Last Race And Club's Annual General Meeting

The last race of the year was held by the Gunfleet Sailing Club last Sunday 4 December when the sixth and final event in the Winter Series took place.  In a very cold force three, increasing to five, south westerly wind eleven boats came to the line.  As the start gun reverberated across the water Ken Potts headed out to sea on a starboard tack, whilst the rest of the fleet took the port tack in order to stay close to the shore as they all beat down coast to the St. Michael’s buoy against the last of the ebb tide.  Potts, defying the tide, made easy work of the first leg whilst some of the other competitors found things more stressful.  The first in trouble was Yvonne Gough when the out-hall on her Laser parted, forcing her to retire.  Then Sebastien Mathewson capsized his Byte but, after a few moments in the water, he had his craft upright and was back in the thick of it.  Not so nimble was his father, Simon Mathewson, who then capsized his Vortex and spent quite some time getting it the right way up.  Another one to go over was Kelvin Morton and he too lost many minutes trying to right the boat, eventually retiring due to a leg injury.  Both Robert Gutteridge and Aaron Baker also retired, leaving just seven boats racing; all by now heading out to the Seaward mark at an alarming rate.  Potts had, by this time, achieved a commanding lead but the battle was on between John Tappenden and Andy Dunnett, both sailing Lasers, as to who was going to secure second place.  Unfortunately as the craft reached into the AWS buoy and then back out to sea Dunnett ditched his boat and could only watch Tappenden disappear as he struggled to get his Laser upright.  At a similar time Eddie White also capsized his Solution but wasted no time getting back in the game.  The leg that followed, to the Kingscliff buoy, proved uneventful and then it was a beat back to the line.  The second lap proved less eventful and the top three places remained consistent.

Results: Winter Series 6
1. RS600 – Ken Potts
2. Laser – John Tappenden
3. Laser – Andy Dunnett

Winter Series Overall:
1. RS600 – Ken Potts
2. Byte – Sebastien Mathewson
3. Solution – Simon Clarke

In the afternoon the Club held its Annual General Meeting and Commodore Richard Walker reported on a very busy and exciting year for the Club.  A lot of improvements had been undertaken to the Club that concluded with a completely refurbished galley.  Thanks to Tendring District Council the Club had a professional weather station and earlier in the year the roof of the Changing Rooms had been completely replaced.  On the sailing front the races had proved extremely popular with 27 boats entering the Spring Series at the beginning of the year, 23 craft competing in the Wednesday evening Summer Series and, more recently, the Autumn Series had attracted 24 competitors.  The Winter Series, that had just ended, saw 21 boats taking part.  The most successful individual race had been that for the RNLI Shield at the Club’s Regatta Day when £407 had been raised for the Clacton Lifeboat Station.  The Regatta afternoon had seen class racing with seven separate starts and, at the end of the day, an impressive array of silverware had been handed out to the winners.  The Club had also run the Double Dan race and attracted 25 boats, many from other Clubs. 

The Club now had 65 Cadets and Otters and they were a credit to the Gunfleet.  There sailing skills had developed, particularly thanks to the anonymous member who had funded a day’s sail training by a member of the British Olympic Sailing Squad.  The Club had been packed and, with a mix of classroom and on the water tuition, it was no wonder the Gunfleet’s younger members were proving a real threat to the more seasoned sailor.  The young members had also enjoyed After School Sailing, Sailing On Saturday and a fun-filled Cadet Day but the crowning glory had been the Cadet Week, when 45 members took part.  With a lot of adult help the Week was a total success and climaxed with 120 members attending the Cadet “End of Week Party” when all 45 entrants receiving a unique 2011 Cadet Week T-Shirt.

The social side of the week had not been forgotten with the traditional Fitting-Out supper, Bicycle Treasure Hunt, Quiz Night, Crabbing Contest, and a splendid Laying-Up Dinner and Prize Giving.

Club Treasurer Peter Downer reported that despite significant expenditure during the year the Gunfleet had made a modest surplus and he was pleased to report that the Club was in a sound financial position.

The following were then elected to office for 2012:
Commodore: Richard Walker
Vice Commodore: Dave Fowell
Rear Commodore: Jon Meggison
Sailing Secretary: Simon Clarke
Social Secretary: Alan Gutteridge
Cadet Officer: Barry Peters
Compound Officer: Mark Venables