Paul Pulls-Out The Stops

Gunfleet Sailing Club held an exciting race last Sunday afternoon 21 August, for the Fleet Championships, with Paul Stanton taking first place in his Laser.
The strong winds of the morning had abated slightly but were still gusting to force 6 at times, and being westerly in direction resulted in sudden changes, both in the angle and strength.  First to retire was Sonny Hart when the shackle holding the kicking strap on his Solution gave way.  At the start it was Robert Gutteridge who lead the fleet in his Laser followed by Paul Stanton, also in a Laser.  Within seconds Robert Lockett capsized his Laser and watched the rest of the competitors fly past him as he struggled to right the boat and get back in.  However, this didn’t deter him and he spent the next few legs busily playing catch-up.  The boats all beat down the coast, assisted by the last of the flood tide, making the St. Michael’s buoy in short time.  It was then a gybe, followed by a broad reach back to the Eastcliff mark, and then a run to AWS.  Gutteridge pulled away from his rivals and continued to hold a comfortable lead, with Stanton working hard to try and close the gap.   Dave Fowell and Jerry Goodchild were creaming along in their GP 14 when an earlier repair on the inner floor gave way, allowing the boat to retain water when the sea broke over the deck; this did not deter them from soldiering on.  At this point the leading craft were heading out to the Seaward buoy, where a further gybe ensued, and then another reach up the coast to the Kingscliff mark.  At the back of the fleet were the slow handicap dinghies, and in the Topaz fleet it was Steve and Harry Swinbourne that held off Tom Philpot and Daisy Swinbourne.
On the very last leg of the first lap, a beat back to the line, Stanton got in front of Gutteridge and, at the halfway stage, there was a 10 second gap.  The wind dropped a little, but continued to be variable in direction, causing Gutteridge to capsize at the windward mark, St. Michaels, but within a few seconds he had his Laser righted, but by then Stanton had a strong lead.
Results – Fleet Championships:
1. Laser – Paul Stanton
2. Laser – Robert Gutteridge
3. Laser – Yvonne Gough
The previous day’s Sailing On Saturday was unfortunately cancelled due to the very strong winds, which gusted up to 45 mph in the afternoon.  The event – The Chase, will be rescheduled for later in September.
Course Board
Date 21 August 2016
Race Fleet Championships
Start Time 14:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 4 gusting 6
Wind Direction Westerly
High Tide 14:38
Course St. M - E - AWS - S - K - Line