facebook

 Contender World Championships 2014 at Belmont 16ft Club, Lake Maquarrie, NSW, Australia

68 boats made the journey to Belmont 16ft club on the shore of Lake Macquarrie to compete for the 2014 Contender worlds. This championship has been greatly anticipated after the success and excitement of the 2013 worlds at Como and once again the fleet that arrived contained the best Contender sailors in the world with one exception; current champion Soren Dulong Andreason would not compete meaning that a new world champion would be crowned. In his place the Australian fleet had brought a great number of sailors of real class, from new faces to the world scene to ex World and National Champions returning to the fleet.

The form guide pointed to GBRs Simon Mussell who narrowly lost out to Andreason in 2013. With the expected 18-25 knots Si would fly, but the Australian fleet boasts arguably more big breeze experts. In 2010 Queenslander Matt Mulder proved that he has a different gear in the 20+ knots zone but with no international presents since, the face off would be fascinating. Ex world champ Jono Neate's superb boat handling skills would keep him out front and the blistering downwind pace of Christoph Homier of Germany would also make him a threat. Other Major players include multiple World Champion Andrea Bonezzi who loves the breeze and 2012 World Champion Antonio Lambertini who would be dangerous if the conditions lighten. The Pre world regatta (and Aussie Nationals) were ably won by Mark Bulka who has made huge advances through the Contender fleet in a short time culminating with a 3rd in 2013, these escalating results made Mark the favourite on his home waters.

The Pre Worlds were held in Perfect conditions of 25 knots and 30 degrees and left more questions than answers with many of the top boys keeping their powder dry or suffering gear failure. A slick measurement left time on shore for the fleet to wildly speculate and fiddle with boats. When day one arrived an overcast sky kept the sea breeze from kicking in and resulted in lower winds, the scene could scarcely look more like a spring day on the south coast. Despite this everyone was keen to get going which was proven by the obligatory Contender restarts.

Day 1. Race one belonged to young Brit Tommy Hooton who showed massive confidence to lead the race from start to finish to win his first Worlds race, in 8-10 knots of breeze that he loves. He even took time to lee bow ex World Champion Jono Neate into 2nd place at the finish; ballsy move. Mark Bulka showed his versatility by coming in 3rd. The second race allowed mark to throw down another warning by winning with Jono following and Dan Kohlman showing the strength of Aussie depth by rounding off the top 3.

The first day had removed the form guide as the expected wind had mixed up the order from the off, even so Mark Bulka and Jono Neate looked to be perfectly happy with the adjustment. Day 2 offered more wind at the leeward end but withering back to 10 knots at the top making the racing close with lots of place changing. The experience of Andrea Bonezzi and Simon Mussell were able use this fickle wind to take first and second in the first race of the day with Jono 3rd, keeping his fight alive by gaining ground on Mark who finished 6th. Jono's gains would be blown away in the 2nd race as 4 separate incidents of gear failure would send him in for and early bath. This bad luck was made worse by the metronomic consistently of Mark Bulka who capitalised to take the bullet. 2nd and 3rd went to the contrasting styles of Matt Mulder and Christoph Homier who were enjoying the building breeze. Matt showing that he can sail lower and faster upwind than anyone out there, and Christoph using his aerobic fitness to be in a different gear downwind.

Day 3 would prove to be the lightest yet with race one starting in solid trapezeing weather off the line but dropping to 8 knots after the fleet made the windward mark. The day belonged to Antonio Lambertini with double wins and making it look easy with Andrea Bonezzi, Christoph Homier keeping European dreams alive with 2nds. Only top junior Harry Morton got Australia into the medals with a third. This day had stirred the pot as Mark Bulka and Jono Neate had allowed the rest to catch up. Antonio Lambertini now jumped to 3rd and Christoph Homier not far behind.

The big talk at the bar centred on the fact that the wind forecast for the final two would be big, followed by Massive. Big for day 4 would allow the fleet to get 3 races done so that if day 5 turned ugly there would only be one race to lose. Either way the next races would give a different mix of hopefuls.

