Last Sunday proved a busy day for members of the Gunfleet Sailing Club. In the morning it was the final race of the Club’s Winter Series and, like all good race series, it was this last event that was destined to determine the overall winner; being either Paul Davis in his Solution or Simon Clarke in his Phantom. In brilliant sunshine and a force 2 to 3 offshore wind it was Andy Dunnett that led the fleet at the start, closely followed by Davis. Assisted by a flood tide the craft reached to the Eastcliff mark, gybed and headed out on a very broad reach to the Seaward Buoy. The boats then beat in to the AWS mark but found the tide giving them assistance as it lifted the boats onto the buoy. At this point Clarke led the way whilst slightly further back Tom Fadden had a few problems as he rounded the mark in his Laser, allowing the Williams brothers in their Hobie 405 to slip through. It was at this point that Robert Gutteridge retired in his Laser, finding the cold weather on his hands restricted his performance. There followed a run back out to Seaward, a fetch to the Kingscliff buoy and then back through the line. At the end of the first lap Davis had a small lead on handicap, followed by Clarke in second place and Derroll Pedder third in his Solution. Surprisingly Fadden just went through the line, did a somersault out of his Laser, and ended up losing a few minutes righting his craft. The second lap proved uneventful with the exception that Dunnett slipped in front of Pedder to take third place, with Davis pulling further ahead to a clear victory. This was enough to give Davis top position overall. Special mention must go to the Williams boys, Cadets of the Club, who took fourth place overall; beating several older and more experienced sailors.
Results – Winter Series Overall:
1. Solution – Paul Davis
2. Phantom – Simon Clarke
3. Solution – Derroll Pedder
As soon as the race was over a group of members, led by Vice Commodore Dave Fowell, brought all the seasonal race marks in; a gruelling and messy job but very necessary for servicing purposes.
Then in the afternoon the Club held its 50th Annual General Meeting when Commodore Richard Walker welcomed a full Clubhouse and went on to review the preceding year. The sailing side had been very active, the highlight of the racing being the Club’s Regatta and the three day Solution dinghy national championships. Both events had brought in visitors from outside the district and resulted in a significant number of complimentary comments. The cruises had proved extremely popular with light airs and calm seas to aid the craft on their way. These often seemed to result in the fleet of dinghies ghosting back home as the sun sank over the Pier – absolutely idyllic conditions. On the other hand some 12 races had to be postponed due to the extremity of the weather, but all except one of these had been subsequently rerun.
The social side of the Club had been an absolute hit with members, seventy five of whom had squeezed into the Clubhouse to take part in the Fitting-Out Supper. The catering over the Solution championships had been exceptional, but the highlight had been the Regatta and Cadet Party with 120 people in attendance and 107 meals served. The thanks for all this went to the Club’s Rear Commodore Jon Meggison and his House and Wines Committee, along with the many helpers that had ensured every event was a real success.
The Cadets and Otters had once again been a real credit to the Club with their sailing prowess coming more to the fore all the time. The Club now had 65 young members and they had their own social events in the winter, along with a Saturday sailing series that was to be expanded in 2013. The highlight though had to be Cadet Week when 40 youngsters enjoyed a whole week of racing, cruising, and fun and games on and off the water. The logistics of this, including the catering, was considerable and only happened because so many adult members gave up their time, a number booking annual leave from work. But it was this commitment and great camaraderie that made the Gunfleet such a special Club with a very bright future. Commodore Walker went on to thank his Committee for the support and commitment given to the Club and reported that a number of the Committee members were standing down this year.
Treasurer Peter Downer then took the members through the accounts for the year and highlighted the major expenditure the Club had incurred in installing a brand new galley. However he was pleased to show that half the cost had already been recovered in the first year and the figures spoke for themselves, demonstrating a very sound and successful financial position.
The following officers were then appointed to the Committee for 2013:
Commodore: Richard Walker
Vice Commodore: Dave Fowell
Rear Commodore: Jon Meggison
Sailing Secretary: Paul Davis
Social Secretary: Phil Hayes
Cadet Officer: Chris Williams
Compound Officer: Barry Peters