Ken Continues His Winning Streak

Gunfleet Sailing Club’s race for the Toppo Single Helm Trophy was held last Sunday 20 September in very challenging conditions but was eventually won by Ken Potts in his Laser; Potts proving to be practicably unbeatable this year.

A force five gusting six north/north-easterly wind, coupled with a rough sea, was certainly not an inviting picture to the members, and several chose to “sit it out” back on shore, but the more experienced sailors grasped the challenge and revelled in the conditions.  The Laser sailors had a choice of three rigs – the full sail, the slightly smaller radial cut, or the even smaller 4.7, and interestingly there ended-up a mix of all three.  The strong flood tide held the boats back at the start but, despite the variation in sail size, there was no clear lead as the competitors set off; it wasn’t long though until Andy Dunnett capsized his Laser.  The first leg was a beat up the coast to the windward mark and it certainly paid off to stay close to the shore, both mitigating the negative effect of the tide, and finding slightly calmer water.  Potts’ Laser was first to the buoy with Rob Lockett impressively close behind, despite a much smaller sail.  There then followed a run back to the AWS buoy before a lively reach out to the Seaward mark.  It was at this latter point that the boats would normally gybe, a form of going about that is particularly prone to capsizing.  Potts managed it with ease but several of the other competitors chose the safer option of turning the boat into, as opposed to away from, the wind; a far safer manoeuvre but also more time consuming.  The next leg proved the most exhilarating as the craft got onto a broad reach to the Eastcliff buoy, the tide under them, with the result that the hulls planed across the water at an impressive speed.  From here it was a hard beat back to the line and by the end of the first lap Potts had carved himself out a good lead, with Lockett second and Dunnett third, but on completing the second lap, Lockett had a momentary lapse of concentration when he initially slipped inside the Inner Distance Mark.  Dunnett seized the opportunity to move up to second place which he hung onto throughout the third lap, despite a second capsize.

Results – Toppo Single Helm:
1.    Laser  Full – Ken Potts
2.    Laser Radial – Andy Dunnett
3.    Laser 4.7 – Rob Lockett

Course Board
Date 20 September 2020
Race Toppo Single Helm
Start Time 11:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 4 to 6
Wind Direction North/North-East
High Tide 14:39
Course K - AWS - S - E - LINE