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Contender Open meeting at Oxford Sailing Club, 13/14 April 2013 by Chris Howe

 

Sixteen Contenders visited Oxford SC on April 13th and 14th for the fourth travellers trophy event.  Three races were held back to back on the Saturday afternoon in a brisk and gusty southerly.  Race 1 got underway promptly only to be abandoned after 2 laps as the leeward mark had dragged its anchor and was on the reservoir wall despite the best efforts of the race team. The restart saw the competitors making the most of the 'practice' race with about half the fleet tacking early and going up the right side of the beat.  Taylor led at the windward mark, closely followed by Jones and Hudson.  The first reach demonstrated the gusty nature of the breeze with some spectacular capsizes at the gybe mark.  The fleet went hard right for the next beat and experienced some massive gusts and lulls on the approach to the windward mark. The final run saw Taylor take the gun followed by Jones and Hudson.

 

Race 2 was sailed in a strengthening wind - after a clean start, thanks to the long line set by the Race Officer the fleets split with half favouring the right which proved to be slightly less favourable due to the gusts and holes. Jones was narrowly in front of Taylor at the first mark.  Places changed frequently further down the fleet as wipe-outs occurred on the run and reaches.  On the final run the right paid and Howe gained 4 places to finish behind Jones, Taylor and Hudson.

 

The wind had increased further and the last race of the day was sailed by 13 boats.  Massive holes in the wind favoured a port tack approach to the windward mark as demonstrated by Jones who again was first boat to it.  Jones managed to hold off both Taylor and Hudson for the remainder of the race.

 

Sunday dawned bright and warm with a 25 mph wind with 35 mph gusts, as a result only eight boats started race 4.  The wind had swung more Easterly and so the right side of the beat paid, Jones again took the lead early in the race and was hotly pursued by Taylor and Tagoe.  Jones kept his nerve and still led at the end.  As the conditions had worsened the Race Officer abandoned the remaining two races and so Jones won the BDS trophy for the second year running.

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