Throw Down

race report

Throw Down

The 2010 Contender Worlds, hosted by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron are now over, and the man who got thrown off the dock was Jono Neate, of Melbourne, Australia.

This edition was one of the tightest ever, with the top three sailors separated by a sea hair going into the last day of racing. The last day was essentially a new regatta for Cristoph Homeier (GER), Andrea Bonezzi (AUS), and Neate. It opened with the same hot sunshine and more wind than any of the previous days, which would have given seven-time winner Bonezzi an edge, but by the time racing began, it dropped to 14 knots, which no longer favoured the more robust boys. When Neate scored the bullet in the first race, barely ahead of Bonezzi, Bonezzi knew he had to beat Neate by at least 3 boats, but Neate couldn’t be stopped, and the months of training paid off. Bonezzi came in second, and acknowledged it was a good loss – Jono won by being faster, and not because any competitors suffered from breakages.

In his victory speech, Jono acknowledged the classiness and great companionship of the Contender fleet. In particular, he noted the invaluable training he did Chris Peile (AUS), Homeier, and Bonezzi, who had once varnished Neate’s boat. That’s no surprise given that you could see Bonezzi spending more time helping his competitors getting their boats ready than doing anything to his own boat.

Finishing fourth was Simon Mussell (GBR), who also managed to down the most glasses of the "Contender Drink" (a toxic mix of rum, vodka, creme de menthe, baileys, and whatever else was lying around), fifth was local boy Geoff Fisher, and sixth was Steven Grimes, who showed that sailing a Contender was like riding a bike by kicking ass after a long hiatus from sailing Contenders.

Many thanks go to the staff of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for feeding the fleet, capturing every moment on film, and ensuring no one suffered from dehydration; to Matt Mulder, one of the key organizers, for looking after everyone else’s needs before his own (and giving hope to Star Wars nerds everywhere who aspire to being awesome sailors); and to the volunteers who kept us all safe and got us in and out of the water in record time. This is going to be a tough regatta to top. The 2011 Contender Worlds are at Weymouth in the new Olympic sailing centre.

Full results of the 2010 worlds here. Story by Stephanie Mah and photo thanks to Michael Langner.