Cadet Week an absolute Winner

Gunfleet Sailing Club Cadet Week proved an overwhelming success with over 20 youngsters taking part. Despite the beginning of the week proving very windy it didn’t stop, amongst a variety of fun and games, sail training on the first day including rigging and de-rigging a boat plus “dry” sailing on the greensward in Toppers. The following day there was an organised visit to White Formula at Brightlingsea to see how modern dinghies are built and on Wednesday, in slightly lighter winds, the Cadets and Otters took to the water and gained experience in different points of sailing. On Thursday everyone got wet as they learnt how to right a capsized dinghy and on Friday a race was held using Toppers and Topazes. As with all good races positions changed and changed again and the helms demonstrated their skill in boat handling. In an impressive display of seamanship and tactics it was Bethany Ford and Chelsea Millward that won in their Topaz.Results:

Cadet Week Race:
1. Topaz – Bethany Ford and Chelsea Millward
2. Topper – Matt Murray-Downing and Zak Thomas
3. Topaz – Charlie Venables and Eden Blaber

On Sunday night there was a barbecue and giant firework display and as well as the presentation of the Trophy for racing, every Cadet and Otter taking part received a T-shirt with the slogan “I survived Gunfleet Cadet Week 2008”. Also receiving a T-shirt each, along with a big thank you from all the youngsters were Cadet Officer Andy Ford and Club member Simon Clarke who both put an enormous amount of work into making sure the whole event was a great success.

On the morning of the Bank Holiday Monday the Gunfleet held its race for the prestigious Bill Geddes Trophy. With force four gusting five south westerly winds and grey skies, coupled with a choppy sea, it deterred a number of members from entering but nine boats still took part. Sitting on the start line was Andy Dunnett in his Laser and he lead the fleet towards the Eastcliff buoy, followed closely by John Tappenden also in a Laser, but they were both soon overhauled by Ken Potts in his RS600. There then followed a lively run back, round the AWS buoy and on to the Kingscliff mark before heading out to the Seaward buoy.

Although relatively free from incident the conditions proved too much for Eddie White in his Solution and he retired back to the shore. The others continued around the course and found the leg from the Seaward mark to the finish, a screaming reach, the highlight of the race. For the fast handicapped boats this was an important race as it also completed the class points series.

Bill Geddes Trophy:
1. RS600 – Ken Potts
2. Laser – John Tappenden
3. Solution – Simon Clarke

Class Points Overall:
1. John Tappenden
2. Andy Dunnett
3. Yvonne Gough

1. Simon Clarke
2. Sonny Hart
3. Mark Venables

Despite the strong winds continuing throughout the day, eight boats came to the line for the Austin Ladies Trophy in the afternoon. Yvonne Gough got a good start in her Laser, closely followed by Shelby Fowell also in a Laser, and Katie Davis, crewed by her father, in the Xenon. Almost as the start flag fell from the yardarm Catherine Venables parted company from her Topaz but her crew sailed back to pick her up, losing valuable time. Lorree Blaber had wisely put a reef in her Topper sail but still found the wind overpowering and, having capsized and righted the boat, headed back to shore. Bethany Ford also found the conditions a bit much in her Topaz and retired. Despite a delayed start, Lesley Sacre in her Pico soon picked up speed and chased after the rest of the fleet whilst Fowell found herself overpowered in her Laser capsizing the boat a number of times but managing to flip over the gunwale each time and right the craft without getting wet. However, her luck was to change at the Seaward gybe mark when she, like Venables earlier, parted company with the boat. Doing extremely well in their Topaz were India Ford and Eden Blaber until a quite violent capsize saw the rudder fly off and disappear into the sea. The Rescue Boat was soon on the scene assisting the girls. At the end of the first lap Gough had a significant lead but halfway round the second lap a fitting pulled out from the boom and she was forced to limp back to the shore.

Austin Ladies Trophy:
1. Xenon – Katie Davis
2. Pico – Lesley Sacre
All other entries retired.