Day 4 delivered a nice 15 knots + all day and gave up some glorious racing, good reaches and lots of upwind speed. The first man to handle the situation was Mark Bulka who battled with Jono Neate all the way round the course to prove that these two where good in all conditions. This was the same situation in the 2nd even breezier race with one difference; Matt Mulder annihilated the fleet with a ridiculous show of upwind speed leading Mark Bulka to comment that "Bob Miller never design the boat to be able to go that fast uphill". Mark was now starting to eek out a few point s lead over Jono and these two were pulling away. 3rd place was looking like a battle between Homier and Mulder as Lambertini suffered in the heavier winds. The RO decided to stick in a 3rd race as everyone was clearly enjoying it. The wind dropped back to 15 knots and Jono Neate did everything he needed to give himself a chance at the title by winning with Mark Bulka capsizing in the prestart and still managing to get back to 5th, only obstructed by the not too shaby trio of Bonezzi, Homier and Mulder.

This result set up a superb final day with Jono now 2 points ahead of Mark. The rest of the fleet just hoped the conditions allowed us to go out and witness this 1 race showdown between the two standout talents of the Championships.

Day 5 started off hot with not much breeze but the locals kept all sailors in check by predicting that the direction and sea breeze would combine to make it gnarly. They were right; by launch time 30 knots of breeze had settled in with a confused wave pattern to help things a bit. The race got away on the first attempt but the reality of a big fleet sailing in this became very real soon after with the first work littered with big bear away ducks, fluffed tacks and plenty of capsizes. This sort of nonsense did not affect the leaders; Brett Holly showed how he prefers rancid condition by beating Matt Mulder to the windward, Matt commented that even he was just all over the place whilst Brett looked totally serene. Just behind these were Mark and Jono, nip and tuck down the first fairly broad reach with Andrea Bonezzi and Simon Mussell with them to keep it interesting. Jono capsized at the gybe mark allowing Mark to get a up into 2nd behind Matt Mulder. Jono battled back past Bonezzi and Mussell to get back up to Bulka. He managed to over haul him up the final beat coming 2nd behind Matt Mulder who had clinched 3rd overall from Homier with this performance.

So it seemed that Jono Neate had sailed well to take his 2nd Worlds title but the close sailing between him and Mark Bulka had resulted in a protest to be lodged. Neate was the windward boat. Contact was claimed between the end of Neate's boom and Bulka's back. Bulka won the protest with a member of the jury having witnessed the incident. This result gave the World title to Mark Bulka with Jono in second. The Female World Champion is Jacqueline Ruefenach, from Switzerland who retained her title. The Junior World Champion is Harry Morton from NSW, Harry was 26th, Masters (over 50) Phillip Evans from Queensland who came 10th overall, Grandmaster (over 60) Joachim Harpprecht from Germany, coming 15th overall.

At the Championship dinner Mark thanked Jono for the battle they had had all week and conceded that he would have preferred to win it on the water. Mark had been in superb form all week and it had become very difficult to part the two front runners. He is a deserving Champion and once again the standard at the front of the fleet has been raised by his performance.

The standard of sailing in the fleet is improving all the time. This year Australia showed their strength as they claim the top 3 places, everyone commented on how difficult it has become to crack the top ten with winners of the past having more competition than ever. This year was the first win for a plastic epoxy boat with the top ten split between wood and epoxy 50/50.

