Article by Alan Keen
What a name, what a trophy.
It’s been around since Grandpa fell off the bus. It survived the clubhouse fire with a few char marks and it has survived the depravity of being relegated to the back of a dusty old cupboard.
Love it or hate it, as the name suggests, it has always had a bit of a story to tell.
Rumour has it that it originated from the typical, after sailing, bar talk about which boat is actually faster, “mine of course” was the Contention. One design sailing has put a bit of a dampener on that discussion, so over the years the Contention has been more about the format of the competition than the actual craft used. But therein lies a story.
A couple of years ago it was won in a handicap race by a sly old Laser sailor who was given the instruction to set his own rules so that he could win it in perpetuity, as who else would want to own that massive, dirty, old, beef-bone. Not quite what most people would want to put in their display cabinet of trophies.
So last year saw the start of the Triathlon. A bit of running, a bit of cycling and a bit of sailing or rowing. Enough to make any member sweat, but not so much that the average active member could not take part. The format was a pursuit race and the organiser had to choose handicaps to make sure that the average “mouth” would think that he had a chance of winning, but also to be suitably biased that in fact only the organiser could win – which he did.
But not without a bit of Contention. After all, how could a normal cyclist compete against a tandem? But that was all last year.
This year there was a bit more hype and a bit more interest. Competitors read the rules and worked out that a junior in their team would give them an advantage. Others figured out that the rowing course was a bit short compared to the sailors. The handicaps had also been refined to make the competition a bit keener. The families came out in droves. Old members came down to see what was going on and others came down to cheer on their children and grandchildren. And still other Grandparents walked and cycled and ran for their grandchildren.
What a great vibe.
And the results? First were some super fit rowers represented by Richard Moolenschott, second the handicapper’s wife, third the handicapper (he got that wrong didn’t he?), followed by a “mouth” and then another rower. In the Juniors, Emil Feuliette won (supported by father Oli).
And next year? Time will tell. But watch out for a bit of Contention.