Dangles from Bojangles


Greetings from the boatpark by your new correspondent; this is Bojangles, the International Contender 2523 reporting.

After a slow start to the season, with a month of tropical temperatures and virtually no wind, last week it was time for me to shed the top cover, let out my manly muscles and head off to the South coast for my first Open Meeting. My Owner has had a number of Contenders before me, so was able to reassure me whilst popping me in my big blue underpants ready for my journey. I sure hope those blueys are watertight, because I have a weak bladder and am prone to a little leakiness when under stress. It was a very long 8-hour trek to Poole Yacht club in the Friday traffic, with temperatures scorching at 31 degrees. Eight hours later we trooped into the club, exhausted but ready for a 6-race weekend of sailing.

The following morning, the trailer park started filling up with other Contenders; 23 of them. Then a late-comer arrived, none other than Stuart Jones, ex-World / National Champion. In the kind and generous nature of our fleet, a number of Owners (including mine- they are old friends) rushed forwards to help him unpack and rig up. My Owner even filled his water bottle for him, having wasted valuable seconds trying to find a little tabasco sauce to top it up with. He made it to the start line on time and even won the first race and also the overall event.  I had a good first race, which featured Owner trapezing with some skill and going in the right direction. Both of these actions were to diminish with each race, but we did clock up an 11th place in the first race. The second race was a disaster. I was severely violated by another Contender who was reaching into the start line by the committee boat right into my little space that I was cherishing. The blue pants would have filled with every flotsam imaginable, had they been on. When I opened my eyes, I was rubbing faces with the start vessel and Owner was trying to push off the unwanted attentions of Barge Nose. I suffered a puncture wound from him, which will need some kind of medical intervention once the duct tape is removed. I followed the fleet some 2 minutes behind and completed my discard in a dropping shifty wind. For the third race, I had a good start and first lap, rounding in the top 8. Then, disaster struck again as Owner sailed me very quickly up the wrong side of the second beat and I picked up my second discard.

On the second day, the wind was very light and wafted across the harbour in many different directions. We put our number in the lucky hat and it was all looking fabulous at one point, as we followed Mr Carl Tagoe out onto the left side of the course in a pleasant breeze. Alas, the wind shifted and filled in on the right, leaving us chasing transoms in a drifter once more and picking up discard number 3. The wind petered out completely and the remaining races were abandoned.

Owner remained upbeat and was quite pleased with my speed and effort. She had my rig tension looked at and tweaked by the current Contender National champion Graham Scott (who finished 2nd this weekend). She also had my new sail measured and autographed by one of Santa’s Jolly Elves, who finished in lucky 13th place overall.

The sailing theme of the weekend “dribble along, hoping to go faster, not a clue where I am and Are We There Yet?” continued on the equally long journey home. Owner had maxed out on navigational help and deployed two twins by the name of Tom and a nasal Australian emanating from her phone to guide her back to West Kirby. For an hour they all bickered like badly behaved children with backseat driver’s instructions (Second Exit at the Roundabout … Nahh, wee gahin lift mate…. Bear right… Nahh, thes nah bears ere mate….) til Owner unplugged the Toms and we bumbled off on a plumb line from the Wirral to Poole, avoiding the odd field and hedge. We ended up ontop of a dizzying hill on a minor road outside Bath, where I refilled my blue pants as I saw the incline that the Aussie was taking us down. “And Turn Lift onto Mill Lane” droned the Aussie. Mill Lane had me mowing the grass verges with my trolley wheels at a 45-degree incline. When we turned the precarious L bend at the bottom, we ground to a halt. There, in front of me was The Bridge.

It was about 8 feet wide and 20 feet long, spanning some scary height which I pretended not to see. A troll popped into view and demanded £1.50 to cross it. Owner was close to tears and mumbled on about blinking Satnavs and how was I going to get over it and what about all the cars waiting for us on the other side and where the hell were we anyway. The troll looked at me and I gave it my sweetest smile. He looked sternly at Owner and said that he thought she needed a cup of tea and how about I just charge you for the car then? He winked at me, I winked at him and we were soon on our way, with the Aussie jabbering away in the background.

The strategy for the next Open is this; We take the Aussie out racing with us and do the exact opposite of everything he says.

That should do it. Mate.

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