Testing Conditions for Potterers' Pot

Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Cadet and Otter sailing continues to go from strength to strength and last Saturday afternoon 30 August there were nine boats out, filled to the gunwales with youngsters just having a great time on the water. On Sunday afternoon the Club held its race for the Potterers’ Pot – an event specifically for those boats with a slow handicap, and thirteen boats took part. They were greeted with somewhat humid conditions and a light breeze that seemed uncertain which direction it wanted to blow from. This, coupled with a very strong ebbing tide, made for quite testing conditions. On the first leg to the Eastcliff buoy those craft that had started out to sea managed to make the mark on one tack whilst others closer to the shore found they had to put a second tack in to get round it. At this point the fleet headed out to the Seaward mark and soon realised the strength of the tide would sweep them well past the buoy and further tacking proved necessary. As boats fought to stem the tide places changed and changed again, and it was clearly still anyone’s race. On the reach back to the Eastcliff buoy the wind started to freshen and the craft began to make good speed; but then the wind abated, as quickly as it had increased, and the rain started to fall. Fortunately it eased off fairly quickly but alas the wind also completely disappeared and as the boats headed back out to sea again they found the leg increasingly frustrating. All sorts of different tactics were tried, with varying success, and those that managed to slip round the Seaward buoy were relieved to know that all they had to do was to then run down to the Kingscliff mark and head to the finish line. This proved problematic however as the wind continued to hide and when it did occasionally appear it would blow very lightly from different directions. With only two retirements it was good to see such perseverance from the rest of the competitors and the top places were certainly well deserved. The completion of the race also concluded the class points series for the Topazes, Toppers and Sea Rangers Results: Potterers’ Pot: 1. Comet Mino – Peter Downer 2. Witch – Tony Merryweather and Dave Fowell 3. Topaz – Eden Blaber Class Points Overall: Topaz: 1. Eden Blaber 2. Andy Ford 3. Matt Murray-Downing Topper: 1. India Ford 2. Bethany Ford Sea Ranger: 1. Scallywag - Richard Walker 2. Curlew - Fred Webster 3. Peggy - Lesley Sacre