Another Exciting Race At Gunfleet

Gunfleet Sailing Club members came out in force for the Fleet Championship race last Sunday 18 October which, after several changes in the top spot, was won by Ken Potts in his Laser.

A pleasant force two to three offshore breeze greeted the competitors, and for the Laser sailors the choice of sail really was a “no-brainer”, everyone eagerly setting-up their full-rigs.  With a strong spring flood tide, and the first leg being a reach down the coast, the trick was to be right on the line at the start but avoiding being dragged over too early.  Having completed several “dry runs” minutes before, it was Derroll Pedder that nailed it and lead the fleet away in his Solo, being hotly pursued by Michael Gutteridge, also in a Solo, and then Andy Cornforth in his Laser.  Cornforth seemed to magically find a puff of wind which surged him ahead, but only momentarily as it disappeared almost as quickly as it came and, once again, Pedder took the lead.  Andy Dunnett pushed his Laser into third place whilst, surprisingly, Potts hovered further back, no doubt blaming the kebab and chips the night before as part of his troubles.  By the time the first buoy was reached, at Eastcliff, it was Cornforth who squeezed round the mark first, but still with Pedder very much on his tail.  There followed a run out to an offshore buoy with different levels of compensation being taken by the helms to mitigate the strong tide, and then it was a reach to the Seaward mark.  By now Cornforth had carved out a greater gap against his nearest rival, Dunnett, but all eyes were on the fourth leg which was a beat back to the AWS buoy before cutting through the line.  With the obvious tactic of hardening-up and tacking up the coast, with the tide drawing each competitor onto the AWS buoy, Potts realised that following the fleet was not an option if he wished to make an inroad into the top places so he headed in the opposite direction; a surprising move.  At the end of the first lap Dunnett had actually significantly closed the gap against Cornforth who maintained his lead, whilst Pedder maintained third place.  Unfortunately Yvonne Gough had problems with the kicker on her Laser and was forced to retire.  On the second lap Dunnett slipped ahead of Cornforth and, for a short while, was leading whilst Carlo Bardetti capsized his Laser on the second run and, whilst making a speedy recovery, lost valuable time.  Potts, meanwhile, had worked his way through the fleet and was now sitting in third place, moving up to second position on the beat back to the AWS buoy.  Now snapping at the heels of Cornforth, Potts managed to outmanoeuvre him on the third and final lap, so retaining his unbeaten record of wins this year at the Club.

Results – Fleet Championship:
1.    Laser – Ken Potts
2.    Laser – Andy Cornforth
3.    Laser – Andy Dunnett

Course Board
Date 18 October 2020
Race Fleet Championship
Start Time 11:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 2 to 3
Wind Direction North-West
High Tide 13:25
Course E - 1 - S - AWS - Line