Ken takes the Pier 2 Pier Race

Gunfleet Sailing Club and Clacton Sailing Club combined forces to hold a race with a difference.  The Pier 2 Pier race took entries from both Clubs with the aim of sailing a single circuit down the coast to Clacton Pier, then up the coast to Walton Pier, and finally back home.  The twist to the event was that each Club started and finished their entries at their own line; the circuit passing both Clubs so every competitor covered the same ground.  On the actual day the wind was a very light east/north-east breeze and the two Club race officers agreed to reduce the course, requiring the sailors to go no further up the coast than the buoy at Frinton Walings.  

Using radio controlled clocks, both fleets got underway at exactly 11:00 a.m. and the craft immediately fought the ebbing tide on their slow journey down to Clacton Pier.  Clacton Sailing Club’s catamarans made an impressive sight as they downwind tacked, many flying asymmetric spinnakers to gain maximum performance; leading the fleet were Matt Burrell and Ian Wright in their Tornado.  At a tightly bunched Gunfleet start line it was the two Lasers of Ken Potts and Andy Dunnett that lead the way, with several of the dinghies also hoisting their colourful spinnakers, so adding to the spectacle.

Progress was decidedly slow with Dunnett first round the Clacton Pier buoy, followed by Potts.  Next were Shelby and Dave Fowell in their GP14, with Michael Gutteridge and Derroll Pedder, also in a GP14, snapping at their heels.  Burrell and Wright were the first catamaran sailors to round the mark, next being Brian Allen and Robert Mitchell in the F18.  

There then followed the long leg up the coast and whilst the ebb tide helped the craft on their way, the wind was not only on the nose, but it had also fallen away still further.  Progress was painful to watch and the race officers jointly decided to reduce the course size still further, making the Haven Outfall buoy the windward turning mark.  For some the lack of momentum proved too much and both the RS200 of Harry Swinbourne and Jessica McLean-Wright, and the Hurricane of Larry Foxon and Mike Rolfe retired.  And if the catamaran sailors found the race frustrating, then the monohull crews felt it even more; the leading dinghy rounding the Haven buoy after more than 2 hours on the water.  First catamaran home was the Tornado of Burrell and Wright, whilst Potts lead the dinghies across the finish line, and once all the handicaps had been applied the top three places went to Gunfleet boats.
Results:  Pier 2 Pier Race:
1.    Laser – Ken Potts
2.    GP14 – Shelby and Dave Fowell
3.    2000 – Paul and Huw Jarrett


On Bank-holiday Monday the Club members departed for a Picnic Cruise, landing by the Walings in time to enjoy refreshment, including a delicious barbecued selection from some very generous neighbours!  Having relaxed for a while the fleet departed, and ghosted back to the Club.  A wonderful end to a great three days down the Gunfleet. 

Course Board
Date 25 August 2019
Race Pier 2 Pier
Start Time 11:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Up to Force 2
Wind Direction East/North East
High Tide 06:59
Course Clacton Pier - Haven Outfall - Line