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Porthpean Open 2011 by Stacey Bray

Porthpean in Cornwall was the venue for the National Contender Travellers series. Race one got underway in a patchy 15 knot SW breeze, most of the fleet opted to head out to sea where the breeze was more settled. The fleet all converged quite closely to gether at the windward mark, getting away from here and out to sea on the first reach was key.

Stacey Bray rounded first hootly persued by Allan Orton and Nick Eggett. These three managed to sail away from the chasing pack and finished in that order, with Stuart Hudson 4th. Race two and much the same with the majority of the fleet heading out to sea. Allan Orton showed his blistering up wind speed and headed the fleet at the windward mark from Bray, Eggett & Sheridan Brown.

Bray managed to overtake Orton on the second reach which by now had solid breeze allowing the fleet to surf the now building sea. Bray managed to take the bullet from Orton who held second from Eggett and Hudson. The last race of the day saw the wind drop and veer more to the west. Orton had been squeezed out at the boat end on the start and opted to head out to the right hand side with Richard Armstrong.

The remainder of the fleet who now had now committed further left could only watch as Orton and Armstrong stormed in from the right. The wind was now much patchier than it had been and Orton & Armstrong found the fleet steaming up behind them in more breeze. The next windward leg saw some big wind shifts and a group of six boats all rounded the mark together to tackle the run.

While they all patiently waited for some breeze, Bray had found his own personal gust and sailed around them all to take the lead. Bray held this to the finish from Orton, Eggett with Richard Armstrong putting in a strong finish to take a solid 4th.

Day 2 dawned with very little wind so there was a short postponement until the breeze began to build enough for the fleet to be sent out. The breeze continued to build from the SW and the first race started in a solid 20 knots. Stuart Hudson, who had a relatively quiet first day, was chomping at the bit in the now big wind and sea.

Hudson, Bray, Orton & Egget all arrived quite close together at the windward mark with Hudson having the upper hand. The by now awesome reaches were allowing for some exhilarating sailing with a few casualties on the way. Hudson comfortably took the win from Eggett, Bray & Backhouse. Race two started promptly after and the usual suspects found themselves at the front of the fleet.

Hudson and Orton and now certainly found some up wind speed and pulled away from Eggett and Bray. Orton dipped his boom just before the wing mark allowing Eggett and Bray to catch Hudson on the next reach. Hudson with his superior up wind speed managed to comfortably take the win from Bray and Eggett with Orton recovering to take 4th from Backhouse.

Race 6 and by the now the wind and waves were pumping, the RO recorded 28 knots in the gusts. Hudson was on for a hat trick of wins and stormed up the first beat with Orton and Eggett in hot pursuit. Bray and Backhouse were a little further back but this was a race where anything could happen. Orton was the first casualty and spectacularly capzise on the second reach.

Hudson and Eggett were holding there nerve with Bray and Backhouse not far behind. The run was a nail biting affair with boats disappearing up to the mast step at times, Eggett made is first slip of the day and rolled into windward allowing Bray and Backhouse through. Hudson was still out front with Bray and back house slowly catching up on the very fast reaches.

Hudson was to be be the next victim and managed to turtle his boat just before the wing mark. Bray and Backhouse now had a comfortable lead with Bray taking the race from Backhouse, Hudson and Eggett.

Thanks to Porthpean particularly Ken Fobbester who was the RO for the weekend.

Results:

1st Stacey Bray (Porthpean) 6 pts
2nd Stuart Hudson (Keyhaven) 13 pts
3rd Nick Egget (Restronguet) 14 pts
4th Allan Orton (Porthpean) 15 pts
5th Stuart Backhouse (Mounts Bay) 21 pts
6th Mark Basham (Restronguet) 35 pts
7th Sheridan Brown (Restronguet) 36 pts
8th Richard Armstrong (Porthpean) 37 pts

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