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By Dan Taylor

For round 4 of the Contender Travellers Series the fleet travelled down to Poole Yacht Club for 6 races in picturesque Poole Harbour.  For once weather forecasts were correct and a gusty 18 to 25 knots plus greeted the competitors giving them white horses, dark patches and a difficult short chop to play with.

Race one got underway cleanly first time and the pin bias was fully exploited by Rob Smith, Daniel Taylor and Gary Langdown who immediately headed off to the Port lay line which proved decisive as this was the running order at the top mark.  These positions help down the excellent screaming reach to the gybe mark which must have been the highlight of the day for many.   By the third lap Langdown and Taylor had a healthy lead on the chasing pack headed up by Smith.  A lapse in concentration then caused Taylor to capsize just before the final leeward mark leaving Langdown to cruise to a decisive victory followed Graham Scott and Nick Grace.

Weather and course remained the same for the second race which again saw the pin end paying.  First to the windward mark was Dan Taylor, Mike Murley and Stuart Jones then the chasing pack close behind consisting of Gary Langdown, Nick Grace and Martin Jones.  Stuart Jones took the lead on the second of the two reaches which was slightly broader as he does seem to have the knack of going deeper and faster that all around him in those situations.  Taylor regained the lead by managing to pinch like hell off of a very early starboard lay call to round first.  His cause was then helped by an uncharacteristic senor moment from Jones involving hitting marks and getting in a bit of a mess.  This opened a window of opportunity for Nick Grace to gain ground and challenge for second.  By the end Taylor won, Nick Grace sailed an excellent run to just pip Jones for second.

By the third race the pin end was now so biased that it was difficult to cross on starboard.  A good start from Gary Langdown at that end saw him consolidate and round first pursued by Nick Grace, Stuart Jones and Martin Jones.  The top positions remained pretty stable throughout the race despite the increasing shiftiness of the wind and many sailors banging lay lines on both sides of the course looking for advantage.  By the end Nick Grace managed to end up on top of his tight battle with Gary Langdown followed by Stuart and them Martin Jones.

Sunday morning the competitors woke to a very different day.  The wind was now blowing much lighter but increasingly shifty 12 to 16 knots.  With a pin end bias once again and a big lee-bow on Starboard the fleet managed an impressive three general recalls before the race officer finally ran out of patience and got out the black flag.  That did the trick as there was not so much as an individual recall for the rest of the day.

Graham Scott read the wind exceptionally well to lead at the top of the beat, which had no clear advantageous side. In the lead he stayed leaving the rest of the fleet to figure out the best way through.  Nick Grace maintained second place for much of the race until a charging Stuart Jones managed to fight his way through on the final run with Gary Langdown in 4th.

A swing in the wind direction now meant a mid line start was now an option.  Ed Presley got off well to get to the top mark first followed by Nick Noble and Gary Langdown.  The top 5 boats were all pretty close together for the first lap leaving them having to choose their options well for the next beat to sort out the running order.   After many tacks on shifts the three more experienced sailors came out on top with Stuart Jones taking the win followed by Gary Langdown and Graham Scott.

The wind dropped a bit for the last race and getting the shifts right became ever more important.  It was tight again at the top mark with a leading group of Gary Langdown, Nick Noble, Nick Grace and  Graham Scott all fighting it out down the reaches.  Up the next beat Stuart Jones showed his class by catching up with the leading group, taking 4 places and the lead which he consolidated on the following run to take victory followed by Graham Scott who sailed a very solid race to take second and a consistent Nick Noble in third.

So with the races run Stuart Jones proved once again many, many years practice on a shifty reservoir pays dividends when all around are scratching their heads.  Gary Langdown was a creditable second with a very consistent performance in all conditions and Nick Grace proved that the year off in Musto’s hadn’t completely ruined his finesse in the Contender.

The fleet would like to thank Poole Yacht club for an extremely well run event with excellent facilities.  We were made to feel most welcome and look forward to another event there in the future.

Click here to see the Sunday pictures - courtesy of Mike Millard

Pos

Name

Club

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

Total

Nett

1st

Stuart Jones

Datchet

8

3

3

2

1

1

18

10

2nd

Gary Langdown

Highcliffe

1

4

2

4

2

4

17

13

3rd

Nick Grace

Castle Cove

3

2

1

3

10

8

27

17

4th

Dan Taylor

Datchet

DNF

1

6

6

8

5

53

26

5th

Nick Noble

Portishead

9

9

5

5

4

3

35

26

6th

Ed Presley

Chew Valley

6

7

DNF

9

5

7

61

34

7th

Graham Scott

RYA

2

DNC

DNC

1

3

2

62

35

8th

Mike Murley

Weston

7

5

12

7

9

DNF

67

40

9th

Tom Hooton

Burton

4

6

7

11

13

DNC

68

41

10th

Rob Smith

Castle Cove

5

10

8

13

6

12

54

41

11th

Jeremy Blades

Weston

17

11

9

8

7

16

68

51

12th

Martin Jones

Wilsonian

14

12

4

15

12

15

72

57

13th

Richard Franks

Weston

13

13

14

16

11

6

73

57

14th

Tony Sawyer

Poole

11

15

15

17

19

10

87

68

15th

Carl Tagoe

Oxford

DNF

8

10

10

15

DNC

97

70

16th

David Evans

Poole

12

14

16

19

18

11

90

71

17th

Bill Hooton

Burton

15

18

11

20

17

DNC

108

81

18th

Rodger White

King George

10

17

DNF

21

16

13

114

87

19th

Mark Reynell

Poole

DNC

DNC

DNC

12

14

9

116

89

20th

Nick Curry

Weston

19

19

DNF

22

21

17

125

98

21st

Chris Howe

Oxford

16

16

13

DNF

DNC

DNC

126

99

22nd

Alan Mollatt

Downs

18

DNF

DNC

18

20

18

128

101

23rd

Tony Cook

Downs

DNF

DNC

DNC

14

22

14

131

104

24th

Keith Paul

Weston

10

DNF

DNC

DNC

DNC

DNC

145

118

25th

Keith Le Page

Guernsey

DNC

DNC

DNC

23

23

20

147

120

26th

Mark Jackson

RYA

DNC

DNF

DNC

24

24

19

148

121

 

 

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