up the front’ with Jones leading home from Matt Aston and Martin Frary with Eastbourne local David pike turning his best result in 4th.

 

Race 5 started in the best breeze so far, this still did not slow down Jones who lead from start to finish chased by Ed Presley, and Martin Jones. Matt Aston had a bad first beat but was able to work hard back to 3rd passing Martin. If only he had started at the front! The fleet were making good using of the hairy first reach, causing some ‘disco knees’ to be seen.

 

In the final Race the wind had swung once more making a port biased line, Aston, Jones and Presley started on the pin together, with Jones the first to tack off. This move looked to pay off as Aston and Presley had over stood. Coming into the windward mark incompetence turned to glory as Aston and Presley rounded 1st and 2nd . Aston had forged a small lead by the gybe mark but brilliantly decided to capsize for good measure. Presley ,Jones and Carl Tagoe battled for the rest of the race.  Jones took it with Presley 2nd and Tagoe 3rd.

 

The event had been run beautifully with good racing had by all. Stu Jones made it look a bit too easy this time and had made himself a target for the nationals in the process. He rolled out his old faithful  ‘A’ speech, and we all went home happy.

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