Not big at all, but let me explain

There does seems to be a common misconception, or at least something I hear frequently, that I'm not big enough to sail one because contender sailors are all big hefty chaps and that's what you need to be. Nonsense,  I'll agree, there are some big people who sail contenders, but there are also small people too and all sizes and shapes inbetween.

Let me try and dispel this myth for you. I can think of Sailors from a 55kg  lady up to 120kg gentelman (and I think I'm being generous here Brett) who sailed in the last world championships on an equal footing, but how, you ask.

Well, consider if you will the size of the boat, at 16 feet LOA and 5 feet wide it's bigger than most double handed dinghies and can therefore carry weight very easily, making it a class that in light winds doesn't favour the lighter or smaller of stature and allows the bigger folk to be competitive and therefore attractive as a class that can be sailed fairly in all winds strengths.

Now, with carbon masts, the rig can very easily be tuned to pretty much any crew weight by adjusting spreader length and angle along with lower and rig tension so the rig can be set up to be super stiff or extremely whippy and bendy depending on your need. So tuning the rig will be a maximum cost of a set of spreaders if you cut them down too much and don't like the result.

It's  certainly a lot cheaper than having to buy a whole new rig. In fact you could buy a contender that would be competitive at a world championships, ship it to Australia and back with the BCA and pay the entry fee for less than the cost of a new Finn mast!

OK, so that's the big, what about the strong?

Well, as we don't have any rules regarding fit out then you can do what you like, the fitout you'll see on most boats hasn't changed much over the last 15 years, UK boats tend to have a 16:1 cascade vang, 3:1 mainsheet, 4:1 cunningham and 6:1 outhaul but there are other people who have upped all of these purchases to make life easier (it's just a matter of more rope and a couple of strategically placed pulleys) I've seen lever vangs (popular in Italy) or 32:1 vangs, 4:1 mainsheet etc.

And yes, those are all the controls you need to play with, so you're not in the boat fdiddling all the time and have time to get on the wire and sail.

Of course, as we don't have rules on fitout, you can put what you want, where you want, so you can actually adjust while you're sailing too!

OK, I want to try one as I'm still not sure I'm right for a Contender

Actually, everyone's right for a contender, they're not as hard as they might appear to sail, once you've found your way of getting under the boom.

So as you're interested in joining this friendly competitive class take a look at the how/where can I try one FAQ and get in touch for a test sail.



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