Potts Pips Cornforth In Exciting Races

Gunfleet Sailing Club held one of its 3 in 1 races last Sunday 11 October, three short races run back to back with all three results counting towards the overall placings.  The nine dinghies that took part made a fine sight on a flat sea with a fresh to strong offshore wind, complimented by blue sky and sunshine.

At the start of the first race it was that Gunfleet veteran Ken Potts that lead the fleet in his Laser, carrying a full rig but Andy Cornforth, in his Laser with the slightly smaller radial sail, was hot on his heels.  Just behind was Rob Lockett, also sailing a Laser Radial.  The fleet reached down the coast, fighting a rather lazy ebb tide, to the Eastcliff buoy where Potts was first to round it.  However, Cornforth gained a sudden puff of wind, cut the mark extremely tight, bore off the wind a little wider than Potts and slipped into the lead.  The craft then ran out to the Seaward buoy before gybing and revelling in a reach, far enough offshore to gain a clean wind, before hardening-up at the second seaward mark and beating back to the AWS buoy.  It was this last leg that caused the most interest as helms tried different tactics in order to forge ahead, but nobody could stop Cornforth taking a convincing win.  Within seconds of the last boat finishing the class flag was broken out on the yardarm, informing the competitors that there was exactly five minutes before the start of the second race.  Hovering on the line at the start was Potts and Andy Dunnett, also in a Laser full rig, but Cornforth accelerated from behind and was just challenging them when he hit a small hole in the wind; his fellow competitors then just pulled away.  Meanwhile Derroll Pedder, sailing a Solo, was snapping at Dunnett’s transom.  This time Potts was determined to try and maintain a good distance between him and Cornforth but this clearly wasn’t going to be easy.  Michael Gutteridge in his Solo was keen to show Pedder that he would have no time to relax whilst Yvonne Gough in her Laser 4.7 was out to better her fourth place in the previous race.  Carlo Bardetti capsized at the very end but, the true trooper he is, he had his Laser up and sailing within seconds.  In the end it was Potts that was triumphant in race two but with literally just one second splitting him and Cornforth.  All eyes were on the third and final race with a bunch of Lasers champing at the line whilst the two Solos lagged behind a little.  First casualty was Jake Gazzard who capsized his Laser 4.7 and decided to retire, whilst the rest of the fleet continued to battle it out.  After a lot of sweat and nail-biting it was Potts that narrowly took the top spot and victory overall.

Results – Autumn Trophy:
1.    Laser  Full – Ken Potts
2.    Laser Radial – Andy Cornforth
3.    Laser Full – Andy Dunnett