Steve's Topaz Wins Ken Potts Pursuit Challenge Trophy

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the second and final race in the Potts Pursuit Challenge last Sunday 14 August, in a light offshore breeze.  With staggered class starts, it was the Topaz class that was first away, giving an early lead to Steve Swinbourne and Rebecca Goodchild.  They headed down the coast to the St. Michael’s buoy but soon found Peter Downer in his Comet hot on their heels, after an excellent start.  Dave Fowell and Jerry Goodchild were unleashed next, in their GP 14, followed a few minutes later by the 405 class.  The largest fleet, the Lasers, were last away and were then hastily playing catch-up.  The second leg of the course was a close reach out to the Seaward buoy, a beat into AWS, a run back out to sea, before a beat up the coast to the Kingscliff mark and, finally, a reach back through the line.  On the second leg Downer took the lead, whilst further back Tom and Ed Philpot’s 405 made an impressive sight with its asymmetric spinnaker flying at every opportunity.  John Tappenden lead in the Lasers for quite a while but was overtaken by Ken Potts, whilst just behind them were Harry Swinbourne and Robert Gutteridge, swapping places a number of times.  About half an hour into this 90 minute race the winds got lighter and the boats slowed down.  Downer doggedly held onto his lead but the Lasers got ever closer until, some 20 minutes before the end, Potts slipped in front and pulled away.  Five minutes before the end Tappenden went into second position, but some fine tactics by Downer saw him get back into second place with just minutes to go.  In the end it was Potts’s race, with Downer second and Tappenden third.  However, once the series overall was calculated, it was Steve Swinbourne that won the trophy in his Topaz.
Results – Potts Pursuit Challenge overall:
1. Topaz – Steve Swinbourne
2= Laser – Ken Potts
2= Laser – Andy Dunnett
3= Laser – Yvonne Gough
3= Comet – Peter Downer
The day before, Saturday, had seen Cadet Class Racing as part of the SOS Series, and it was Lauren Hooper that gained first in the Topper class; an extremely impressive performance considering this was her first time “flying solo”.  She sailed the Topper like a seasoned professional and really had the boat dancing to her tune.  In the Topaz fleet it was Thomas Aiken that got an early lead, but constantly being chased by Owen Hooper and Robbie Jay.  Then Aiken began slowing down and realised he was without a bung.  This didn’t prevent him taking second place despite being pushed hard by Alex and Maddie Corbett; Hooper and Jay taking victory.  In the 405 class it was Tom and Ed Philpot that took the winning gun, whilst first boat home in the menagerie fleet was Harry Swinbourne in his Laser.
The previous Wednesday evening had seen the fifth and final race in the Summer Series, having been postponed in early June due to atrocious weather.  There was a good stiff breeze at the start of the race and this helped John Tappenden to pull out an early lead in his Laser, although Andy Dunnett, also in a Laser, kept close to him for much of the first lap.  Disaster struck the Corbett twins when the jaws on the boom of their Topaz snapped and they had to obtain help from the Club’s Rescue Boat in order to make it back to shore.  On the last leg of the first lap Dunnett suddenly somersaulted out of his boat when the toe strap broke, leaving Tappenden to sail a very comfortable second lap.  The Philpot brothers used their spinnaker as much as they could on their 405 but this failed to make an impression on the leading boats.  Dunnett was, however, soon back in the race, taking a very creditable second place, although still quite a distance from Tappenden who took top spot; third place going to Derroll Pedder and Michael Gutteridge in the GP 14.  
Results – Summer Series overall:
1. Laser – Ken Potts
2. Comet – Peter Downer
3. Solution – John Tappenden
Course Board
Date 14 August 2016
Race Ken Potts Pursuit Challenge
Start Time Staggered depending on class
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 2
Wind Direction North-Westerly
High Tide 09:07
Course St.M - S - AWS - S -K - Line