The event was beautifully run by the Aussie Contender Association and Belmont 16's. The numbers for an Australian Worlds have risen from 2010 and the class appears to be getting stronger in Oz as well as Europe all the time. Next up is the European championships to be held at Kuhlungsborn in Germany, http://www.contender-2014.de/

Sail No Skipper Sers 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
1 AUS2571 Mark Bulka 21 2 5 2 1 6 [8.0] 1 [6.0] 1 3
2 AUS2323 Jono Neate 25 [68.0Q] 1 3 2 8 4 [68.0F] 3 2 2
3 AUS2408 Matthew Mulder 34 1 4 1 6 [34.0] 10 2 4 6 [30.0]
4 GER551 Christoph Homeier 35 8 3 4 3 2 [17.0] 3 5 7 [17.0]
5 AUS2575 Daniel Kohlman 57 7 6 10 12 5 7 7 [36.0] 3 [26.0]
6 ITA2561 Antonio Lambertini 58 [16.0] 10 11 14 1 1 6 [14.0] 5 10
7 ITA11 Andrea Bonezzi 58 3 2 7 [68.0F] 19 2 5 1 19 [24.0]
8 AUS2468 Geoffrey Fisher 66 6 11 20 8 [38.0] 5 [68.0F] 7 4 5
9 GBR2420 Simon Mussell 77 4 7 14 5 [23.0] 16 8 2 21 [37.0]
10 AUS1753 Phillip Evans 86 10 9 19 13 [30.0] 12 4 10 [28.0] 9
11 NED9 Paul Verhallen 93 12 12 9 9 11 [24.0] 14 11 15 [15.0]
12 AUS2434 Michael Brown 100 [20.0] 18 12 7 16 11 [68.0O] 8 16 12
13 GBR2315 Ben Holden 108 11 8 5 4 [29.0] [43.0] 10 15 27 28
14 ITA40 Luca Bonezzi 114 14 14 [28.0] 19 7 25 15 [68.0F] 9 11
15 GER2555 Joachim Harpprecht 118 32 [39.0] [35.0] 23 3 15 13 16 12 4
16 NED2371 Rene Heynen 118 19 [22.0] 21 15 10 20 [24.0] 9 11 13
17 NED2401 Winfred Westerman 121 18 [38.0] [42.0] 31 4 19 16 19 8 6
18 GBR2572 Ed Presley 126 15 19 16 10 [41.0] 6 17 18 25 [32.0]
19 AUS2530 Clay Cook 126 9 20 8 11 12 [29.0] 21 27 18 [68.0B]
20 AUS2237 Simon Barwood 137 [26.0] 16 6 16 20 21 9 [68.0O] 24 25
21 AUS2263 Richard Batten 147 13 15 24 25 [68.0R] [33.0] 29 13 10 18
22 AUS2421 Josh Mortensen 160 17 28 15 18 [35.0] [39.0] 11 22 33 16
23 GBR678 Tommy Hooton 166 31 [44.0] 37 [40.0] 17 30 20 17 13 1
24 AUS2486 David Leask 166 24 13 17 17 32 14 [68.0O] 23 26 [68.0B]
25 GBR2522 Chris Boshier 169.5 [46.0N] 26 25 28 [36.0] 9 22.5 28 23 8
26 AUS2566 Harry Morton 172 27 24 27 29 9 3 [68.0C] [68.0F] 32 21
27 AUS2320 Christopher Jones 180 23 30 [36.0] 30 15 26 18 [37.5] 31 7
28 NED2 Mark Thorborg 200 33 21 [34.0] [37.0] 28 18.0N 26 25 22 27
29 NED3 Bart Thorborg 202 30 [68.0C] [68.0C] 26 22 18 12 12 51 31
30 AUS2204 Jeff Owen 215 25 31 31 21 24 27 30 26 [40.0] [47.0]
31 AUS2577 Paul Cohen 219 [68.0F] 37 32 32 31 22 25 20 [41.0N] 20
32 AUS2565 Brett Holly 232 5 17 13 24 68.0C [68.0C] [68.0C] 21 50 34
33 AUS1752 John Lindholm 234 22 23 22 22 39 [56.0] 28 34 [47.0N] 44
34 AUS2437 Scott Munro 237 21 34 30 27 [44.0] 36 27 24 [45.0] 38
