Twenty Boats Take Part In Autumn Series 2

Members of the Gunfleet Sailing Club had a full weekend, in almost ideal conditions, starting on Saturday 24 September with the End of Season Cruise.  The 2011 cruising programme has been dogged with bad weather but for the final trip of the season the sun shone and a force three onshore breeze beckoned the boats onto the water.  The fleet headed up the coast on the last of the ebb tide, stopping at Frinton for refreshment, before continuing on their way.  The crews all returned back to the Club as the sun began to sink in the west.

On Sunday 25 September blue skies and sunshine dominated, plus a force four south/south westerly wind, and this attracted twenty boats to take part in the second race in the Autumn Series.  In order to ensure that they could make the first mark, at Eastcliff, on one tack the whole fleet bunched up at the Outer Distance Mark making for a lively start.  Paul Davis was just a touch too eager in his Solution and jumped the line but returned as quickly as possible to correct his error; subsequently cutting his way through the slower handicap craft.  There was some uncertainty whether, even close hauled, the boats could make the Seaward buoy once round the Eastcliff mark so some competitors wisely continued sailing towards the Pier.  Others, who were less prudent and tacked at the very first opportunity, found the ebbing tide taking them the wrong side of the offshore mark and were forced to put in an extra couple of tacks.  Aon reaching the buoy it was necessary to gybe before running down to the Kingscliff buoy and it was at this point that Barry Peters very nearly capsized in his Comet Duo as a wave caught him amidships but he managed to control the boat at the last moment.  It was also around this time that the wind veered more south westerly and started to pick up to a force five.  This helped the craft as the next leg was a beat back out to sea before a second run back to Kingscliff, followed by a close haul back to the line.  The fast handicap fleet was dominated by Ken Potts in his RS600 but following fairly close on his heels was cadet Matt Downing in his Contender, who had the boat flying.  In the medium handicap fleet the usual battle was on between John Tappenden in his Blaze and Simon Clarke in his Solution, with Andy Dunnett leading the Lasers.  It was cadets Conor and Finlay Williams that led the slow handicap fleet in their Topaz although veteran Fred Webster was giving them a run for their money in his Sea Ranger.  Unfortunately Aaron Baker was forced to retire in his Topaz when the tiller extension came away in his hand.

Results: Autumn Series 2
1. RS600 – Ken Potts
2. Blaze – John Tappenden
3. Solution – Simon Clarke