This week we are going to continue highlighting a boat class that we think would be a great ‘contender’ for a COVID ready boat to safely physically distance in. Last week we featured the Laser and this week we are featuring the Contender class.
Inspired by a recent sail in Toronto’s Outer Harbour, alongside the fleets of Lasers, there were a few Contenders flying by with their helms hanging out over the water, gracefully suspended only by the trapeze. The Contender was originally designed in 1967 by Bob Miller (Lexcen) to be a replacement for the Finn class (also featured on the Hold Fast Sailing Insignia poster), Olympics as a performance, single-handed boat. While it did not succeed at this objective, the boat class did manage to build a huge following worldwide. Over 2400 have been built and it is sailed in over 17 countries.
Part of the class’ popularity for over 40 years is its ability to be successfully sailed with a range of helm weight allowing both men and women. Length overall (LOA), beam, and sail area are comparable to a double-handed dinghy, but the addition of a trapeze allows for single-handed sailing. Further, the lack of a jib and spinnaker reduces the management of the sails and allows the helm to focus on the boat balance, main sail trim, and boat speed.
Lots of additional reading on the Contender can be found here: