Zak, Jake and Ben Are SOS Winners

Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Cadets and Otters eagerly took part in the third race of the SOS Class Points last Saturday afternoon 10 August.  The wind appeared fickle, both in strength and direction, and the tide had just turned, creating a powerful ebb flow.  First away were the Toppers and Robert Gutteridge got a good start, followed closely by Tommy Martin.  Caught by the tide, further out to sea, was Ben Richardson who found the light airs and adverse affect of the tide, quite a handful; whilst Will Marsh and Harrison Smith just couldn’t stem the tide and were forced to retire.  The wind at this point veered in direction and came-up, then fell away, and then came-up once more, proving quite a challenge to the competitors; however it was Martin that made the Eastcliff buoy first and then found himself being swept down-tide as he reached out to the Seaward mark.  Ten minutes after the Toppers were away it was the turn of the Hobie 405’s and once again they were all affected by the inconsistent wind strength and direction, coupled with the adverse tide.  Lead positions changed constantly as the 405’s beat to the Eastcliff buoy, but it was Zak and Jake Kurtulus that rounded the mark first, followed by Charlie and Harry Spence; the Spence brothers immediately hoisting their asymmetric kite.  Back with the Topper fleet and by this time Martin had carved-out a considerable lead as he reached from the Seaward mark to the AWS buoy but sadly he then took the wrong course, as did his nearest rival Gutteridge, both therefore being disqualified and allowing Richardson to win the Topper race.  The Kurtulus boys on the other hand, not only completed the right course but compensated perfectly for the tide and took a well deserved first place in the Hobie 405 race.
On Sunday morning, 11 August, 13 boats took part in the race for the Gunfleet’s oldest Trophy – the Tee Dee Challenge Cup.  A force 4, gusting 5,  south westerly wind kept the helms on their toes and moments before the start Ben Richardson and Robert Gutteridge, both sailing Toppers, capsized very close to the line and forced a number of competitors to take avoiding action.  The first leg was a beat down the coast, under a flooding tide, to the St. Michael’s buoy and most boats put a single large tack out to sea.  There then followed a run back to the AWS buoy and with the wind randomly veering west/south west it meant the helms had to be constantly watching their wind indicators to avoid an unexpected gybe.  The next leg was a reach out to the Seaward mark, followed by a planned gybe, and then a reach down to the Kingscliff buoy and a beat back to the line.  Aaron Baker capsized twice by the AWS buoy in his Laser but otherwise incidents, generally, were fairly low.  At the end of the first lap John Tappenden had built up a comfortable lead in his Blaze with Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens second in their Scorpion, and they both managed to maintain these positions during the second lap.  Leading the Laser fleet was Yvonne Gough and she just missed out on third place overall; husband Matthew, also sailing a Laser, being just seconds behind her in fifth place. 
Results – Tee Dee Challenge Trophy:
1. Blaze – John Tappenden
2. Scorpion – Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens
3. RS 600 – Ken Potts