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On 30/31 July Downs Sailing Club, in the charming Kentish coastal town of Deal, hosted the 6th round of the Contender National Travellers Trophy. 14 visitors joined the two local boats.

After their complimentary bacon butty and tea the fleet launched for race one which started, after one general recall, in a very light breeze and an ebbing tide sweeping across the beat. The tide would be the significant factor in this race. The key to success was to get on to starboard as soon as possible and lee bow the tide up to the windward mark.  Brian Whitmey made the best job and rounded first followed by Peter Noble and then Adrian Smith led a bunch of boats around many of which had been swept down tide and were reaching into the mark.  The tide turned the first reach into a deep run but the first three held their nerve to round the wing mark in the same order and then were flushed quickly down tide to the leeward mark where the race was shortened.  With no prospect of the wind picking up the fleet was sent ashore.

The club hosted a curry and fish and chip evening in the club house which was enjoyed by all.

Racing started at 10.00 sharp on Sunday morning in a force 3 northerly and a windward going tide which decreased steadily during the race catching out those that tacked early expecting the tide to make up the offset.  Tom Hooton took the winning gun followed by Adrian and Peter Dives in 3rd.  

Race 3 followed the same pattern but with the leaders swapped around with Adrian 1st, Peter 2nd and Tom 3rd.

In the final minutes before the start of race 4 the wind shifted to the left making the pin end favoured but too late for many of the fleet to get down to the pin end, however, leaving them free to tack on to the lifting port tack. Just as they approached the lay line for the mark the wind went further left so that the leaders became the tail enders. This heralded a gigantic battle between the sea breeze and the gradient breeze that lasted for the rest of the race. Roger White weaselled his way through the calms and gusts and shifts to take the win. Martin Jones thought that he was second but was having a bad weekend. Swept on to the windward mark in race one, executing a perfect back somersault out of his boat on the second and now guilty of not reading the sailing instructions. If he had he would have known that he would be disqualified if he sailed down wind through the start/finish line. This moved Tom to 2nd and Bill Hooton and Dave Adams in a dead heat for 3rd. 

At the end of the meeting there had been a different winner for each of the races and one, Brian Whitmey, in a 25 year old boat which goes to prove the longevity of the Contender.

Tom and Adrian tied in first place both scoring 1,2,3 but Tom took the win because of the results in the last race. Dave Adams 3rd on 11.5 points, Peter Dives 4th on 12 points and Brian Whitmey 5th on 13 points.

The prize giving started and finished with drums and bagpipes playing to the surprise and enjoyment of all. Tom thanked Downs Sailing Club on behalf of the Contenders for their hospitality which had been exceptional throughout weekend and the race committee and motor boat crews with a special thanks to the beach party and not forgetting Tony and Anna, the local Contender heroes.

The Contenders are looking forward to next year’s Open already!

Overall Results:

PlaceSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st678Thomas HootonRYA‑101326
2nd2203Adrian SmithHythe & Saltwood SC321‑106
3rd595Dave AdamsBroadstairs SC4‑104311
4th2505Peter DivesEastbourne Sovereign SC732‑912
5th639Brian WhitneyBough Beech SC17‑9513
6th691Peter NobleBroadstairs SC2‑86715
7th2522Chris BoshierThorp Bay YC‑1447617
8th666Bill HootonBurton SC‑968418
9th2347Martin JonesWilsonian SC855(DSQ)18
10th2361Tom ColeyHythe & Saltwood SC6‑1410824
11th712Roger WhiteKing George SC‑151212125
12th2318Alan MollattDowns SC5914‑1528
13th2407Richard ButtnerRNSA / RYA111113‑1435
14th2599Tony CookDowns SC(DNF)13111337
15th690David HoltMinnis Bay SC12‑16161139
16th696Nigel CuretonDowns SC13‑15151240

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