Cadet Commodore Claims Victory In First Race Of Winter Series
Grey skies, steady rain, and a gusting and variable offshore wind greeted the twelve competitors taking part in the first race of the Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Winter Series last Sunday morning 21 October 2012. Straight into the lead was Paul Davis in his Solution, starting at the shoreward end of the line and heading out to sea on a port tack, hotly pursued by Andy Dunnett in his Laser. The competitors were, however, reluctant to venture too far offshore as they were fighting a flooding tide and were aware it only got stronger the further out to sea they ventured. The beat to the Kingscliff buoy did not take long and as the boats rounded the mark it was clear that Cadet Commodore Matt Downing had taken the lead in his Contender, although Davis remained hot on his heels. There then followed a broad reach out to the Seaward buoy before a beat back to the Kingscliff mark. On this latter leg it looked like Davis was going to out-sail Downing but things were to change as the race went on. Meanwhile the conditions were proving rather too much for some of the competitors with winds gusting between force 2 and force 5, whilst veering quite alarmingly in direction. First to retire was Tommy Martin in his Topper, who had technical problems, then Bethany Elliott came back to shore in her Topaz, having capsized no less than seven time during the early part of the race. The rest of the fleet continued to battle it out on the second broad reach out to sea before heading down the coast, with the tide now under them, to the St. Michael’s buoy. There then followed quite a daunting beat back to the line. At the end of the first lap Downing had carved himself quite a strong first place, with Davis second and Mark Venables third in his Laser. During the second lap the top three positions remained the same.