Gunfleet Regatta A Great Success

The highlight of the Gunfleet Sailing Club calendar took place last weekend 29/30 August when the annual Regatta was held.  On the Saturday it was Cadet Day and some forty youngsters took part in a day of fun and games on and off the water.  It all started with “Numbers-Up” when a fleet of Topazes and Toppers, carrying four people on each, chased after plastic bottles containing various numbers in order to gain the largest score.  There then followed a Treasure Hunt, Word search, Relay Race and various swimming competitions before the grand finale; the egg throwing contest.  The winning team was the Bromfords Elite, followed by the Hapoola Boys in second place and the Seaward Boys third.

On Sunday it was the main race day with visiting boats from Alton Water, Hertford County Yacht Club and Clacton Sailing Club.  Blue skies and bright sunshine greeted the competitors, along with a freshening south westerly wind.  Thirty-six boats entered the morning race for the RNLI Trophy and as the craft roared up and down the start line, waiting for the “off”, they made a marvellous spectacle to the many onlookers lining the shore.  Unfortunately a number of over eager helms jumped the line and the Officer of the Day was forced to have a general recall.  After a successful second start the fleet beat up to St. Michael’s buoy and then headed out to the Seaward mark on a broad reach.  The catamarans simply flew along but, with the exception of Martin and Debbie Chivers from Clacton Sailing Club on their Dart 18, were unable to get in front of the Gunfleet’s RS600’s.  A number of the dinghies hoisted their colourful spinnakers on the downwind legs and picked-up the necessary extra speed to challenge the front-runners.  As the race went on so the winds seemed to moderate a little, but the sea continued to have quite a swell.  By the end of the first lap it was Gunfleet’s Ken Potts in the lead in his RS600 but positions changed a number of times on the second lap.  Unfortunately visitor Mike Suffield in his RS200 was disqualified for not going through the line between laps but apart from a couple of retirements the rest of the fleet successfully completed the course.  As the final lap progressed so the two Blazes surged forward and on handicap took the top places.

Results – RNLI Charity shield:
1.    Blaze – John Tappenden – Gunfleet Sailing Club
2.    Blaze – Malcolm Parker – Alton Water Sailing Club
3.    RS300 – Mark Peak – Alton Water Sailing Club
First Cadet – Matt Downing – Laser – Gunfleet Sailing Club

As the crews all took a well deserved break for their lunch so the wind picked-up and continued to freshen.  The programme for the afternoon was a series of class racing, starting at 2:00 p.m. with the Sea Rangers.  However, with winds now at force six the fifteen-minute postponement flag was hoisted, but the strength continued to increase; at one time hitting 28 knots.  At this point the Officer of the Day decided to cancel any further racing that day.

Earlier in the morning the club had welcomed both Clacton Lifeboats, along with their crew, and as a result of the Regatta the Gunfleet raised £488 for the RNLI.

On Bank Holiday Monday the Club returned to its slightly quieter operation with fifteen boats taking part in the race for the Fleet Championship.  With a slightly more friendly southerly force two to three breeze the fleet had a pleasant but uneventful race with John Tappenden continuing his success.

Results – Fleet Championship
1.    Blaze – John Tappenden
2.    RS600 – Ken Potts
3.    RS600 – Kelvin Morton