Gunfleet Sailing Club held its Regatta Weekend, kindly sponsored by Discount Windows and Conservatories of Clacton, with some great sailing spread over two days of the August Bank-holiday.
On Saturday it was Cadet Day and eleven boats took part in the morning race for the Cadet Day Trophy. Conditions were lively, with a force 5 north-easterly wind and a good sea running; the result of this being that capsizes came thick and fast. Toppers, Topazes, 405’s and Lasers launched to take part and soon made their way to the start line. The Club’s Rescue Boat stayed close-by at all times, ready to assist anyone that got into difficulties. The five minute class flag was broken-out at the yardarm and the competitors began to judge their positions for the line, in order to achieve a tight start. Next it was the Blue Peter flying alongside the class flag and this signalled 4 minutes to go; three minutes later it came down to warn the sailors there was just 1 minute left. Boats jostled for prime position and the horn drew attention to the start of the race with the first leg, a beat up to the Kingscliff buoy, seeing Robert Gutteridge take an early lead in his Laser, with Harry Swinbourne, also in a Laser, chasing hard after him. The two 405’s made a fine sight with Beth Elliott and Harry Spence driving their boat to its full, whilst Tom and Ed Philpot retired as the wind started gusting force 6. In the Topazes Harrison Smith and Alfie Searle capsized several times, often turtling the boat, but each time they got it upright and carried on with steely determination. Nick and Francesca Cottee retired, as did Maddie Corbett and Daisy Swinbourne, but in the latter case it was due to a broken mast and also a broken tiller. Abigail Hayes was forced to retire when the boom on her Topper broke, leaving Robbie Jay and Ted Newson to battle it out, Jay being the first Topper home. Shona Goodchild and Alex Corbett just kept going, determined to finish the race in their Topaz, spurred-on by the sight of the shorten course flag stiffly flying back at the Club.
Results – Cadet Day Trophy:
1. Laser – Robert Gutteridge
2. Topper – Robbie Jay
3. Topaz – Shona Goodchild and Alex Corbett
After a free lunch for all Cadets and Otters, it was on with the games, with two large teams being created – Port and Starboard! The wind had continued to strengthen, to a point where it would not have been wise to sail, so plan B – Games On The Beach kicked in, but not before there was a swimming race around the IDM Beacon. There was a mass rush to the east of the beacon and as the swimming got underway the competitors soon realised that wind and tide were having quite an adverse effect. First to make it back to the shore was Nick of the Starboard Team, and he immediately swam back out to assist some of his smaller team members that were finding it quite a struggle. Second was Alex from the Port Team, and he too went to help his fellow team mates. Tom Port was third and Robbie Starboard was fourth......and so it went on, until the very last swimmer – Harrison Starboard came ashore – overall victory going to the Port Team.
As if both teams weren’t exhausted enough, the next game was a running relay, along the beach to a marker buoy and back, before handing over the batten; just to sort the “toughs from the fluffs” and it was the Starboard Team that won this time.
Then came the Wheelbarrow Race – a lively affair where some wheelbarrows seemed to be more carried than pushed, and others were literally being dragged round; all very uncomfortable! Maddie and Shona followed the rules and got amazing speed up as they tore up to the buoy and back, and this certainly helped their team, Starboard, to win first place.
Piggy-Back was the next game and this time there were some alarming speeds as the two teams chased each other round the buoy, and it was the chance for Port Team to claw its way back with a win.
The Tug of War proved interesting with a lot of grunting, heaving, sweating and grimacing, and that was just making their way up to the rope! Soon the strain was taken and the rope waivered one way, then the other, then back again. Suddenly Port crumbled and Starboard gained the first point. Round two saw another tough fight and yet again Starboard showed they had what it takes. The third and final pull seemed to go on for ever, a very evenly matched contest, but maybe the Starboard Team had overstretched themselves on the previous two challenges as Port eventually dragged their rivals along the beach.
Leaving the messiest to last!! It was time for the Egg Throwing. Once again there were two rounds, and it was surprising just how often the egg was not caught, but landed on the sand and still remained intact. The worst thing was always when someone, in catching the raw egg, managed to break the shell, so leaving a mix of yolk etc. in their hands. As couples from each team were knocked out it got down to an incredibly long distance to throw the egg; the last couple left in the first round coming from Port Team. A second round saw the tables reversed, and Starboard members kept going to the bitter end.
Everyone then ran into the sea for a bit of a wash-down and lots of jolly antics, the Cadets and Otters seeming absolutely tireless. But all too soon it was time to pack the boats away, recover the Rescue Boat, and get changed.
And the overall winning Team was....(pause for a ridiculously long time like they do on the television)....Starboard!! Well done to everyone that took part and now it’s time to have a rest before the Regatta’s Race Day tomorrow.