Winter Series Hots Up

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the third race of its Winter Series last Sunday 8 November with victory going to Ken Potts in his RS 600.  
A fresh south/south-easterly wind greeted the competitors as they rigged-up on the beach and Club members welcomed visiting sailors from both Brightlingsea Sailing Club and Clacton Sailing Club to the race.  The traditional 11:00 a.m. start was moved to 11:20 in order to allow the Club to observe the two minute silence; the crews then skilfully launching through quite large waves.  First away at the start was Potts, with Andy Dunnett close behind in his Laser, whilst Robert Mitchell and James Parsons immediately cut past many of the slower handicapped craft on their Dart 16 catamaran.  The first leg was a close reach down the coast and Potts caught the wing of his boat on the buoy and was forced to undertake a 360 degree penalty, allowing Robert Gutteridge, in his Solution, to greatly close the gap.  The fleet then headed out to the offshore mark but it became apparent that nobody would make this in one as the strong ebb tide was sweeping everyone up the coast.  Mitchell and Parsons were first to realise this and tacked early, in order to compensate, whilst others left it until they were much closer to the buoy.  Gybing onto the next leg, down to AWS, saw Tom Philpot capsize his Topaz, costing him valuable time whilst righting the craft.  It was then a very broad reach, followed by a second beat back out to sea, before heading up the coast and back through the line.  Throughout the first lap there was a very good battle going on between Rob Lockett in his Laser Radial and Ryan Thomas in his Pico, with Thomas sitting in a very comfortable third place overall on handicap; Dunnett leading at this stage.  The wind then veered southerly, for a little while, and freshened which meant it was a fetch on the first leg of the second lap; Potts taking full advantage of this to get the perfect angle when he then headed out to sea, making the offshore buoy in one.  This skilful piece of sailing was sufficient to nudge him into first place and he hung-on-in to receive the winning gun.
Results – Winter Series 3:
1. RS 600 – Ken Potts
2. Laser – Andy Dunnett
3. Dart 16 – Robert Mitchell and James Parsons