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Mussel too strong for Contender rivals
7:00am Friday 15th June 2012 in Afloat
HIGHCLIFFE sailor Simon Mussel took the Contender honours in round seven of the BCA Traveller’s Series which joined Lasers for a joint Open event in Christchurch Bay.
Contenders shared the start line with Lasers, who were competing in their South Coast Grand Prix.
The congestion added a few complications for the race committee who had to ensure that the two equally-eager fleets did not clash too much on the Lasers’ shorter course.
As usual there was plenty of tide running out of the harbour as boats were launched. Fortunately there were members of Highcliffe Sailing Club (HSC) to help out as a shore party.
The wind, meanwhile, was blowing a warm and pleasant F3 SW for the first race, combined with small waves in ideal conditions.
Race one was a battle between local boy Mussel and the evergreen Stuart Jones and Graham Scott.
Scott finished first despite rudder issues, followed by Jones and Mussel.
The same three led race two after the first lap but a wind shift, and more tide further out, saw a change at the top with Mussel taking pole position.
Race three again saw Mussel, Jones and Scott take the top three places.
Mussel won race four at the start of the following day, followed by Scott and Jones on a cooler morning dictated by a South East wind.
And it was home favourite Mussel who took the honours once more in the penultimate race, while Scott took a swim down the second reach and decided to call it a day.
Mussel went on to clinch the overall prize in the fifth and final race with Jones runner-up and Carl Tagoe moving up the field for third place.
The climax of the meeting proved a real test for the competitors with bigger waves and stronger winds. The lead changed at least four times, with many sailors taking a dip or retiring.
Overall result: 1 Simon Mussel, 2 Stuart Jones, 3 Carl Tagoe.
• JP Morgan employees from Bournemouth have their own unique way of fund-raising for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
For the sixth year they will be competing in their very own Round the Island Race using pedal power. Last year, the cyclists raised an incredible £18,622.
Their challenge is to beat the fastest yacht to the finish line.