Eleven local Contenders arrived for the fleet’s first visit to Deal in the second experimental one-day meeting of the year.

Downs is known for the warmth of its welcome and this was no exception. Sledges for the steep shingle beach and a well-rehearsed beach crew for launching and recovery and four back to back races set by PRO David Webb.

The first start was clean in breezes just enough for trapezing. Peter Dives led from the line. The fleet split between heading inshore for the slower current or offshore for breeze. Adrian Smith showed pace to arrive at the windward mark first followed by Peter, Dan Hollands and Brian Whitmey. The Dan and Peter contest eventually went Peter’s way with Brian also rolling Dan for third but a navigation error by Brian let Dan back in. Eventually Adrian and Peter extended their command Brian to recovered to take  third.

In race two Chris Boshier was on top at the first mark, Peter second, chased by Adrian. The resulting duel eventually went the way of Adrian with Chris extending his lead to take the win.

The race three breeze saw the heavyweights smiling again, but all were affected by a building tidal stream. Peter was first at the windward, Adrian second and Chris in third. At the first turn Adrian capsized, taking pressure of Peter until the final reach. Then the wind dropped and the strong tide turned the reach into a close fetch. Adrian spotted Pete was struggling to lay the mark and sailed high to take the win.

By race four the breeze filled in properly. Off the start Adrian got caught in traffic, Chris stormed into the lead only to round the wrong mark. Peter rounded the correct mark in first place, Chris and Adrian recovering quickly through the traffic to re-establish the race order. Chris eventually won with Peter second and Adrian third.

Overall the fleet split into three tightly contested groups. Adrian Smith winning the event over Chris Boshier and Peter Dives. One point separated 4th from 7th and the tail end of the fleet was equally strongly contested.

Downs SC should be thanked and congratulated. The PRO and team ran four races in tricky conditions and the shore team ensured that everyone got ashore undamaged .

1. 710, Adrian Smith, Hythe & Saltwood
2. 2522, Chris Boshier, Thorpe Bay
3. 2505, Peter Dives, Eastbourne Sovereign
4. 2303, Brian Whitmey, Bough Beech
5. 2407, Richard Buttner, RNSA
6. 563, Daniel Hollands, Downs SC
7. 696, Tony Cook, Downs SC
8. 2318, Alan Mollett, Downs SC
9. 644, Tom Coley, Hythe & Saltwood
10. 637, Nigel Cureton, Downs SC
11. 701, Steve Owen, Herne Bay

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