A Very Close Battle For Top Spot

Ken Potts claimed his second victory in the Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Winter Series last Sunday 22 November, held very much in true wintery conditions.
It was a bit of a wake-up call to the members, having had weeks of mild weather, when they arrived to find thick ice on their boat covers and a wind-chill factor below zero degrees.  Dinghies were hastily rigged on the beach whilst those not sailing watched from a warm and cosy Clubhouse, and it wasn’t long before the competitors were dipping more than just their toe into an icy north sea as they launched in a west/north-westerly breeze that was bringing in the cold airs.  As the seconds ticked away to the start Andy Dunnett accelerated his Laser to the line, but at the very last moment eased the mainsail for fear of being just that fraction too early.  He still lead the fleet until Ken Potts powered his RS 600 into top-spot with Robert Gutteridge challenging Dunnett in his Solution.  After fetching to the first mark it was a reach out to the seaward buoy before beating in to AWS, at which point it was surprising to see none of the dinghies tacking into the tide, which would have drawn them down onto the buoy; instead choosing to go with the tide and so face a slog back to the buoy closer in.  Unfortunately Rob Lockett capsized his Laser at this point but, probably due to the effect of the very cold water, had it righted in record time; going on to play catch-up.  There were no incidents on the run back out to sea and it wasn’t long before the fleet was heading up the coast to the last mark of the course.  As the helms completed their first lap it was Potts in first place and Dunnett lying second, with Beth Elliott, having sailed her Topaz perfectly, lying third.  During the final lap Dunnett really pushed his boat and closed the gap to within a second of the leader; only losing the race because of overstepping the AWS buoy.  Again there were some challenges for third place from a number of the other competitors but Elliott defied them all to hold her very creditable position right until the end.  However, everyone was rewarded by a hot breakfast afterward, in the Clubhouse.
Results – Winter Series 5:
1. RS 600 – Ken Potts
2. Laser – Andy Dunnett
3. Topaz – Beth Elliott