International Contender Story


The International Contender was designed by Bob Miller (Ben Lexcen) and was selected
in 1967, during trials, as a potential Olympic successor to the Finn dinghy. The Contender
was awarded International status in 1968 and now has fleets in more than twelve countries
throughout the world.

As of May, 2003, there are over 2300 Contenders built in various parts of the world,
152 boats built in the last five years.

The Class Rules

The International Contender class rules are regularly reviewed in order to prohibit the
use of exotic materials or expensive equipment. This prevents escalating cost of sailing
"the Ultimate Singlehander".

In recent year the costs of spars from aluminium have been rising while availability
is decreasing, the cost of carbon fibre spars has been decreasing, therefore the class
has approved the use of carbon fibre masts and booms. Loose footed sails are now permitted.

Class members have repeatedly refused to reduce the bare hull weight because members
wish to preseve the market value of older hulls. Change the rig, protect the hull

The rules permit licensed and amateur builders to construct this boat. Hulls are
built successfully in all wood, composite glasfibre hull/ wood deck and all glasfibre.


The International Contender has proven to be suitable for a wide variety of sailors,
both male and female. The weight of successful sailors range from 55 kg to 95 kg and
heights from 165 cm to 200 cm. Contender champions' ages vary from 20 to 50 years.
The developments of the boat have enabled the boat to be raced even in rough open
sea conditions.

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Last updated Wednesday 28 June, 2006 by Gil Woolley