Contender Eastern Area Championships 2014 17-18th May 2014

Despite the windless forecast for Saturday, 9 contenders turned up to share an open at Stone Sailing club with the hornet fleet.

After a few hours of umming and arrring both fleets were dragged away from their sunbathing and fettling to attempt a race in the ebbing tide as one of the flags had on the race box had managed to disentangle itself from the rigging and promised the odd zephyr, fortunately just before it was deemed to be beer o’clock. One of our number by this time had decided that going back to Kent to the cinema to watch Godzilla was a better use of his time and this was probably a contributing factor to his ultimate  4th,  place, obviously unbeknown to him at the time, but ultimately giving him a chance to work on his report writing skills by the end of Sunday.

Contenders went first , albeit with an extra hoot from the race box and made it to the windward club mark in seconds, assisted by the tide, with Chris B first to the mark followed by Chris H, this was followed by a deep reach against the tide to a mark off the club line in the middle of the river, Chris Howe took the wise decision to hit the north bank and made it to the gybe mark first.

The next leg saw a choice of staying in the river punching more tide but a with a slightly more consistent breeze or the south bank shallows with the odd wind shadow and eddy from the adjacent houses.

Several of the south bank fleet made attempts to crab across to the leeward mark, Tony B first, then Chris B with varying degrees of failure until Rodger and Chris H went past the mark and made a dash back into the tide.

These two sneaked round well in the lead and by the time the rest of the contender fleet made it to the mark the hornet fleet had caught up, causing a little confusion for all as the hornets needed to keep their kites up well past the mark to ensure they cleared it.

The beat back to the club line saw a variety of decisions in the fleet, some pinching and coming down with the tide without tacking, other freeing off and going out into the tide, at the finish no one could tell placings for the next four as Tom H, Bill H, Chris B and Tony C crossed the line simultaneously.

Back in the club house we were surprised to see a result of Tom H first, Chris B second , Bill H third and Tony C 4th, as both Rodger W and Chris H had been OCS.

Sunday greeted the fleet with a promising southerly force 2. After a traditional healthy brekkie, the race officer with crew set a trapezoid course east of club with the windward mark on the southbank.

4 races were scheduled and with the tide coming in all day there was less chance of hitting the putty.Race 2 of the series started on time and with plenty of  tacking in the shifty conditoins saw position changes on every leg. Chris Boshier taking line honours closely followed by Tony Brooks.

Race 3 and the fleet cracked off to the left of the course M.Jones found a nice lift favouring the rightside and took the lead until from the last mark where MJ tacked off left and CB and CHowe went right ,when we converged again ,CB and CH crossed the line respectively.

Race 4 and the course was relaid due to a more easterly direction,and with comfortable force 3 trapezing conditions the fleet went left to stem the incoming tide CB and CH  followed by Tom Hooton  took a convincing lead from the rest of the fleet to consolidate  there places.

Final race and neck and neck racing again CB dominated the race again closely followed by Tom. Congratulations to Chris Boshier for a convincing win, to Tom Hooton still on top of the travellers series and for Stone sailing club for  the weekend

Report by Chris Boshier and Martin Jones.

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