Uninviting Conditions Greet Competitors in the First of the Winter Series Races

Last Sunday 26 October the Gunfleet Sailing Club held the first race in its Winter Series. As the competitors arrived there was a fresh south/south westerly wind blowing, large seas and steady rain falling under a very grey sky; conditions to deter even the hardiest sailor. However, as time went on the wind fell away completely and the seas began to flatten, albeit the rain continued to fall. As a result six boats took to the water and limped to the start line. Held back, at best, by the strong ebb tide some helms found their boats being dragged backwards and could do very little to successfully punch the tide. When the start flag fell from the yardarm Simon Clarke managed to very patiently edge his way to the Eastcliff buoy, and as he rounded the first mark the rest of the fleet were still vainly attempting to cross the start line. Yvonne Gough, second across the line in her Laser, was swept backwards and struggled to make headway. Almost as if to tease the competitors a little breeze kicked in for a few minutes and then disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. Second to round the Eastcliff buoy was Geoff Battersby in his Blaze, successfully going on to make the Seaward mark before accidentally capsizing as he rounded the buoy. With a considerable gap between each craft the fleet slowly completed the first lap and were very relieved to see that the Officer of the Day had hoisted the Shorten Course flag. Results: Winter Series 1: 1. Solution – Simon Clarke 2. Blaze – Geoff Battersby 3. Solution – Mark Venables