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By Neil Ferguson

Perfect contender conditions returned to Oxford for the 3rd round of the 2015 travellers.

23 Contenders traveled from all directions from all over the UK and John Mclean adding the international feel from Australia were meet by glorious sunshine and a great forecast.

Race 1. started in what would be the strongest winds of the day letting everyone settle in. Simon showing his usual phenomenal upwind speed. A well set triangle sausage course giving plenty of opportunity to make ground. The RO was obviously enjoying the show sending the fleet around and around and around, 6 laps I think? Simon eventually getting the win from Stuart Jones.

Race 2. Wind easing a bit and starting to swing. Big shift in the starting sequence causing boats in the 2nd row to suddenly not get across the line on starboard in the dirty air. Now getting nasty little pockets and shifts causing the positions to start changing. Stuart as usual finding himself the right side of the shift with a consistent Nick grace getting the second place from Simon.

Race 3. Was more of the same, the fleet getting more competitive with Tom pushing the line so far he got the RO to pull out the individual recall flag so he could have an early shower. Chris Howe, Rob smith, Peter Dives and Neil Ferguson playing the shifts popping out in front for a little private race. This went on with Stuart and Nick chasing them down. Eventually showing enormous skill (AND an amazing amount of luck) Nick rolling his contender on its gunwales and pumping with skill, slide towards the shorten course flag slipping past into 3rd place from Chris and Peter.

The Fleet retired to take on more ballast for the gales forecast for the Sunday.

The morning started stronger than expected with more due. The kids in the mirror training fleet showing the youthful contempt to what was going to be a tiring day.

Race 4. The RO was keen to get the fleet away, with many of the fleet struggling getting their rudders on, setting off into the spray. Neil only just launching as the fleet set off. Simon's rudder had come off completely. Carl Tagoe won from Stuart, showing again that it doesn't matter how old your boat is, as long as it is well sailed. Keeping the mast to the sky was definitely the fastest and hardest thing with nasty little gusts and even worse little holes. The RO must have been feeling sorry for us as there were only 4 laps this morning.

Race 5. Neil was now starting to find his groove, after being out of the boat for a while, taking the shifts and getting round the top mark first. Managing to keep Simon and Stuart off for the first broad reach, but playing safe and allowing them through on the tighter reach back to the bottom of the course. A nasty gust caught Simon just after dipping the tower, giving him a quick swim, allowing Stuart and Neil back through. Back up the beat Neil taking the middle route overtook Stuart again only to loose it down the run as the wind built. The RO now seeing more spray than sails, shortened after 2 laps and sent the fleet ashore.

A great event well organised in testing conditions. Big thank you to the race team, rescue boats, and Galley for all their efforts. See you again for the Oxford Blue. Stuart Jones winning the event with usual consistency from a very fast Nick Grace and Carl Tagoe in his 25year old boat.

Rank HelmName SailNo Club R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Total Nett
1st Stuart Jones 2465 Datchet SC 2 1 -6 2 1 12 6
2nd Nick Grace 2484 CC SC 3 2 3 4 -6 18 12
3rd Carl Tagoe 469 Oxford 5 5 (25.0 RET) 1 3 39 14
4th Neil Ferguson 2422 Yorkshire Dales SC -11 6 5 7 2 31 20
5th Chris Howe 2477 Oxford -9 9 1 8 5 32 23
6th Nick Noble 2410 Portishead SC -18 11 7 3 4 43 25
7th Mike Murley 2373 Weston SC -13 8 12 5 7 45 32
8th Thomas Hooton 678 Burton SC 17 4 (25.0 RET) 6 8 60 35
9th Rob Smith 2490 7 14 4 (25.0 DNC) 10 60 35
10th Simon Mussell 2420 Highcliffe SC 1 3 8 (25.0 DNC) 25.0 DNC 62 37
11th Jeremy Blades 2588 Weston SC 12 -17 11 11 9 60 43
12th Peter Mitchell 2491 Hayling Island SC -22 18 15 9 11 75 53
13th Tony Brooks 2496 Oxford 8 12 9 (25.0 DNC) 25.0 DNC 79 54
14th Simon Turnbull 599 Neyland YC 16 13 16 10 (25.0 DNC) 80 55
15th Peter Dives 2505 Eastbourne Sovereign 14 15 2 (25.0 DNC) 25.0 DNC 81 56
16th Martin Jones 2347 Wilsonian SC 15 7 13 (25.0 DNC) 25.0 DNC 85 60
17th Chris Boshier 2522 Thorpe Bay 10 10 (25.0 DNC) 25.0 DNC 25.0 DNC 95 70
18th Rodger White 398 King George SC 23 20 10 (25.0 DNC) 25.0 DNC 103 78
19th Dan Taylor 2512 Datchet SC 4 (25.0 RET) 25.0 DNC 25.0 DNC 25.0 DNC 104 79
20th Craig Hellon 674 Burton SC 19 21 14 (25.0 DNC) 25.0 DNC 104 79
21st Gary Langdown 2439 Highcliffe SC 6 (25.0 RET) 25.0 DNC 25.0 DNC 25.0 DNC 106 81
22nd John McLean 2250 R.Q.Y.S. (25.0 DNS) 16 17 25.0 DNC 25.0 DNC 108 83
23rd Tony Cook 2599 Downs SC 21 19 (25.0 RET) 25.0 DNC 25.0 DNC 115 90
24th Bill Hooton 666 Burton SC 20 (25.0 RET) 25.0 DNC 25.0 DNC 25.0 DNC 120 95

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