Andy Takes His Laser To Victory

Veteran Gunfleet Sailing Club member Andy Dunnett came to the fore last Sunday 20 September when he won the first race in the Autumn Series in the morning, and went on to take third place overall in the Potts Pursuit Race in the afternoon.
Sunshine and blue skies greeted the competitors for the Autumn Series first race which, coupled with a light south westerly breeze and flooding tide, meant an opportunity to think tactics on the way round the course.  More than half the fleet started on port tack as they headed down the coast to the windward mark but Peter Downer in his Comet, Andy Dunnett in his Laser, and Richard Walker in his Sea Ranger, all chose to head out to sea on starboard tack.  This gave them right of way and took them into the strengthening tide which hurried them on their way.  Then it was a run back to the AWS buoy, when Dave Fowell and Derroll Pedder hoisted the spinnaker in their Scorpion, as did Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens in their RS 400; both boats benefitting from the increased lift.  Hardening-up, the fleet then headed out to the Seaward mark which, taking into account the strengthening tide, went from a close haul to a fetch.  Gybing round this buoy it was back down to AWS on a reach, a second fetch out to sea, and then a very broad reach up the coast before sailing close hauled back through the line.  Unfortunately Robert Gutteridge just nudged a buoy and lost valuable seconds putting in his 360 degree penalty, Fowell and Pedder decided to do a bit of fishing with their kite, but nobody capsized.  And whilst positions remained close it was Dunnett that took the winning gun for his first win of the season.
Results – Autumn Series - 1:
1. Laser – Andy Dunnett
2. Comet – Peter Downer
3. Laser – Paul Stanton
In the afternoon the second and final race in the Potts Pursuit Challenge took place and if anybody looked stressed it was the Officer of the Day and Flag Assistants with no less than eleven separate class starts.  With a number of classes having more than one boat taking part it made a real spectacle to the onlookers, providing entertainment to residents and visitors alike.  First away were Fred Webster and Lesley Sacre in the Sea Ranger class, followed some eight minutes later by the Toppers, then the Topazes after a further six minutes, until almost thirty-four minutes after the Sea Rangers, the RS 600 was let loose; the former already having completed a full lap.  The race, or more exactly described as “The Chase”, saw the faster handicapped dinghies starting to pick-off their slower handicapped rivals, whilst constantly looking over their shoulders for challenges from other even-faster boats.  After two-thirds of the time had elapsed the Sea Ranger still held the lead but was being challenged by Harry Swinbourne in his Topper, Downer snapping at their heels in his Comet.  But with every minute the gaps were closing and it was just sixteen minutes before the end that Dunnett drove his Laser into the lead and looked determined to hang onto it until the bitter end.  By now Ken Potts, who had started last in his RS 600, had demolished twelve competitors and was going hell for leather to take the top spot.  The minutes ticked away, a few more places changed; Potts had taken John Tappenden in his Blaze and there were just minutes on the clock.  Clarke and Cossens then slipped past Dunnett and Potts blasted his way through all his rivals, pulling out a small lead as the ninety minute time signal concluded a very exciting race. 
Results – Potts Pursuit Trophy:
1. RS 600 – Ken Potts
2. RS 400 – Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens
3. Laser – Andy Dunnett