A Contender on reach
|Draft||1,447 mm (57.0 in)|
|Hull weight||83 kg (183 lb)|
|LOA||4,870 mm (192 in)|
|Beam||1,500 mm (59 in)|
|Mainsail area||10.8 m2 (116 sq ft)|
The International Contender is a single-handed high performance sailing dinghy, designed by Bob Miller, latterly known as Ben Lexcen, (Australia) in 1967 as a possible successor to the Finn dinghy for Olympic competition.
"Single-handed" means sailed by only one person. The boat has a trapeze which allows the sailor to use their weight more effectively. The design of the boat does not favour sailors within a narrow or extreme size or weight range, past champions have ranged from 60 kg to more than 90 kg. While physical fitness, agility and strength are advantageous, good technical sailing skills and experience can count for more.
Sailors wishing to master the Contender must learn how to trapeze and steer the boat at the same time, and how to move about the boat while keeping it level. As part of race tuning, the Contender mast is commonly raked well aft, which results in restricted space between the boom and deck. Tacking consequently requires technique and practice to avoid getting stuck under the boom. Sailing the boat level at all times (except in very light winds) is fastest and reduces capsizes, which can happen fast if the boom dips into the water. There is a trade-off between raking the mast far aft and keeping the kicker (boom vang) tight at all times (which is faster) and the higher probability of capsizing due to this less forgiving set up. Unlike older and heavier dinghy designs, the Contender requires the centerboard to be lowered at least somewhat to avoid quick capsizes when reaching and running in a breeze.
- "Centerboard Classes". US Sailing. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "Portsmouth Number List 2017". Royal Yachting Association. Retrieved 26 February 2015.