Davis's Defy Lack Of Wind

Father and daughter Paul and Katie Davis sailed to a convincing win in the first race of Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Winter Series last Sunday 25 October. 
The competitors taking part in the race could be forgiven for thinking it was the Summer Series they were preparing themselves for, as bright blue skies, unbroken sunshine, and a flat sea provided a very attractive backdrop.  However, there was one thing clearly absent and that was a sailor’s wind.  As the boats slipped gracefully out to sea a very light offshore breeze assisted them on their way and the helms nudged their craft slowly up to the start line, against the strengthening ebb tide.  As the start gun echoed across the water Paul and Katie Davis stemmed the tide in their RS 400 and slipped silently down the coast towards the first mark whilst everyone else seemed motionless.  Then slowly the other boats began to move but at a very sedate speed; that was until the wind fell away still further and the dinghies all stopped dead.  Five minutes after the race had started the Topazes hadn’t even crossed the start line and, worse still, they found themselves drifting backwards.  They weren’t alone though as some of the Lasers and Solutions, that had successfully crossed the line a bit earlier, re-crossed the line as the tide also dragged them back over it again.
Those that successfully rounded the first buoy then crept out to sea, skilfully playing the tide, and as they made the seaward mark the wind completely died and then reappeared at a 180 degree variance.  This meant that Ken Potts, who had lay in the shadow of the Davis’s, in his RS 600, found he now had a slight advantage but he was to lose this with the asymmetric spinnaker of the RS 400 giving that extra bit of canvas.  Meanwhile many of the other competitors had chosen to paddle ashore and retire.  John Tappenden persevered in his Laser, as did Tom and Ed Philpot in their Topaz, but the experience could only be described as painful.  All were very pleased to see the shorten course flag hanging from the yardarm, albeit limply.
Results – Winter Series 1:
1. RS 400 – Paul and Katie Davis
2. RS 600 – Ken Potts
3. Laser – John Tappenden