Andy Wins The Race And Takes The Autumn Series

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the final race in its Autumn Series, last Sunday 8 October, gaining Andy Dunnett a first place in the race and victory overall.

The blue skies, sunshine, and flat sea came at a price – a light offshore wind that changed in both strength and direction throughout the race.  Within seconds of the start of the race Dunnett found himself very slightly over the line, and knowing there was only one way of negating that he went about and round the Outer Distance Mark as the rest of the fleet set off.  The competitors headed down the coast with the tide on what began as a close reach.  However, the wind backed westerly, resulting in everyone suddenly having to sail close hauled, and tack to make the Eastcliff buoy.  

Not surprisingly the Fireball of Jack and Elliot Berry was first to  round the mark and the boys made quick work of hoisting the spinnaker; the GP14 of Michael Gutteridge and Derroll Pedder using similar tactics.  As the boats broad reached back towards the Club and round the AWS buoy it was surprising to see that the second competitor was Peter Downer in his Comet.  On handicap Downer should have been much further back but, all credit to his skills, he was in front of all the Lasers and really holding his own.  The run out to Seaward saw a number of competitors being dragged towards Clacton Pier as the helms failed to compensate for the tide.  The fleet tack then tacked back to AWS, although this time the tide worked in everyone’s favour, drawing boats onto the mark.  Downer, whether in sheer jubilation or having a senior moment, proceeded to take the buoy on the wrong side and, to make it worse, headed off in the wrong direction.  Tom Philpot, who was just behind, followed Downer but quickly realised his mistake.  Downer then spotted his error and, with Philpot, headed back round the buoy the correct way, but both failed to go right round and so were disqualified,; this faux pas allowing Dunnett to sail into second place.  Whilst all this was going on the Fireball had reached the Kingscliff buoy, rounded it and was heading back to the line.    At the end of the first lap it was Dunnett in the lead and he went on, during the second lap, to improve his time still further.  Downer and Philpot completed the race, unaware of their disqualification and, on corrected times, would have had a very strong first and third position respectively; but the race was claimed by Dunnett with the Berry brothers second, and Gutteridge and Pedder third.  The placing in this final race gave Dunnett a convincing overall win.

Results: Autumn Series - Overall:

1. Laser – Andy Dunnett

2. Fireball – Jack and Elliot Berry

3. GP14 – Dave Fowell and Jeremy Goodchild