Victory For John Tappenden In Lively Conditions

Saturday evening 5 November really went with a bang down at the Gunfleet with the annual Club Firework Extravaganza.  Over 100 people came down to the Club and enjoyed soup, hot dogs and burgers plus an impressive firework display; with plenty of sparklers for the younger members. 

The morning after the night before and gloomy conditions greeted the competitors in the third race of the Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Winter Series on the Sunday morning, with grey skies, a hint of drizzle and a northerly wind that gusted between force two and five.  This didn’t deter twelve boats taking part in the event and with the fluky winds and an ebb tide there was anticipation that some competitors could well find themselves over the line at the start of the race.  However, the helms managed to keep control and as the class flag fell from the yardarm Derroll Pedder went storming towards the first mark, the Kingscliff buoy, at an alarming rate.  The quite violent gusts of wind kept everyone on their toes and it was inevitable there would be a number of capsizes, although on the first leg everyone did stay upright, despite some near misses.  Once again the younger members of the Club demonstrated their ability with Sebastien Mathewson keeping his Byte well ahead of four of the Lasers; similarly the Williams Brothers had their Topaz in amongst the Lasers as they had their boat flying through the water.  The second leg was a run out to the Seaward buoy and the mix of tide and wind shifts certainly made for some interesting boat angles.  As the craft beat back to the Kingscliff mark capsizes started to occur, including Simon Mathewson who tipped his Vortex virtually on top of the landward buoy.  Unfortunately the Williams boys and Tom Fadden in his Laser, both went round the mark the wrong way and were both disqualified.  For the rest of the fleet there then followed a broad reach down the coast, round the AWS buoy, and on to the Eascliff mark; before what transpired to be a very close haul back across the line.  By this time John Tappenden in his Laser had pulled away from the rest of the class and was challenging Ken Potts in his RS600 for top spot on handicap, with Sebastien Mathewson in his Byte close on Tappenden’s tail.  During the second lap Tappenden nudged his way into the overall lead assisted by the fact he kept his boat upright whilst a number of others found themselves in the water. 

Results: Winter Series 3
1. Laser – John Tappenden
2. RS600 – Ken Potts
3. Byte – Sebastien Mathewson