|For 1981, yet another new venue beckoned, Toronto. This time the front of the fleet was dominated by a battle between Newlands and Smith, that was finally decided in favour of Newlands, as he ‘did a Pitman’ in taking three consecutive titles. After so much globe trotting, the Contenders then returned to more familiar territory, with Medemblik hosting the next Championships. At long last, ten years after joining the fleet, Tony Smith finally won the Worlds, a resulted that also confirmed the Smith hull and rig package as the best replacement for the existing Rondar / Banks set up.|
After giving the impression for a year or two that the sailors in the fleet had finally grown up, the Medemblik dinner undid all their good work; candles were turned into javelins, whilst the one handed sailor Mike Hartley was ambushed by a barrage of airborne whipped cream!
Sneaky Keith Paul wriggled his way onto the final podium place to prove that when the conditions were trying, he was still a difficult sailor to beat.
"I only wanted to win a new pair of jeans”
– Tony Smith makes it to the top of the podium at Medemblik, flanked by Peter Newlands and Keith Paul.
(Photo courtesy of Jim and Dee Mackonochie)
|The Contender fleet then faced a major dilemma about going to South Africa for the next Championships. The moral right won the day and a hastily convened event was well hosted out in Australia, an event that Smith made clearly his own by winning the first 6 races. Meanwhile, more bad behaviour, this time out afloat at the San Alpidio Europeans. It started when a visiting Pitman led the ‘we want a blast’ brigade out for a sail, after the Race Officer had thought it too windy and so had gone for lunch! When the wind finally eased, it was crafty Keith again who used his big event experience to win through to take his first Contender Championships.