An Exciting Race - From Beginning To End

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the race for the Tee Dee Challenge Cup last Sunday 14 July with Ken Potts winning the trophy in his Laser.

The north/north-easterly wind decided to play tricks on the competitors as they jockeyed for position at the start.  Andy Dunnett, sailing his Laser down the line and risking being just the wrong side, got away first, closely followed by Cadets Owen Hooper and Harrison Smith in their Topaz, and then Andy Cornforth in his Laser.  But in truth there was quite a bunching of boats, all of which came to a halt as the wind suddenly fell away.  Several craft headed out to sea on the freshly ebbing tide, in the hope this would push them towards the windward buoy, at Kingscliff.  In the end it was Ken Potts that rounded the mark first and ran back down the coast to the AWS buoy, having a reasonable lead on the next three boats, all Lasers, sailed by Conforth, Dunnett, and Paul Stanton, with Eddie White just a little further back.  The wind had now freshened but seemed reluctant to settle in terms of direction.  As the craft rounded AWS, Dunnett capsized, hit the buoy, and lost time righting his boat and completing a 360 degree penalty.  By now Potts looked unstoppable but, after rounding Kingscliff and heading on a broad reach out to the Seaward buoy, Cornforth upped his game and bearing away slightly, not only caught the leader, but overtook him as they rounded the offshore mark.  Further back the Topaz had refused to let go of the GP14, sailed by brothers Michael and Robert Gutteridge, whilst Peter Downer, in his Comet, worked hard to hang-on to the tail end of the Lasers.  At the front of the fleet it was the turn of Potts to out-sail Cornforth on the reach to the Eastcliff buoy; the beat back to the line once again seeing a variety of tactics.   

On the second lap Dave Fowell retired in his Solo, whilst Dunnett clawed his way from sixth place to fourth, but was unable to infiltrate the top three.
Results:  Tee Dee Challenge Trophy
1.    Laser – Ken Potts
2.    Laser – Andy Cornforth
3.    Laser – Paul Stanton

The previous day the Club had six boats out for the second race of the Cadet series.  With some very impressive sailing from newcomers Jake and Emily Palmer in the Topaz, and George Smith in the Topper, it was down to the more experienced sailors to take the top three positions; Owen Hooper and Brooke Sayer gaining fourth place in their Topaz.

Results:  Cadet Series - 2
1.    Topper – Harrison Smith
2.    Topaz – Jude Aylen
3.    405 – Ed Philpot and Henry Spooner