35 AUS2411 Ross Brennan 238.5 28 40 [43.0] 34 42 [45.0] 22.5 29 29 14
36 ITA1111 Emilio Betta 249 38 35 33 36 18 35 19 35 [48.0] [68.0B]
37 AUS2548 Jonathon Vandervoort 250 [68.0F] [47.0] 46 43 13 23 34 32 14 45
38 AUS2179 Roger Grimes 266 [68.0F] 27 39 35 33 31 [68.0F] 44 34 23
39 GBR712 Rodger White 279 68.0F [68.0C] [68.0C] 49 14 32 36 41 17 22
40 GBR666 Bill Hooton 279 [68.0F] [45.0] 38 41 25 40 32 31 39 33
41 AUS2521 Adam Brett 285 36 29 23 39 [45.0] 42 35 39 [47.0] 42
42 ITA20 Antonio Martini 287 39 [43.0] [47.0] 42 21 41 39 40 30 35
43 AUS2136 Ian Bowman 293.5 [68.0F] 48 [52.0] 44 27 28 31 37.5 37 41
44 AUS2349 Stephen Ianna 294 37 33 29 [48.0] 40 37 42 30 46 [51.0]
45 AUS2281 Scott McInerney 309 68.0F 32 18 20 [68.0F] 38 41 42 [68.0F] 50
46 AUS2443 Christopher McDonald 314 [68.0F] [68.0C] 49 47 26 34 37 49 43 29
47 AUS2142 Ian Martin 322 34 42 40 33 46 49 33 45 [49.0N] [53.0]
48 NZL1329 David Harrison 344 43 41 48 46 [55.0] [51.0] 38 47 35 46
49 AUS2562 Sean Managh 346 29 25 26 38 53 57 68.0F 50 [68.0F] [68.0F]
50 AUS2208 Patrick Moore 347 35 36 41 45 50 44 [68.0F] 43 53 [55.0]
51 AUS2567 Glenn Dalton 372 42 46 50 [53.0] 49 48 43 46 [52.0] 48
52 UAE1641 Jacqueline Ruefenach 375 68.0F [68.0C] [68.0C] 57 37 46 45 48 38 36
53 GBR2318 Alan Mollatt 376 [68.0C] [68.0C] 56 58 43 47 40 51 41 40
54 AUS2196 Andrew Ianna 395 [68.0C] 49 45 56 47 50 44 52 [68.0R] 52
55 AUS2250 John McLean 397 40 [68.0F] 44 51 54 53 48 53 54 [59.0]
56 AUS1583 Andrew Butler 398 [68.0F] 50 55 55 48 52 46 [57.0] 49 43
57 AUS231 Robert Stenta 414 44 51 53 50 57 55 47 [68.0F] 57 [58.0]
58 AUS230 James Meggison 434 [68.0F] 52 54 54 56 58 51 55 [59.0] 54
59 AUS2517 James Vandervoort 437 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C [68.0C] [68.0F] 58 20 19
60 AUS265 Bryce Reid 463 68.0C 53 51 52 68.0C 68.0F 49 54 [68.0C] [68.0F]
61 AUS1328 Stephen Brierly 466 68.0F 68.0C [68.0F] [68.0F] 52 54 52 56 60 56
62 GER2622 Conny Schillo 484 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 60 51 64.0N [68.0C] [68.0F] 56 49
63 AUS1773 Adrian Kiely 496 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C [68.0C] [68.0C] 50 59 58 57
64 AUS2518 Ian Henderson 502 68.0F 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C [68.0C] [68.0F] 55 39
65 AUS2444 Darren Nicholson 509 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 33 [68.0C] [68.0F]
66 AUS3 Thomas Young 530 68.0F 68.0C 68.0F 59 68.0C 68.0F [68.0C] 65.0N 66.0N [68.0F]
67 AUS2542 John Fisher 541 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 68.0C 65.0N [68.0B] [68.0B]

Latest Classified Ads

British Contender Association

SSL Secure site protected by SSL