Gonna party like it's 1999

. Posted in Class History


The end of the millennium, the ‘Millennium Bug’ and yet more politicking from ISAF. They already had two top International singlehanders, soon they would add to this list the Joachim Harpprecht designed ‘Musto Performance Skiff’ – which would be the final nail in the coffin of the Contender's Olympic aspirations.

The Contender could still attract a top class fleet for its main championships though, as at Kiel the ‘big four’, Bonezzi, Scott, Jones and Renilson, would be joined by John Browett in a ‘top of the table clash’. Scott and Browett dented their chances with mid week black flags, and on the last day only Bonezzi and Browett were left in contention for the title. The Brit picked up a penalty, leaving the consistent Italian to take another well earned Championship.

For the 2000 Championships it was once again back to Medemblik, where a 107 boat fleet almost became 108 as Bernard Shapley’s dinghy was almost cut in two by a powerboat. In the racing, the big names were very much again to the fore, but then some uncharacteristic results in the teens put paid to the chances of Jones and Renilson. The way looked clear for Andrea to collect his 4th title when on the penultimate day, Gabriel Wicke won both races. In the start of the last race of the event, Andrea got into a tangle and had to take a 720º penalty, leaving Gabriel to climb clear into the second place that would make him Germany’s first Championship winner.

Ashore, all the talk was now of Carbon rigs and the difficult question - would the expensive upgrades split the class? Meanwhile, there was a Europeans to contest at Loctudy, where Frank Suchanek won four races, yet only just scraped into the top ten as the light airs consistency of Ian Renilson added more silverware to the sideboard.

The Worlds meanwhile shifted back to Canada, where a small fleet more than made up for the lack of numbers by the quality of the event and the heat of the competition.

The early assumption had been that Andrea would dominate the event but in the end it was Arthur Brett who showed that attention to detail, plus his relentless practice schedule, would bring him success.

Arthur repeated the trick on his home waters of Black Rock YC, near Melbourne, in an event notable for some of the breezy conditions sailed in.

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The Black Rock Championships was everything a
Contender event should be, hot, sunny and windy.