Falling Winds Fail To Deter Competitors

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the second race in its Autumn Series on Sunday 22 September with Andy Dunnett taking his Laser to victory after a closely fought battle.

The weather forecast proved misleading; having predicted winds gusting to force five, it was clear to the members rigging their boats that the conditions were far less volatile.  In fact blue skies, unbroken sunshine, and a pleasant force three onshore breeze greeted the competitors as they launched onto a fairly flat sea.

With a freshly flooding tide under them, the boats had to be careful not to be the wrong side of the line at the very start; unfortunately two found themselves in just this position but corrected themselves as the individual recall flag was hoisted up the yardarm.  Off to a perfect start was Yvonne Gough in her Laser, hotly pursued by Dunnett, the fleet making good progress as they reached down the coast to the Eastcliff buoy.  First to round the mark was Rob Lockett in his Blaze with, by this time, Dunnett on his tail.  Sadly, at such an early stage in the race, the wind had started to fall away and hovered around the lower end of a force two.  The second leg was a beat out to an offshore buoy and it was surprising the number of sailors that just hardened-up as they rounded the first mark, so continuing to be swept towards Clacton Pier by the tide.  Harry Swinbourne and Tom Philpot wisely tacked their RS200 and headed into the tide which pulled them onto the next buoy, rather than away from it, but this didn’t prevent Lockett maintaining his lead as the boats reached, parallel to the shore, to the Seaward buoy.  It was at this mark that tactics became mixed on the run in to the AWS buoy, with some gybing round Seaward whilst others remained with the wind coming across their starboard quarter.  It was this leg that gave Dunnett the chance he was waiting for and, steering a very fine line, he slipped into the lead, with Dave Fowell helming his Solo into a possible second place.  Further back the GP14 of Michael Gutteridge and Derroll Pedder flew its spinnaker but as the wind fell away still further so the kite struggled to fill.  By now the breeze was barely force one and the race was shortened to just one lap.  

Results:  Autumn Series 2:
1.    Laser – Andy Dunnett
2.    Blaze – Rob Lockett
3.    Solo – Dave Fowell

Course Board
Date 22 September 2019
Race Autumn Series - 2
Start Time 11:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 3 falling to 1
Wind Direction South-east
High Tide 17:42
Course E - X - S - AWS - Line