The Best Cadet Week To-Date

Seventeen boats took part in Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Fleet Championship race in a gusting westerly wind but disaster struck early for Lesley Sacre when she capsized in her Sea Ranger shortly before the start.  Cadet Ben Richardson was first to cross the start line, followed by Andy Dunnett in his Laser and Paul Davis and Beth Ford in their RS 400.  Beating close to the shore, to mitigate the effect of the ebbing tide, the craft soon made the St. Michael’s buoy and then it was a broad reach to the AWS buoy.  There followed a gybe and a run out the Seaward mark, by which time a number of capsizes had occurred.  Unfortunately the RS 400 capsized on top of the Seaward buoy and got entangled with it, taking some considerable time to free itself; at which point the boat retired back to the shore.  In the Laser fleet it was Andy Dunnett that lead the way, whilst Derroll Pedder was the leading Solution, Zak and Jake Kurtulus held top spot in the Hobie 405’s and Richardson maintained his first place in the Topper class.  To be congratulated, in their first Club race, were father and son Steve and Harry Swinbourne.  Steve came in twelfth in his Topaz whilst Harry pipped his father, in his Topper, and took eleventh place.
Results – Fleet Championship:
1. RS 600 – Ken Potts
2. Blaze – John Tappenden
3. Laser – Andy Dunnett
Gunfleet’s Cadet Week proved to be an absolute knock-out, with perfect weather conditions and a variety of racing and games throughout the five days.  Each morning, with the exception of Friday when there was a cruise, there was class racing and first to start was the Topper fleet.  As the week progressed it became clear that this was to be a three horse race between Ben Richardson, Robert Gutteridge and Tommy Martin but Richardson kept slipping into the lead until the final race when Gutteridge took a well earned victory.  Will Marsh just missed out on the top three places after consistently holding back the remaining six Toppers.
In the Topaz fleet it was a far more uncertain outcome.  Beth Ford and Daisy Swinbourne took the first two races but were less successful in the final two, whilst a retirement in the first race by Beth Elliott and Caitlin Ansell prevented them from taking the overall honours, despite some excellent sailing in the remaining three races.  Maddie Wyss and Amie-Lou Ansell noticeably improved as the Week went on and but, again, it was a retirement that knocked back their overall result.  It was certainly interesting to watch the seven Topazes taking part as they switched positions during each race, but despite not actually winning an individual race the overall winners were Brogan and Max Bates who consistently stayed in the top of the fleet.
The four Hobie 405’s made a tremendous sight with their crews out on the trapeze wire, and the colourful asymmetric spinnakers speeding the boats along on downwind legs.  Racing was hard fought with each boat taking the lead at various times throughout every race.  Capsizes occurred when the boats pushed their luck but they were soon up again and speeding on their way.  It was interesting to see some different tactics being used on different legs and, apart from the top spot, which the Williams brothers dominated, the remaining three positions were undecided until the final race.
Results – Cadet Week Class Racing
Topper Fleet – for the Swallow Trophy:
1. Ben Richardson
2. Robert Gutteridge
3. Tommy Martin
Topaz Fleet – for the Amazon Trophy:
1. Brogan and Max Bates
2. Beth Elliott and Catlin Ansell
3= Darcie Baker and Alice Fuller
3= Ross Aylen and Hugo Johnson
Hobie 405 – for the Captain Flint Trophy:
1. Conor and Finlay Williams
2= Charlie and Harry Spence
2= Zak and Jake Kurtulus
4. Emma Hygate and Sebastian Sanchez
For the less experienced young sailors there was the Gunfleet Training Squad that operated whilst the racing went on, and using five Toppers the novices were all handling their craft with great confidence by the end of the week.
After a splendid lunch each day the youngsters, split into four teams, then enjoyed a variety of sailing games and points were awarded for each one.  On Friday the Cadets and Otters all sailed to Frinton where they had a picnic on the beach and held their own Gunfleet Olympics.
Saturday evening was the Cadet Week Party and prize-giving and 97 people attended.  The Cadets were all awarded a 2013 Cadet Week T-shirt and everyone tucked into a hog-roast meal.  Thanks were given to the 25 members involved in running the Week but a very special thank you went to Cadet Officer Chris Williams who had made the whole event so very successful.
You can see a full write-up, with loads of pictures, by clicking on the Cadets and Otters on the left of this page and then opening Cadets & Otters 2013 - it's the first story.