Ken Makes A Clean Sweep In Lively Conditions

Gunfleet Sailing Club’s second race in its Winter Series, last Sunday 13 October, saw an exciting battle, with force 7 winds and mountainous seas providing a lively backdrop to the winner, Ken Potts in his Laser.

The weather forecast was predicting that the wind would build during the race and, with an hour and a half to high water, the seas could only get rougher, but this didn’t deter a number of Gunfleet’s sailors carefully rigging their boats to take part in the race.  The wind was, in fact, from a southerly direction, which made launching difficult but it wasn’t long before the competitors were hovering around the start line waiting for the off.  When this did occur it was Potts who lead the fleet, but he was leeward of both Andy Cornforth and Andy Dunnett, all three sailing Lasers; the latter two being much closer to the Outer Distance Mark.  With mainsails cranked hard in it was a close haul down the coast, with the tide under them, to the Eastcliff buoy.  Potts had by this point established his lead, with Cornforth a very close second and Dunnett just behind.  There then followed a beat out to the Seaward mark and Cornforth’s tactic of sailing a little freer certainly got him the extra boat speed but  increased the distance travelled.  The boats then had to gybe round the offshore buoy before running down to the AWS mark, and it was at this point that Rob Lockett capsized in his Laser and lost several minutes writing his craft; the Club’s Rescue Boat standing alongside all the time.

Once round AWS there followed a beat back out to sea and with the mainsheets block to block, maximum kicker, and Cunningham hard-on, the helms gave it all they could as they flew over the crests and crashed into troughs.  Around the Seaward buoy for the second time and then a broad reach/run to the Kingscliff mark, everyone hanging on by the seat of their hiking pants.  A further gybe and a very quick fetch to the line and Potts had a small lead at the end of the first lap.  On the second, and final, lap it was Lockett who suffered most, with a number of capsizes, including one when carrying out a 360 penalty for touching a buoy.  By this time the wind had built from a force five gusting six, and slipped into a force seven; much to Potts’s delight as he drove his boat home to victory.

Results:  Winter Series 2:
1.    Laser – Ken Potts
2.    Laser – Andy Cornforth
3.    Laser – Andy Dunnett


Course Board
Date 13 October 2019
Race Winter Series 2
Start Time 11:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 5 gusting to 7
Wind Direction Southerly
High Tide 12:30
Course E - S - AWS - S - K - Line