RS600 Storms Into Lead

Gunfleet Sailing Club held its annual pursuit race last Sunday afternoon 31 July with the winner, Ken Potts, being the donor of the trophy.  Unlike the usual race where everyone starts together and a handicap system is used to calculate the winner, this race has a staggered start so that in theory, at a specific point in time, all the craft should be exactly at the same spot.  In a fresh south easterly wind seventeen craft took part on a course that started with a reach to the Kingscliff buoy, followed with a fetch out to the Seaward mark, a run into the AWS buoy, beat back out to sea, broad reach to the Pier buoy and then back through the line.  The slowest boats were away first and this was the Topper fleet with Robert Gutteridge leading and the Kurtulus brothers close behind; places were to reverse as the event went on and to reverse yet again before the end.  Barry Peters was over the line in his Comet Duo when he started but was quick to correct his error.  Unfortunately when it came to the Laser start both Andy Dunnett and Matthew Gough were across the line too early and despite returning to correct their error, failed to re-cross the line at the right point and were disqualified.  The Vortex helms were particularly overeager and started their race some 20 seconds before they should, ignoring the recall signal and both therefore also being disqualified.  Twenty three minutes after the Toppers set off the RS600’s started, with the aim of picking the other competitors off one by one.  After the first lap it was Cadet Sebastien Mathewson that had a good lead in his Byte but as he headed out to the Seaward buoy so Simon Clarke in his Solution managed to slip ahead.  Paul Davis, also in a Solution, was forced to retire when the rivets gave way on his mainsheet pulley-block during one of the gybes and all he could do was to limp back to shore.  The weather certainly seemed to suit the faster craft with the RS600’s absolutely romping along.  Halfway through the second lap Ken Potts established the lead and continued to strengthen his position as time went on, with John Tappenden following close behind.  If they hadn’t jumped the line at the start then third and fourth places would almost certainly have gone to Derroll Pedder and Simon Mathewson but because they were disqualified it was Clarke that took third position.

Results: Potts’ Pursuit Trophy:
1. RS600 – Ken Potts
2. RS600 – John Tappenden
3. Solution – Simon Clarke

The previous Wednesday evening Gunfleet’s penultimate race in the series for the Tony Chadd Trophy took place in a fresh north easterly wind.  Despite a flooding tide Davis chose to head out to sea on port tack but this seemed to assist him in obtaining cleaner wind and he was the leading Solution at the Kingscliff mark.  As the twelve boats headed round the course the wind died away until at one point there appeared to be absolutely nothing.  The course was shortened to two laps and whilst many retired as a result of frustration, Sebastien Mathewson stuck it out in his Byte and completed the race in almost total darkness.  

Results: Tony Chadd Trophy Series - 3
1. Solution – Paul Davis
2. Solution – Simon Clarke
3. RS600 – Ken Potts